How To Answer “What Are You Doing After Graduation?”

My college graduation day is quickly looming closer. Apparently at some point I started accumulating enough credits to end up with a degree and that seems to signal it’s time to leave. Now I need a plan. A life plan. At least that seems to be expected. I’m sure I’m not the only person who announces impending graduation and than constantly is queried about future plans. I’m tired of awkwardly trying to succinctly summarize my possible options/pretending I actually know what I’m doing. In case anyone can relate, here are my top ten answers to inspire awe and jealousy in family and friends/end the interrogation.

Answers To What Are You Doing After College

Going to Hogwarts!

Okay I'm getting tired of the "keep calm" posters, but I love anything Harry Potter unconditionally.

Okay I’m getting tired of the “keep calm” posters, but I love anything Harry Potter unconditionally.

Tell people you are going to Hogwarts. Really sell it by sending yourself an acceptance letter. Try this website. Don’t worry about not being eleven. They can make a letter look like it was lost in transit (Owl transit of course).

Becoming a Vampire Slayer

Someone needs to kill Edward Cullen.

Someone needs to kill Edward Cullen.

I’m going to be honest, I double dip this answer. I also use it to explain what I’m going to do with my criminal justice degree. If this seems too ambitious the answer may be modified to watching all of the episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on repeat.

 Becoming A Professional Nail Polish Namer

Want to know the toenail polish I’m wearing is called? Houston we have a purple. If you understand both terrible puns and alliteration, you can handle this job. I found a whole blog dedicated to bad nail polish names. Taking on the career might be doing the world a service.

Reading All of the Books

Reading is my happy place.

Reading is my happy place.

This is a totally plausible plan. All it requires is a library. It would take a long time to read a whole library worth of books.

Netflixing

netflixing

Netflix has over 50,000 movies and shows. Someone needs to rate them all. If might as well be you. You could even claim non-profit status. This is an important world service.

Marrying Rich

Gilmore Girls always knows the best way to handle life.

In the interest of progression I would like to point out this is a valid option for both boys and girls.

Taking over the World

Watch out for those shiny things.

Watch out for those shiny things.

The bonus of this answer is that most sane people don’t harass anyone who declares a desire for world domination. Don’t worry, this doesn’t require being evil. Feel free to be a benevolent world ruler.

Getting Pregnant and Collecting Child Support

Unlike many of my other plans that are inspired by the books and television, this plan is musically inspired. I enjoy listening to rap music when physically punishing my body with jogging. One of my favorite artists for exercise purposes is Kanye. Kanye West’s song “Gold Digger” triggered this plan. In case you haven’t heard it. Here’s the most inspiring segment.

18 years, 18 years
She got one of your kids, got you for 18 years
I know somebody paying child support for one of his kids
His baby mamma’s car and crib is bigger than his
You will see him on TV any given Sunday
Win the Superbowl and drive off in a Hyundai
She was supposed to buy your shorty TYCO with your money
She went to the doctor got lypo with your money
She walking around looking like Michael with your money
Should’ve got that insured got GEICO for your money, money, money
If you ain’t no punk holla we want prenup
WE WANT PRENUP! Yeah

Doing Something Vaguely Awesome

I have this posted on my bedroom wall.

I have this posted on my bedroom wall.

There is magic in being vague. As long as the answer is delivered with confidence it woks. If someone asks what doing epic shit means, just repeat epic shit. You could be saving the world or you could be recovering from eating Taco Bell. Nobody will know because of the magic of being vague.

If anyone begins to question your plans simply turn the table. It doesn’t matter how old someone is, nobody knows what they’re doing. If I’m wrong and you do know what you’re doing, let me know how you worked that out.

Best Wishes,

Caitlin

Contusions

When is the last time you had a well earned bruise? As a child I was constantly scraping my knee, getting grass stains on my clothes, and otherwise completely ignoring my own mortality. There seems this cultural belief that teenagers feel immortal. I’d disagree. Children feel immortal. They give everything one hundred percent. Crying, laughing, running, jumping, there’s no holding back.

