winona bound, post graduation round 2!

It’s that time of the year! I’m heading back to my Alma Mater and I could not be more excited. Last year, I was asked to reflect on my post-graduation woes and write an article for the University paper, and that is exactly what I did. Take a peek below. Next stop, Winona! See you soon, Minnesota.

visiting the alma mater

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

For the past 18 years August meant, school supplies, a class list, new books and new clothes and being reunited with friends, but not this time. The excitement of August wasn’t the same this time around. For the first time, August, to me, didn’t mean back to school. With the uncertainty and the sudden change of August I felt a void. Now being in the “real world” and having grown into a “real person”.

For the first time, I am truly out on my own, a time zone and a 14-hour car drive from my family who cannot drop everything and come save me when I’m having a subpar day.

December changed everything – that’s when I walked across that stage and became a graduate.As you are aware already everyone has the expectations that once you graduate, you’ll immediately have it all figured out and you have to stick to your plan.

Wrong.

Since graduation, things have stayed the same for me; my love for politics and the fact that I’m pursuing my dreams in Washington, DC. I don’t have a clear path of how I will tackle my dreams, but each night I can rest, knowing I’m on the right path.

Since January there have been many kinks in my plan.

Things haven’t gone exactly as expected. Through these times I have learned with each unexpected change, it will be what you make of it, but most of all it is an opportunity and you must seize it.

It is simple: life is unpredictable.

Just because you are set in your ways and think you have figured out a so-called life plan does not mean someone isn’t going to come throw a wrench into your plans, chances are they will.  For better or worse the only constant is change. Get used to it. Become accustom to it and things will only get easier. You never know where life will take you or where your true passions lie.

Take chances, make the time to connect with new people and your life will unfold beautifully right in front of you, and better yet in your hands.

Know this, before I knew it, August turned into September and September will soon be October.October means my first visit as an Alumnus to Winona. One thing that will never change is that  I cannot wait to see the great things Winona has in store for me. Don’t forgot you do not need to wait to be an Alumni for this incredible journey to start. The sooner your journey starts, the better it will be and the better you will feel.

Whether your journey is in political science like mine, journalism or biology, make sure that you enjoy what you do because you’ll be doing it for many years to come.

The more I reflect back on my time at Winona State, the more I miss it. I love being in Washington, DC, but at the same time I miss the bluffs and I miss the friends I made who are still in school. Washington, DC has taught me to remember not to take the little things for granted; a phone call from a loved one or  a smile from someone as I pass them by on the street. As the time approaches when I make my way back to Winona, I look forward to coming back as an Alumni.

I can’t wait to rehash some of my past memories with students and staff alike. Being in Washington, DC is sometimes hard, but when all is said and done, I’m really happy that I decided to start my career here.

I’m ready for Winona, but the question that remains is this: Is Winona ready for me?

do re me fa so la ti do

you guessed, it The Sound of Music

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

An adventure in Salzburg, Austria was the breathtaking and fun things. Salzburg has repeatedly been chosen as Austria’s most bicycle-friendly city. Joining up on the Fräulein Maria’s Bicycle Tour was the perfect way to visit the sites and film locations from The Sound of Music movie. The opportunity to explore Mozart’s city and all its 49 churches, squares, palaces, fountains and attractions by bike was incredible!

Our bike tour was bright and early, right outside of Mirabell Square.  Our route lead from Mirabell Square through the Mirabell Gardens, the Horse Pond, crosses St. Peter’s Cemetery to Nonnberg Convent, on to Leopoldskron Palace, to the Frohnburg and through the beautiful Hellbrunn Avenue to Hellbrunn Palace and back to the city in 4 hours. We avoided large, busy roads and we got to know the city of Salzburg.

Salzburg is a must-see! The city is beautiful and a bike tour was the most exceptional was to experience Salzburg in a new view. My experience of Salzburg was far different than most people’s. We saw the quiet and gentle side, mixed with the hustle and bustle of the city. Biking down the ancient streets of Salzburg, made me realize how beautiful this city truly is. We had the opportunity to grab a beer at one of the oldest breweries, ate at the oldest bakery in Europe, and really enjoyed the scenery.  If you are heading to Salzburg, I would absolutely recommend the bike tour, with such a great way to explore the city–you can’t go wrong.

Now as I have been talking about The Sound of Music, I am sure you’ve been singing this to yourself the whole time, so enjoy:

acing an interview

phone or in-person

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Interviews are one of the most important things for your career and for yourself. An interview can make or break an opportunity. From my experience there are a few must-dos and don’t-dos during the interview process.

Must-dos

Research the Company

Know the basics of the company you have an interview with. This could be your job. Don’t you want to know what you are getting into? Don’t waste your time or your potential employers time. It’s simple. Know basics, locations, about us and a mission.

