Living in Dreamland

I’m not sure how many of you have gone back to Eugene yet, but it’s a surreal experience.

Being back on campus this weekend, I felt like I belonged but at the same time I felt like I didn’t.  Jaded by the harsh world of volatile personalities and 40+ hour work weeks, the ideas of sleeping late or skipping class felt foreign to me. Though, it was only a couple weeks ago that I was part of this culture.

I like the drive and work of my internship.  Spending everyday cultivating my professional skills my last term of college was an excellent decision. But there are some things I miss about being a student, namely the optimism.

Lately, my life has been utterly consumed with the impending reality of life after graduation. Finishing my online class, the internship, and applying for jobs, there hasn’t been much time for dreaming. The reality is exciting, but also a bit depressing. My expectations are low. I recently applied for a job in central Nebraska.

Freshman Behavior

When I came in to the UO as a freshman, I had dreams of 16 million dollar salaries and sick Boston penthouses. The real world was a long way off and there were whammies to be had at Carson Late Night.

Being back in Eugene reminded me not to forget my dreams.  Yes. I may want to bend and stretch time, own an eagle pug, and live in a high rise…and that all may not be possible. It would obviously rupture the cosmic forces of the universe…also aliens

My internship at the radio station is a taste of reality, but also a chance to see what dreams are most important to me.  I recently realized how much I miss my video projects and how much I want a job that includes video in the future.

Maybe the working world isn’t all about being realistic or holding on to all your dreams, but using those dreams as a stepping stone to your reality.

“tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 

Shannon McGuire

PS: This is a great site I found for salary information. In case anyone wants it 


About shanabeet

I’m an uncoordinated-rock-climbing-news-junkie currently enrolled in the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication
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12 Responses to Living in Dreamland

  1. michelletag says:

    It is still so unreal to me that we are all about to graduate. I still can’t exactly grasp what that will feel like, and how drastically (or not) my life will change. And, I can relate to your visit back to Eugene. It is like a time capsule, you don’t truly grow up until you experience what life will be like after college. We have all had an advantage by participating in this program. We got great internships along with a taste of the real world. But, this doesn’t mean the real world sucks! If we use our dreams as stepping stones (like you were saying), then we will be much happier than settling for something that doesn’t interest or inspire us.

  2. asharonson says:

    What a great post! It is crazy to compare the life many of us had about three months ago to the way we are living now. I know we have only been at our internships for a short time, but I think that people in our positions really have a chance to grow up before graduation. Catching up with my old friends down in Eugene seems so strange because we are living such different lives. Granted, sleeping in late and skipping classes sounds nice every once and a while 😉 I wouldn’t give up where I am today for anything. Great job, Shannon!

  3. Alysha Beck says:

    Great post! I feel like you had some great insight. I know what you mean about sort of having a reality check after going back to Eugene and seeing how different things are compared to the world we’ve been living in up in Portland. I feel like I’m ready to get started in the working world and am excited by all the opportunities out there, but I still have some anxiety about graduating and leaving college behind. In the end, I think we’ve all learned a lot from our internships about what we want after college and where we will be happiest.

  4. jamesynwa says:

    Shannon, I definitely agree that the trip back to Eugene can be a sobering experience. Only two hours away, it represents something completely different than the world that we committed to this spring in Portland. The massive salaries and downtown penthouses may yet await you – but the reality of entry-level work in the corporate world definitely tempers those hopes and dreams. Eugene can be a quick reprieve for the weekend, but your time in Portland is definitely a step in the right direction. Enjoy your last few weeks (technically) as a college student!

  5. shannonsloan says:

    Yes, going back to Eugene is an experience indeed. I am so happy with my decision to be a part of this program, it has really helped me prepare for the future. Before this term, I was not excited to graduate. I was happy living college life and blissfull ignoring life after graduation. Being in a new city and working in a real world atmosphere really opened my eyes and showed me just how hard you have to work in order to be succesful. Good news is, now I am ready and excited for the future. I think its all about aligning your short term goals with your long term goals. Good luck in the future, hope you get to do lots of video work!

  6. Bree says:

    I know how you feel, Shannon. This past month, I’ve been thinking about post graduation more frequently. It’s overwhelming and sometimes I wish I could go back to freshman year and start over. I feel like a completely different person now. My career goals have changed as well as my life goals. Heck, even my political views have changed. I recently went to Eugene and I too felt like I didn’t belong. It’s sad to see this chapter in my life pass, but we can’t be crazy (broke) college kids anymore. Time for those big-girl jobs now. Good luck! And I hope to keep in touch!

  7. zolfaghari says:

    First off, that “aliens” meme happens to be one of my all time favorites. For that alone, I love this post. You’re post really got me thinking about the sacrifices all of us made in our decision to leave Eugene behind for something more. As seniors, the idea of prosperity becomes embedded in our heads like an annoying song, playing over and over. We tell ourselves that the time for play is a thing in the past, and that the time to make it is now. It sounds like you’ve been able to find a way to adjust and put your priorities in front of everything. Best of luck!

  8. I was thinking the other day that if I was in Eugene that I would have not idea what I was going to do after graduation, because it can feel so removed from reality. Being up in Portland this term also opened my eyes to the reality that awaits me after graduation. I will be doing research and legwork for project, which is fine because you have to start somewhere. Eugene is a bubble.Best of luck with the Nebraska job and doing more video projects in the future! Also love the Aliens photo, such a treat haha!

  9. codynewton says:

    I have not been back to Eugene yet… I’m a little nervous about going back because I think I’ll feel the same exact way. Everyday in Eugene made the future feel so far away, then out of nowhere it all caught up. I’m really excited for what’s coming in my life, but it’s so much more real now, which is kind of a mind job. I agree with Kelsey’s comment that Eugene is a bubble. It totally is. When you’re there it feels like you have all the time in the world. Then you leave and you’re left thinking, damn, I really need to do something now.
    I suppose we need to grow up at some point . . . maybe. I’m curious to see what Eugene is going to be like when I go back there. I’m excited.

  10. kingram10 says:

    I was in Eugene this weekend and felt the exact same way. My roommates who have not moved out of Eugene for 4 years seemed to be living on a completely different planet than I. However, I’m really happy to be on to a new chapter in my life, and to be working towards a career that I can be proud of. I’m happy that you are able to decipher what is important in your career (video), and to fight to include that into whatever job you decided to take. Hang onto the things that make you happy! Then you’ll “never work a day in your life”.

  11. I know it’s going to be very “Twilight Zone” going back on campus. This whole experience has been a bit of a blur and I can’t believe that graduation is here and my life is around the corner. I remember really clinging to my high school years when I was ready to graduate from Dayton. I wasn’t ready to “grow-up” or let go of the place that was so comfortable and complete. Graduating from the U feels different. I’ve been at this for 5 years. (A year more than a few of you.) The long way round worked out perfectly for me. I’m ready. I’m ready for my relationships with the adults in my life to evolve as I strike out independently. I’m ready to pack that Uhaul with all my stuff and REALLY move out of my parent’s house. I have no issues with my parents, not one. (I’m lucky.) But this time, I’m ready to be “grown-up.”

  12. agavette says:

    I’ve been back a few times and I can definitely relate to that surreal feeling. Like you, I also feel like I made the right decision for my post-college life by doing this internship program, no matter what I miss back at school. I think we’re all getting a little head start on the competition of our fellow students, which is invaluable. I think we’ve also matured a lot by taking our first steps toward “the real world.” We’re at kind of an in-between and whenever I go back to Eugene, I find myself trying to remember what it’s like to be a full-time college student. The nice thing is, we don’t have to worry about homework or finals like they do. 😉

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