The first time I remember losing my ability to commit to an action without fear ended with the gritty taste of sand in my mouth. Most of the memory is hazy like it was a dream and I’ve already been awake for too long afterwards. I do know it was a red swing held up with actual chains because the problem started when the twisting chains pinched my finger. I was gripping the chains in preparation to jump and immediately froze when it pinched me. Continue reading

A Realistic Discussion of Sexual Assault

Let’s talk about sexual assault. It’s a very real and very scary issue. I want this discussion to be realistic so let’s talk facts. Namely that every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted and that 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim (statistics taken from http://www.rainn.org/statistics).

The first statistic shows why this is such a real issue. It’s something many men and women face in their lifetime. I’ve seen statistics citing that somewhere between 1/3 and 1/4 of all college women are sexually assaulted. Does that anger anyone else? I will concede that a lot of progress has occurred in the fight against sexual assault, but there’s still a long way to go. Debunking myths about sexual assault is a critical step in this war against disrespect for the basic human right to chose what we do with our bodies.

Myths come in many different shapes and sizes. A recent one was Representative Todd Akin’s comment about legitimate rape.

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

The internet and news media have been all over Akin for his comment. Avoiding the abortion issue for the moment, what’s really upsetting about this quote is the disinformation. A women who survives rape deserves the facts of her situation and doesn’t need this false science where the female body magically shuts down pregnancy from rape.

Another myth I want to address is the constant “stranger danger” mentality that people learn as children and tend to apply to rape. The second statistic I mentioned earlier is one that many people seem to ignore. TWO-THIRDS of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. Sexual assault isn’t always or even usually a creepy stranger in a back alley. That misconception is so dangerous because it leaves many people completely unprepared to address any situation besides that of stranger sexual assault.

Sexual Assault perpetrators aren’t all creepy men in the dark.

Thankfully people are starting to realize this mistake. I recently attended a sexual assault protection program called Elemental. The program was created by Ball State University students working on an Immersive Learning project. It included an informative booklet and seven hours of hands-on training. The program did a great job of addressing all aspects of sexual assault.

It made sure to include information for both men and women as well as stranger and non-stranger defense scenarios. The program featured realistic self-defense tactics (inspired by Ninjitsu) that attendees were able to practice on “Creepers” who acted out the scenarios. The programs made use of two mattresses and couches to address scenarios common to college students in particular. I learned ways to stop someone from lowering me to a bed or assaulting me on a couch as well as ways to attack a stranger. Punching a stranger and kicking someone you may not want to injure off a bed are entirely different tactics. It was great how many options Elemental showcased.

The program even had a scenario that adressed sexual assault in long-term relationships. Dating someone doesn’t give them a right to your body. No matter what, you always have a right to say no. Elemental provided verbal and physical ways to counter unwanted advances. It additionally generated dialogue on consent. Miscommunication often leads to uncomfortable situations and confused expectations. It’s important to understand giving and receiving consent.

Failing to discuss sexual assault won’t make it go away. Information is power. I refuse to be a helpless victim. Sexual Assault is unacceptable and I want to do my part to make it stop. You should too. The first step is information, a great resources if Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) http://www.rainn.org. Another great idea is to look for sexual assault protection programs in your area. They’re often offered at Martial Arts studios, police stations, and universities.

Best wishes,

Caitlin

Things I would rather fund than a presidential campaign

The internet often inspires some of my crazier thoughts. This post is inspired by Twitter. More specifically, this tweet: “Hey, IRS: Instead of a checkbox for WOULD YOU LIKE DONATE TO THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN FUND, can we get GIVE MONEY TO NASA FOR AWESOME SHIT” I saw retweeted by author Laurell K. Hamilton and originally posted by @ragebauer. So here’s a list of things I’d rather fund than a presidential campaign.

 

NASA doing more cool stuff. There’s a rover on Mars! That’s ridiculously awesome.

Zombie Apocalypse preparedness training.

Everyone who is so adamant about the right to own a gun better learn how to use it against zombies.

New seasons of shows that shouldn’t have been cancelled. Most importantly Firefly.

Cheap healthy food. I like my fruits and vegetables thank you very much.

Theme music occurring in real life. Epic aspects of life would increase exponentially in fun.

Iron Man. Why aren’t superheroes real? Someone must be filthy rich and in possession of a mask.

Time travel. Apparently this isn’t possible according to current physics understanding, but I’m willing to overlook physics.

George R. R. Martin writing faster.