Participate, Practice, Practice

let’s be honest, practice makes perfect. I don’t think you should ever turn an interview down. You always need practice. Ask a friend to grill you with a few questions before your interview.

Prepare

Same deal for preparing. There are many ways to prepare. I like to research the company, have some friends throw questions as me, and look up questions to see if I could answer those as well. There are a million ways to prepare, you just need to find what works for you.

Be Calm

Don’t stress out. I know this is easier said than done. Stay cool. Don’t be nervous. If it’s a phone interview, maybe you need to have some notes with you or walk around– fine do that. Maybe during an in-person interview you are moving around to much, focus on something in the room– and NEVER look at the time.

Ask Questions

Ask questions. Simple, right? Ask meaningful questions. I’ve been told that some questions make or break and interview. As a rule of thumb, don’t ask anything that you can do an online search for. Ask thought provoking questions. Ask questions that you can relate back to what you were speaking about or what you were asked earlier.

Dress to Impress

I really don’t want to explain this one any further. Go into that interview wearing your Sunday Best! Knock this out of town with your looks and attitude. Dress like this even if you have a phone interview. Your outfit will translate through with how it makes you feel. And don’t forget to smile…

Smile

Smiling, it shows your happy and excited to be here! An outfit is never complete without a smile.

Send a Thank You

Always follow-up with employers. It’s important to do this. Leave a lasting impression in their mind. This shows a different part of your character and I am sure you can never go wrong with a thank you note.

What Not to Do

Show Up Late

This is just bad form. Didn’t your mother to tell you to be on time? What makes this different? Heck show up early! Show up, show them you are excited about this position.

Not Preparing

Not being able to answer the question “What do you know about this company?” might just end your quest for employment, at least with this employer. Background information including company history, locations, divisions, and a mission statement are available in an “About Us” section on most company websites.

Dress Inappropriately

Dressing inappropriately can work both ways. You will certainly want to wear a suit if you are interviewing for professional position. When interviewing for a summer job at your local theme park or as a lifeguard, for example, dress accordingly in neat and casual attire. If you aren’t sure what to wear, visit the organization and watch employees coming in and out of the office to see what they are wearing.

Poorly Communicate

Shake hands, make eye contact– both of these will exude confidence. You should be engaging with the person you are speaking with. By doing these things you will let the interviewer know that you are an excellent candidate for this position – before you even answer an interview question.

Bad Mouth Past Employers

It’s sometimes a smaller world than you think and you don’t know who your interviewer might know, including that boss who is an idiot… You also don’t want the interviewer to think that you might speak that way about his or her company if you leave on terms that aren’t the best.

Forget to Follow Up

Afraid you didn’t make the best impression? Are you sure that you aced the interviewed? Either way, be sure to follow up with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the position and the company. Not following up can make a bad impression.

 

Go get ’em tiger! I hope these tips helped you out. You will ace your next interview!

ready or not

here we come, germany!

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

*squeals* Holy Mother of God! TODAY IS THE DAY! Today is the day that I am getting on a plane and heading to Munich, Germany. Honestly, this day has been lingering in my future for far too long. I cannot believe it is here and I am beyond ecstatic about it. Once this blog is posted, I am strolling on to a plane that will take me to Reykjavik, Iceland, this is where I will be reunited with two incredible human beings. After a much needed reunion, we will board a plane that takes us to Munich, Germany! *SQUEALS*.

In the past I have planned 3 trips to Germany in the past. ALL of them fell through for one reason or another. The past is the past and it doesn’t even matter now. In a few short hours, I am getting on that plane and honestly, nothing is stopping me. This is one of my biggest dreams come true. I have the most awesome opportunity a head of me. I am getting to do the most incredible things.

Here is a little glimpse into our trip. Thanks to Lindsay who actually wrote all of this out. Mind you the following are the main events and attractions. I know in Munich we will be doing a walking tour, heading to the square, going to biergartens, shopping, eating a Döner kebab and hitting up a discoteca. All things do not need to be put on the schedule. This trip is all about new experiences, life experiences, and really hitting it out of the park. This trip is about adventure, a road trip, finding inner peace, and drinking damn good beer. This trip is about so much more than I will ever have the words, or be able to find the words to convey. This trip is about wanderlust and happiness.

Saturday, September 28: REYKJAVIK

Sunday, September 29  : MUNICH

Munich: Meet up with Adrienne

Drink mad amounts of GOOD German beer

Monday, September 30

Munich: Oktoberfest Tent Day

Tuesday, October 1

Munich: Have a drink of course and walk around Munich’s downtown square

Wednesday, October 2

Pick up rental car (DRIVE ON THE AUTOBAHN!— life goal, check!)

