Post Grad blues on the Yellow Brick Road

Try taking a laptop, a decent internet connection, and several hours of the day hunting with a fatigued pointer finger until the glass routinely dries out and every nook has been rubbed out from cleaning solutions. It’s been a month since I graduated with a master’s, but it’s been 8 months of misfires and empty bottles. Where does anyone go from here? Those with years on me say to keep trying. Others who are very much well off tell me to aim lower. Everyone else either listens or nods cause we’re all just stuck at a crossroad.

There is no advice to offer and no book or speech can help me get out of this slump. Instead, we all can only hunker through it and attack from all angles while we lie on the floor hoping the fort we build will hold for the night. Eventually, we’ll come out the other side with something resembling a job whether we like it or not, but at least we’re on a path, some path. At the moment, we continue to stare at a screen, blinking aimlessly for keywords unknowing of the path because we’re to blind to see the faded yellow brick road. To blind because after years of following a strict regiment offered by those who we hope to unseat one day, we’ve forgotten our own purpose, our own reasons.

It may all just be a bout of negativity, but this is what holds us together. Knowing that the bricks are there, somewhere and knowing that someday we’ll get there. Wherever that there is supposed to be, we’re all on a path where we’ll meet up with a lion, a tinman, and a little dog who’ll help us fight the big bad witch at the end of the road.

COVID Commencement, COVID Graduation, COVID Chapter

There’s a saying when something big happens in your life, you’ll remember what you were doing at that exact moment. Well, for me, I get to say that on Sunday May 17th at 2PM, I was to attend my Master’s Graduation, and instead I was beating eggs into my banana bread batter and day dreaming of a hat toss. When the hour ended, I was left with a sweet dessert, and a tinge of bitterness towards circumstance.

To tune out the mindless chatter in my head, I turned on the radio and funny enough, I listened to various commencement speeches given by infamous artists, spokespersons, and high profile individuals. Each one encouraged us to keep our heads up and push forward for a brighter tomorrow. They all claimed to either understand our position or at least recognize it. They also talked about how strong we are to surpass this obstacle.

I couldn’t help but nod my head in agreement.

Yes, we are strong, and we will have to be even stronger for what’s to come. When it’s time to re-enter the world, the hardest part for us will be the final push to resume the beginning of our journey. Whether that’s finding a job, landing a career, continuing school, or even just moving on, we will all remember the odd bittersweet moment that our graduation was to mark the start of our next chapter. A chapter that couldn’t begin until months later.

For now, that chapter is pushed back a few pages to make room for a chapter we’ve seem to neglect, self preservation. Amidst the need of survival is the need to recall, remember, and regain our self. So, in this next chapter, we may not be on the path we thought we would be, but we are on a path much needed after years of betrayal.

Congratulations and good luck, Graduates of 2020.

– JS

No Such Thing

Walking over to a bus stop a quarter past eight
I look up and see you standing in the rain
No one is around but a beaten button down
And I try to get the nerve to say hello
But just when my feet take the first step
The trolley pulls up and carries you away
Later that day I tell my friends of my wait
They just smile and wave it away
“There is no such thing,” they say
Yet the next morning I’m whisked to that spot
Where the rain runs in your place
And my memory takes me back to your face
Days go by and I find no trace
No longer in a rush
I sit by the brush
When suddenly the wind picks up
And walking over to a bus stop a quarter past eight
You look up and see me sitting in a ray
Everyone is around but the beaten button down
And I finally stand up to say…

© 2019 Jessica Santos

A Frigidly Cold Shower

Beep! Beep! Smack! It was five in the morning. Too early for any college student to wake up but Jenny had a special reason. She had the amazing job of tending to the school’s special pony, Gypsy.

Rubbing her eyes, the hum of the heater came on but not too far away she could hear the incessant knocks on the stall door. Gypsy wanted breakfast and Gypsy wanted it now. But as far as Jenny was concerned, breakfast would have to wait until after her shower.

Scurrying into the bathroom, she turned the knob until a jet stream of frigidly cold water came blasting forth. She didn’t bother waiting for it to get warm and instead stripped down and aloud the rush of water over her ears drown out the noise from downstairs. She just wanted a minute to herself and she used that minute to try and jolt herself awake. After all, they say that a cold shower in the morning can do wonders to the body and mind. And so, it has become her ritual. But, she doesn’t linger too long just enough to perk up her eyes. If she prolonged Gypsy’s breakfast too much, he would probably bang open the stall door and amble up the stairs into the loft only to continue pounding on her bedroom door and her minute of peace.

It’s not to say that she didn’t love that little rascal but sometimes she dreamed of a day where he would learn to get his own oats and honey and not gobble down the whole tub. Someday her dream would come true but today Gypsy wasn’t about to grant her that wish.

© 2018 Jessica Santos