Don’t “judge” me

I mentioned in my last blog post that I earned an internship with Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts. That’s a crazy-long name, and family and friends are constantly asking me to repeat this name because they can’t remember it, so I usually give a slightly exasperated sigh before repeating BALTIMOREOFFICEOFPROMOTIONANDTHEARTS. I figure I’ll give each person three freebies, and from there on out I’m just going to call it BOPA and tell them they can Google it if they don’t remember what it stands for.

Long name aside, I am really excited about my internship with BOPA. I’m also really relieved my worries can finally be put to rest, because finding an internship compatible with my interests and school standards (City Paper, as credible and established as it is, didn’t make the cut for school) took all spring and summer of intensive searching, corresponding, and coordinating. My dedication to this alone proves my being worthy of BOPA, in my opinion. That, and their timing was perfect, so I believe it was meant to be. So congrats, BOPA! You’ve made the right choice!

In case you don’t know what it is I do, I am a Mass Communication major. This major is the umbrella to journalism, advertising, and public relations—my specialty. I think, for the most part, this has been a good fit for me. Despite my love for writing, I ended up deciding against journalism as a major and instead went with a creative writing minor to satisfy my need to write. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of people take me considerably less seriously when they learn that public relations is my major.

Example: when I went to court in June for a speeding ticket I had received a couple months prior (not guilty, BOPA, I swear), I watched the judge, clearly nearing retirement and just having a little bit of fun until that time came, question a number of defendants. Most people were nervous, irritated or downright guilty looking. Still, the judge was good-hearted, giving some folks a bit of a hard time just for kicks, and he let everyone get away without points on their licenses, regardless of their uber-lame excuses for speeding. (For the record, “I was driving down a hill” is a totally unoriginal excuse, and the judge hears it 0293482045 times a day.)

There were a couple of girls around my age who were still in school, and the judge asked them what they studied. One girl replied with “biology,” and another replied with something equally as impressive. Botany or law or something, I don’t know. After hearing these other students talking to the impressed judge, I knew exactly what was coming for me. “He’s going to ask me what my major is,” I whispered to my dad, who was there for moral support, “and he’s not going to take me seriously.”

And what did that judge exclaim to a clearly-anxious Cassie after asking what my major was? “That’s the easiest major in the world!” Thanks. Can I have my points taken off now? “Kids choose that major just so they can party!” That’s great. But can you please stop judging me for my major? Ah. Yes. You’re a judge. Crap.

I know the term “public relations” has certain implications and is often portrayed in TV or film as soulless work that any dingbat could do. And, truth be told, I do see many people in my major who don’t seem to take their work seriously—at least not as seriously as they take their hair-straightening rituals. Still, public relations in the real world is not how it seems for the most part, and it requires savvy skills and the willingness to work really hard. Also, if you can’t write a coherent sentence… well, don’t bother.

As it turned out, the judge that afternoon was nice enough and even went on to tell about his own son who was, in fact, a Mass Communication major who blew off his schoolwork and partied until he flunked out. (Meanwhile, during the judge’s long story, I’m shaking in my court-appropriate heels and trying to decide when exactly I should smile, nod, laugh, say “uh-huh” and the likes.) Afterwards, I managed to hold my head high leaving the stand while trying not to wonder what the other people in the courtroom waiting for their own sentences thought of me, just based on looks and major alone.

Overall, this episode served as even more reinforcement that I will have to constantly prove myself to be just as worthy, if not moreso, as any other soon-to-be college grad, which will mean working twice as hard, especially since I don’t go to some fancy $40,000-a-year school that looks awesome on a resume. I’ve had some great teachers at my school, and I think my writing skills and desire to learn have both improved and increased respectively since freshman year, but it’s not a school that causes people’s eyes to widen, heads nodding with a combination of surprise and approval, when you tell them you go there. But hey, when they’re drowning in $200,000 worth of student loans 20 years down the road, I’ll be debt-free. Who’s the smarty-pants now?

Luckily, this internship with BOPA will be the perfect opportunity to prove just how smart, talented and driven I really am. My sense of humor may occasionally be defined as immature (I’m a sucker for Michael Scott’s “that’s what she said” jokes), but I’m actually quite mature in all other facets. And, I’ll say it, I’m also damn smart.

So, starting tomorrow, I’ll be giving BOPA everything I’ve got. They’re a really great organization just based on what I know so far, and if the women I interviewed with are any indication of the rest of the people there, I can already tell it’s friendly and as non-threatening of an environment as a place can be to a new intern. BOPA is the organization that presents Artscape, which I attended a few weeks ago and mentioned in a recent post, and I’m excited to help put on the Baltimore Book Festival which will take place at the end of September and essentially be my project for the coming weeks.

Wish me luck and hope I don’t do something to embarrass myself on the first day like sneeze or fall at an inopportune time. That would surely leave a lasting impression… on my face.

Business casual-ing it for my first day of WORK. Photo credit: Elsbeth (little sister)

Proof of survival

You’re probably wondering what happened to Cassie on her camping trip. Was she eaten alive by bugs? Was she eaten alive by bears? Why is she writing in the third person? Something must’ve gone wrong.

No, my friends– all is well. In fact, camping might be my new favorite pasttime. I slept well in our cozy tent, managed to rescue a frightened young boy from a locked bathroom, and ended the trip by spending too much money on clothes for my new internship at Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts. More on that later.

For now, some visual content for those of you curious to see just what went on during my camping trip with John to Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware. I believe the pictures speak for themselves, creating a lovely play-by-play of our long adventures spent outdoors. Imagine your favorite summer music playing in the background to create the perfect montage:

tent living

traveling lightly on bike

underground bunkers

one of many lookout towers

sexy Chiquita blowing in the wind

excuse me, I believe your house is drowning in sand

sunset on the dunes

John likes to wink at cameras

I’m already getting excited for our next camping getaway sometime in the fall, which, amazingly enough, is not that far away. I’d be more bummed about the fact that summer’s end is in sight, but there’s just too much to look forward to in the coming months. And I say that without a hint of sarcasm.