Drive to Neuschwanstein Castle

Salzburg, Austria- walking tour

Thursday October 3

Salzburg, Austria

  • SOUND OF MUSIC BIKE TOUR!
  • FREE walking tour continued (See attached pages)

Friday October 4

On the way to Frankfurt… stop off at Dachau—concentration camp just north of Munich

Frankfurt, Germany

  • A Bird’s Eye View of Frankfurt—See the city from The Main Tower
  • Cider Taverns in Sachsenhausen for some Apfelwein
  • Das MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main

Saturday October 5

Frankfurt, Germany

  • Paulskirche – St. Paul’s Church built between 1789 and 1833
  • The Römerberg (“Roman Mountain”) is the historic heart of Frankfurt and home to its City Hall, which dates back to 1405. Flanked by half-timbered houses, this historic square used to be the place for Frankfurt’s first trade fairs in the 13th century.

Sunday October 6

Drive back to Munich from Frankfurt for our flight out

still supporting these thoughts and words

exactly where i want to be

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Two years ago, a friend was blogging and he asked me if I would like to be featured on his blog. I was honored, but had no idea what he wanted to me write about. I asked for direction, and he told me the perfect thing would come to me–and I think he was right. Take a read of this. Two years later, I still support all of these thoughts and words.

Meandering down the historic streets with wide eyes and not a care in the world my “Ah Ha” moment occurred. I realized this is exactly where I was meant to be. In that first stroll down Constitution Avenue and my staggering up to Abe Lincoln’s Memorial I felt absolutely unstoppable and infinite. Two years and 5 months ago was the first time I stepped foot in our nation’s capital and that was also the first time my dreams had occurred to me. Though my dreams are broad, they are anything but far fetched because of the passion that drives me to fulfill my goals.

With graduation around the corner, it’s interesting to look back on my childhood. Every child is asked that all telling question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and even now that question is asked, and it holds the same truth. However, when you are a child, the sky is the limit and generally no remorse is held with the answer given compared to now, there is much reservation. Reflecting back I wanted to be the following: a veterinarian, a pediatrician, a mom and obviously a rock star; the sky was the limit. If you ask me now that same question, my responses some would say are very different and vague; a speechwriter, a dreamer, an environmentalist and a game-changer. But with each answer there are many correlations with what I wanted to be when I was a child and now. There is still a strong connection to humanitarianism and helping people from all walks of life for me.

My first summer in DC I realized my passion for politics. As I stepped onto the plane, to leave DC and go back to Wisconsin, anxiety was the only emotion that I could recognize.  With two very uncomfortable plane rides a head of me, I decided to sort out my feelings and write. Since that moment I knew DC is where I belonged and I wasn’t going to sleep until I knew I would be there again. That’s when I decided, I needed to be in DC and the only place for me was The Hill.

When November rolled around I began to peruse my dream. I started researching. I finally narrowed it down to the top 5 offices I wanted to be placed in and the 13 offices I was going to apply to. I spoke with a few people who have experience on the Hill and they kept telling me I needed a back up plan if DC is really where I wanted to be for the summer. I brushed that off and took their advice with a grain of salt and left it aside. When I came home for spring break, my parents were eager to hear about interviews and what has happened. I could tell they were leaning toward me staying home at working, which was the realistic approach. I had three interviews in the same week, I could feel something really promising happening. I never heard back from any of them. This is when crunch mode set in. Then there it was, the last week in April, I was home for a weekend and had an interview with Congressman Sean Duffy’s office.  Once I got off the phone my mom asked, “so… how did it go?” I brushed it off and didn’t really think I interviewed the greatest.

That following week, I was walking to my Tuesday night class and got a call from the office asking me if I was still interested in being their intern. I left class to call my parents and accept the offer. Two weeks later, I was in DC. Having the opportunity to peruse my summer dreams in politics in Congressman Sean Duffy’s office was an experience I will never forget.

Understanding what your dreams and goals are helps you to define yourself as a person. My friends would tell me I was being cocky, but I just saw it as confidence. I believe that if you want something badly enough, with the work you put it, it will happen. You can’t tap out until the fight is over and that is exactly what I did.

As Andrew posed the questions, are you happy with the direction your life is heading? If not, are you willing to go to hell and back to fight for what you believe in and what you want? Those are things that you legitimately need to think about. And I can honestly say, I am happy with the direction my life is heading and I willing to go through hell and back to fight for what I believe in.

A first realization must be that your career will not be about how much money it’s offering because if that’s a fact that, you’re in it for the money not the passion. Your passion lies with the things that make you get up in the morning. It’s about the things that make your skin crawl. It’s that thing that irks you. It’s what pulls on your heartstrings and makes your blood pump faster; for me, in short, it happens to be politics.