More self-checkouts at stores. I hate buying awkward things in front of a cashier. Yes, I do want chocolate, ice-cream, tampons, and this trashy romance novel. Thanks for the judgmental look.

A program to create a sexy new American accent.

Self-washing clothes.

Cosmopolitan for men.

Conversion to the metric system.

Go USA we will not give into peer pressure or common sense.

Bringing back the dinosaurs. I want a pet velociraptor.

Miniature versions of bigger things. Because the Earth possesses limited space and resources. Also, petite lap giraffes. I want one.

Everything is cuter in miniature.

An equation for the perfect chip to dip ratio.

A campaign to make the world a better place by refusing to start anything before 10 a.m.

Finally someone who understand real world issues.

A 24 hour help hot-line for older generations trying to use technology. Someone deserves to get paid for helping these people instead of it creating family strife when children have to explain the use of Facebook.

A teleportation device. As an out of state student I’d really appreciate this technology. Good-bye long car drives.

Creation of a universal language. Ideally one that makes more sense than English or Chinese.

Public napping spaces. Basically I support a well rested country.

 

There you have it. That’s how I’d like my money spent. Feel free to encourage me to run for political office. Personally I’d like to be a Texas Ranger or a Slayer. What causes would you support financially?

Best wishes,

Caitlin

 

 

 

 

 

Liar, Liar, where’s the jolly fat man?

        Santa isn’t real and I’m pissed. I feel like that was the first world shattering lie and they just don’t stop. The more we learn, the more I realize I was wrong. What’s the point? We’re going to find out Earth is actually shaped like a turtle twenty years from now anyways (this is a bit of a Terry Pratchett reference because he’s a great author). Oh the betrayal! In case you think you know anything, here’s some upsetting truths I’ve learned over the years:

  1. You can’t see the Wall of China from the moon. Great, now I feel even more small and insignificant. Plus I must’ve looked like an idiot waving to the sky while standing on the Great Wall.
  2. Foods that are supposedly some certain flavor and then taste nothing like that flavor. What the heck yellow Laffy Taffys? You don’t taste like a banana.
  3. Goldfish have a memory longer than three seconds. So somewhere in goldfish heaven my poor fish (whom I called fish) actually remembers I never named him. Now I feel like a jerk.
  4. Ostriches don’t stick their head in the ground. This is mostly upsetting because it shows cartoons have been lying to me as well. Which probably means Batman doesn’t exist.
  5. Twinkies don’t really last forever. They’re shelf live is about 25 days. Now what will we eat during the Apocalypse? The end of the world is looking more terrifying by the second.
  6. Fortune cookies are Chinese or even American. Apparently they’re Japanese ( here’s where I’m getting this fact from http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/01/10-food-myths-dispelled/). I knew this was false before going to China, but it still annoys me.
  7. Bats aren’t blind. Also vampires don’t sparkle or in fact exist. Which makes me sad because I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and was considering applying for the job. What the heck am I supposed to do with a Criminal Justice major now?
  8. Apparently no scientific evidence exists that suggest sugar makes you hyper. I actually believed this one for a long time. I wonder if my food was laced with crack.
  9. Reading in dim light doesn’t hurt your eyes. As a nerdy person, I read all of the time. My mom was frequently telling me to turn on a light. Apparently this was unnecessary. Which is good because I never listened. I was too hyper from all the sugar I ate.

10. Ke$ha is a trashy, drunkard. It seems she isn’t. It’s so hard to know whom to dislike anymore. I’m hoping the cast of Jersey Shore doesn’t start publishing scientific theories. You feel like you know a person and then they go and betray you.

            Let’s talk about Ke$ha a bit more. According to various web creeping I’ve done, she’s actually quite intelligent. She’s written songs for Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus. A Clockwork Orange inspired one of her makeup looks. She campaigned for PETA and was named Humane Society’s first global ambassador for animals. So why does she have to act like a trashy, whore to make money and sell albums? I don’t know, but it seems to work. She can afford a glitter gun and I can’t. So clearly she’s succeeding at life.

            I’m really not sure if people are lying to us or we’re all just dumb. Hopefully it’s the former. Personally, I’m going to stop believing everything that isn’t backed up by scientific studies or found on Wikipedia. I can’t wait to begin my life as a conspiracy theorist.

Best Wishes,

Caitlin Bartnik

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