I’m writing from OZO Coffee on Pearl St.; it’s my latest discovery as I try to find the best coffee shops to write from in Boulder. I have a three-part criteria for judging: coffee quality, work environment and people-watching.  This place scores high on coffee quality and people-watching, but it’s too crowded and noisy to really focus on work. Still, being here makes me feel like I’m part of the local community, and the thing I want most right now is to feel like a Boulderite.

As of now, I’m ashamed to say this really, the Starbucks on Pearl St. is at the top of my list. So basic; I really wish I preferred some local Boulder spot. But the truth is that this Starbucks has the best work environment (thanks to some great lighting choices), it’s busy but never packed, and it has good coffee – maybe I’m just hooked on Starbucks coffee now after drinking it for two months straight on the road.

It’s been ten days since I arrived in Boulder, and I’m happy to report that things have been going well – I moved into a nice house with three great roommates (my aunt, uncle and Thomas the dog), bought a ski pass to all the local mountains, got a job at a fancy Pearl St. restaurant called La’telier and sampled some Boulder nightlife with my coworkers this past weekend. On top of that, I’ve connected with some fellow Continentals who are part of a large and influential Hamilton alumni base in both Boulder and Denver; it turns out people out here do know about my small upstate-New York school. Roll Conts!

I’m hopeful that continuing to mine the alumni database will help me find another job to keep me busy during the day. When I consider what an ideal job would look like, I imagine working in an environment that would challenge me to use my education, introduce me to other young, ambitious professionals and give me a sense of pride in the organization’s goals and my own role in helping reach them.

That description is incredibly vague, I know, and that could be a good or bad thing depending on how I look at it. The upside to it is that I could theoretically find fulfillment in many different industries; as Nannie Clough puts it: I’m keeping doors open. This is also a downside, I think, because it doesn’t narrow down my options. I still feel overwhelmed by the number of different careers that I could potentially pursue – as I’ve said before, the realization that there isn’t a “right path” in life often makes me feel confused and lost. I’m trying to change my mindset about this: it really should be a liberating feeling to have so many different opportunities laid out before me.

I think that my best tactic to addressing this dilemma is to keep reaching out to different people for information about their lives and careers. That way, I can analyze their paths and discover aspects that I like and others that I don’t. I’m comforted by the fact that I’m doing everything that I can think of in this regard – Since last winter I’ve been mining every contact that I have in the Boulder/Denver area and I’m continuing to blast my resume all over the internet; I’ll even post it here on this blog – maybe one of my future employers likes reading amateur blogs. ELIAS CLOUGH RESUME copy 2

Lately, I’ve been thinking that it might be fun to explore jobs that involve writing. Since starting this blog, I’ve found that I actually like writing outside of school. I enjoy discovering different ways to manipulate words, and writing down my thoughts helps me process and reflect on them. After spending hours on a post I feel proud of my work, even if no one is grading or even reading it – I can write just for me, without the validation. It’s been exciting to learn this about myself.

Inspired by this new self-awareness,  I’ve reached out to several people about different ways that I could potentially monetize my love for writing. I’m aware of the stereotype of the struggling writer, but I’ve learned about some opportunities that could give me both a stable job and writing responsibilities. One such position that I’ve heard about is with a magazine in Sun Valley, ID: the editor heard about this blog and reached out to me about a potential winter position. I’m not sure how I would feel about leaving Boulder, but I like the idea of learning more about the process of creating and publishing a magazine – who knows, it could be something that I want to pursue as a career someday.

Another potential option that I’ve heard about would be working as a promoter for one of the many startups across Denver and Boulder. This would also be a really cool option because it would be in the area, it would hopefully let me work alongside a lot of other young, creative people and I can imagine that I’d be able to have a more significant impact in such a place than I would be able to in a bigger, established company.  I talked to a Hamilton alum in Denver about this, and she promised to put me in touch with some contacts in various startups after the holidays. Fingers crossed.

I’m starting to consider different ways that I can continue writing for myself, too, now that I’ve decided to settle down in one place. I’m still seeking inspiration, but now that I’m an aspiring Boulderite I’m going to have to switch tacks from travel-writer to Boulder-blogger. There are a lot of different things that I could write about, but here are a couple of different options that I’ve been considering.

-Poetry: The idea of writing poetry intimidates me more than any other kind of writing, but I loved the one poetry class that I took at Hamilton and I like the idea of expressing myself in a more abstract way. I already love the 18th century Romanticism movement, it could be time to channel my inner Keats.

-Short Stories: I would love to write fiction, and I think I could be good at it. Looking back at my childhood, I had a lot of exposure to storytelling. I used to listen to storytellers with my grandparents at summer camp – I remember really loving this one guy in particular named Donald, and I used to memorize his stories and recite them to my friends. In 4th grade, too, I used to stay in from recess and tell made-up stories to some of my classmates for fun – total nerd move, but I remember really enjoying it. I think it would be fun to rediscover that passion.

-Research/Journalism: This is just speculative, I don’t really have any exposure to journalism. I imagine, though, that it would be fun to research a topic and then write about it. It could give me a real sense of purpose with my writing, especially if I could write about something that I’m passionate about in the area.

These are just some thoughts; I’m excited about whatever direction that I decide to go with my writing, either professionally or just for fun. For now though, I think that I’m going to keep going with this blog. From now on, however, I’m no longer a western traveler, but an aspiring Boulderite – even writing that last part makes me happy. I think that I’ve ended up in the right place.

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