After talking with a few of my friends who are sitting along side me at our graduation ceremony in a few short days, I noticed a lot of them are neither happy nor convinced. This is something that is absolutely beyond me, if you realize that the road you are heading down doesn’t take you to the future you see, then stop! And reevaluate. And if this means going against the expectations you have had for yourself for as long as you can remember, or even the expectations of people who are close to you, then I hope you have the courage to stop and reevaluate. You have the courage, just find it. You deserve to do what make you happy.

I would be a hypocrite if I told you I had everything figured out because truth be told, I don’t. I’ve had my “Ah Ha” moment, but honestly, I don’t have the faintest idea what’s going to happen, and I think that’s okay. I’ve spent three and a half years trying to figure out what I should be doing the moment my commencement ceremony is over and I still don’t have an answer, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s wonderful. If we knew the outcome of life, what would be the point of going through it? It’s a story, and it’s yours, and whatever happens just make sure you’re enjoying your life.

And now, I will leave you with this, “it will cost you nothing to dream, and everything not to.” Remember with drive and determination nothing will get in the way of fulfilling your dreams.

double meanings

say what?

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

double entendre n., pl. dou•ble en•ten•dres (ˈdʌb əl ɑnˈtɑn drəz, -ˈtɑndz; Fr. du blɑ̃ˈtɑ̃ drə)

1. a word or expression used so that it can be understood in two ways, esp. when one meaning is risqué.
2. a double meaning; ambiguity.
As of late I have been encountering some sticky situations and it’s really all because of the double meaning. As we just learned a double meaning- is a phrase or word that can mean the same thing, but it’s really up to the context of the situation to figure out.
Let me hit you with a few examples, and some of these were newspaper headlines…:
  1. “it is down to you” and “it is up to you”
  2. throwing shade
  3. At each others throat
  4. Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
  5. rusty bitch face
  6. Add fuel to the fire
  7. Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
  8. Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge
  9. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
  10. Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Space
  11. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
  12. Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter
  13. War Dims Hope for Peace
  14. If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
So anyway, like I was saying, context is everything. It’s really hard to put yourself into a situation or a conversation even when you haven’t been listening the whole time. This is even harder to do when it’s not with your close knit group of friends. That’s when you get in trouble the most. Maybe someone has a dry, sarcastic sense of humor but you think there being serious…well then it just gets awkward I suppose. What I’ve learned: context cues are everything. Hope this helps so you don’t make the same mistakes I have!
Here’s a Buzzfeed article that’s a long the same lines.

now is the time

“Stop waiting for the right moment, because sometimes it’s now or never.”-unknown

all joking aside

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Somethings never have the right moment. Sometimes it’s just a feeling and when you know…you know. It’s hard to follow your heart especially when your gut isn’t on the same page or vice versa.

Over the past year, I’ve learned that it’s better to take the risk. I’ve also learned it’s about how early you’re taking the risk. This past year I’ve had the pleasure to date some pretty, how do you say it, interesting characters. Let me give you a quick recap of four people.

  1. The Engineer, I introduced him to my friends on the first date– best decision of my life. 1. I knew he was just going to be fun for dating now, and not forever and 2. I really wanted to have brunch with my friends.
  2. The Litigator, I never wanted to introduce him to my friends, so I never did. I knew the risk would be “too much”. I knew my friends wouldn’t approve, so I saved myself and I never took the risk.
  3. The Foreigner, I waited too long to introduce him to my friends, and over all it put me in a bad position.
  4. The Boyfriend, (hi, Matt!) I met him through friends (five years ago) and we became instant friends. Over the summer, he met more of my friends and then we started dating.

I wanted to related to this dating and friend meeting because I argue that it’s an even bigger deal than meeting the parents. Think about it, once you’ve moved away from home, your friends become your family. Friends are your home away from home and their opinion means a lot to you. These people are the family you get to choose. Let’s face it, it would be crazy awkward to bring your sig other home if you’re not totally serious with them to say, hey Ann Marie and Joel (yes those are my parents) ummm this is the current situation. They wouldn’t care, as I’m sure your parents wouldn’t either. So do the next best thing: take this person around to meet your friend. Let them get to know each other (if there are libations and grub involved that never hurts).

Okay, but all joking aside there isn’t always going to be that perfect timing. So, you’re nervous for your friends to meet your boyfriend, get over it! If he makes you happy, they see that and they will be overjoyed that you are allowing them to meet. Remember, they’ll be happy regardless if you’ve been together for a day or four months.  This doesn’t just have to be about dating: maybe you’re not ready to make that plunge and tell your parents you bought a new car, or you booked a trip to Italy for three weeks or that you pierced your nose. Maybe you aren’t ready, but know that when you get all of this off your chest, you will feel so much better. Just take the plunge!

With all of that said if you have something lingering, the best advice I can give you is just go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? You either go for it and it works out or it doesn’t. And listen, if it doesn’t you’re better off because you won’t be wondering “what if” for the rest of your life. No, seriously, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for. Go for it.