Alex in Transit(ion)

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tuesdays watching Maury

The National’s new album is sublime. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get out to their show the other day. I’ve been dying to see them live for years but I don’t start my job until the 17th so money’s a little tight. I am really pumped. Last night, a friend and I went out to the bar and he said “you realize you came here six months ago and now you rule this place, right?” It’s weird to look back because so much has happened so fast but I guess that’s just the person I am. If I set a goal, I am relentless until I achieve it. That’s not to say that I get everything I want but even when the result isn’t what I desire, I think you just have to keep on swimming.

The motivation behind that is that I only get one shot in this life. Getting the car stolen four days before the election was over taught me that. I could be upset and give up or I could be upset and keep working because we needed to win. I chose the latter. Also, if there’s anything I can say about the city of Newark, it’s that it does a good job at keeping you sober and grounded. Even though summer classes are INTENSE, I’m happy that the regular semester is over because I’m volunteering at Bike Rescue and I’m going to look to see if I can set up a city wide clean up with Rutgers. There is so much trash around the main drags of Newark and now with Mayor Cory Booker about to make his exit, I believe that it is imperative to hold this city up. Newark’s taught me a lot and there are times where I dream about moving out to somewhere like Jersey City or Hoboken where the crime’s a lot lower- I think that’s Newark’s problem- that people leave it. To me, Newark is the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. If people sat around for a while and took the time to take care of it, it would be nice. One of Mayor Booker’s major criticisms is that he’s not in Newark and always somewhere else, and it’s a valid concern. I understand his point about why he was away, so he could promote our city, and he did. But when he’s gone, what is going to happen? The celebrity is gone and it’s unlikely that the media will flock to the new mayor like they did to Booker. I just can’t wait for school to start again so I can see if I can get some students together to form a community group. We’ve made so much progress. I can’t stand to see it go away.

The same friend also said to me, “when you talk about Albany, your eyes light up. Will you move back?” That’s actually another post…which is taking a while to write because there’s so much emotion behind it since Albany is so much of me but I said that I can’t. Albany’s got some great people taking care of it. I can’t say the same for Newark, which is why I need to stay.

But yeah! School! How’s that going? For the first time in my academic career, I finished the semester with a 4.0. Still can’t believe that. I’m really glad that I took a couple years off between undergrad and graduate because my work experience provides such a rich foundation for my studies. Now that I have the 4.0, I don’t want to give it up. Summer classes are intense though- I understand that I need to take the accelerated classes  because I’m aiming to graduate by next May but I definitely feel that I would enjoy the subject matter more if it wasn’t getting dumped in my brain. It’s so funny because in undergrad, all I wanted to do is stay in school, and while I love academia, I want to use my master’s in the professional world. I am thinking about getting a second master’s in either transportation engineering or urban planning. I thought I wanted a Ph.D but I think a second master’s in either of those fields will get me to where I’d like to be. Time will tell.

I also ended up finally making the transition from campaigns to transportation planning. Through luck and my knowledge about the field, I got the internship and I still find that so crazy. The truth is, I haven’t felt this happy or fulfilled in such a long time. For years, my personal life was sacrificed to advance the cause and my career. To be in a position where I can go to work, truly passionate about what I’m doing AND able to be myself…listening to music, going to Yankee games, actually seeing my family and friends, going to concerts, participating in community service, reading books, it feels unreal… and that’s what makes me, me. I’ve gone so far  away from it and I’m so glad that no longer is my phone ringing off the hook at any hour of the day and that no one is hounding me down. Liberating cannot even begin to describe it. I still get to participate in campaigns yet this time, I volunteer and I’m able to call my shots about when I’m in the office, make my phone calls, knock my doors, and when I’m out, I’m out. I do not regret the last couple of years at all. They built my character and taught me so much but it’s time to go because my heart’s no longer in it to be full time. The keys belong to someone else with the fire in their belly.

Until next time, America.