Sunday, May 27, 2012

Life post-graduation

...has been pretty sweet so far.

I rode at Gentle Giants the day after I graduated, ready to work with Sailor and Levi. I didn't get around to Sailor that first day, but more on that later. Levi was fairly nervous while grooming, but he didn't actually do anything bad. Once I put him to work in the ring, though (short longe over irregularly spaced ground poles, like before), his brain turned on so I mounted up.

He has such a wonderful, swingy, energetic walk. I think the issue he was having in lessons must have been that students were direct reining or over-relying on their reins in some other way, perhaps clinging on his mouth during his (admittedly very big) trot. Levi does get a bit forward at the trot when he's warming up, but he'll come right back to a less ground-covering stride if you give him a half-halt with each stride after he's had a chance to warm up. He can take some contact--but only AFTER he gets a good rhythm going. He also responds much better to steering with leg, then opening inside rein, and a supporting outside rein. I think most of the drafts at GG are not at that level in their training yet, so perhaps the students aren't used to riding that way. It is actually probably a plus for them to get some experience on Levi, since learning to rely on your leg and seat before using your hands is a good lesson to learn. My instructor said once, "If you think you need more rein, double your leg," which is a very easy way to remember.

The funny thing about him is that he can't seem to get the right canter lead on the circle, but he gets it every time on the straightaway (tried both ways in both directions). So weird. I think it might have something to do with the fact that he will overbend on the circle if you don't keep him straight with the outside rein--not sure. Anyone have any ideas? I might try to video it sometime to diagnose the problem.

Anyway, I had such a great time with Levi that I completely forgot about my joblessness anxiety. Dapple grays just make my heart go pitter-patter, leaving no room for the insecurity that comes with being yet another jobless English major. I gave him a bath and let him graze while I pulled his mane to a respectable length, and generally fussed over what a good boy he was. When I put him back in his field, I saw that my phone had a missed call and a voicemail asking me to call back one of the companies I applied to.

Keep in mind--I had been checking my phone OBSESSIVELY for an email or call from this company for the entire weekend. I interviewed with them the Thursday before I graduated, and they said, "If we don't get back to you before you graduate on Monday, have a wonderful graduation!" I was both thrilled that they might get back to me so soon and terrified that I might have to face bad news on my big day. I called them back, and got voicemail since it was around lunchtime. I left a message, stuck my phone in the waistband of my breeches (First-world problem: iPhones don't fit in any pockets), and set myself to work putting away the ground poles and sweeping the aisleway.

About 30 minutes after I received an unrelated call (which scared the pants off me, I was so anxious) I received a call. THE call. That's right...the call offering me, the English major, a job as an Editorial Assistant one day after graduation. We chit-chatted about the particulars, I told them I was interested, and after I hung up, I shared the good news with the barn manager and then went back to sweeping clods of dirt and the shavings soaking up where Levi peed. My cheeks were burning with excitement. I'm actually glad I had to finish up sweeping (a relatively low-brainpower task) because if I had left the barn then, I probably would have gotten in an accident. There was no way I could think straight enough to ride Sailor--I left that for another day.

It was such a relief to know that I was on the road to independence. My dad took me out for crabs yesterday (parents are divorced--hence, separate graduation celebrations) and he said that me getting a job so soon after graduation made the whole English major thing seem worth it to him. In the past year or two I have grown more and more skeptical of the major since I let the tedious literature course requirements pile up on me all at once. I much preferred classes that had a clear benefit, like Copyediting, Concepts of Grammar, and Visual Rhetoric to classes where I simply repeated the read-analyze-discuss-read-analyze-discuss formula again and again. My most painful class was one where I had to read all 3 versions of Hamlet and both versions of King Lear (bet you didn't know that there are multiple Quarto and Folio versions of most of Shakespeare's works floating around out there) and compare them line-by-line, trying to create some significance out of one-word differences in versions of Shakespeare that most people will never read or see performed. Close reading is definitely useful to improve your detail-orientedness, but once you can do it, I don't really see the point in using it to meticulously obscure the meaning of passages that the author probably didn't give a second thought to. I guess what I'm saying is that maybe I should have studied journalism.

But, no matter. I have a job, and in the real world I have a feeling that results are more important than grades or majors. I've cleared the first obstacle, and now it's on to the next challenge...moving out. Eek.


  1. Congratulations! How awesome is that? Now you can relax!

    1. I still don't think I can really believe it until I show up for my first day. It's such a weight off my shoulders!

  2. Congratulations on not being a jobless graduate :)

    1. Thanks! Now I have something to hang over my future children's heads if they ever dilly-dally about getting a job since I was able to do it with a liberal arts major in a recession.