Making the most of my last summer vacation

Long story short, it’s been an interesting (and awesome) summer.

In between working as an assistant city editor at the Missourian, freelancing for The Riveter Magazine and working an unpaid gig for an author, I’ve put about 3,500 miles on my new-old car.

I made a conscious effort this summer to make sure I found some time for myself. Mostly, that has included traveling home to see my family and to Kansas City to see my friends as well as taking on anywhere from one to three ballet classes a week at the School of the Missouri Contemporary Ballet.

My work life:

  • On ACEing: I loved ACEing in 2011, and I love it now. I thought it would be odd editing again for some reason, but it has really just cemented that I eventually want to pursue a section-editor-like role for my career.
  • On The Riveter: I can’t gush enough about The Riveter. When my friend and former Maneater colleague Kaylen Ralph started the magazine, I was immediately hooked. While I’m still learning how to stay on track and adjust to a freelancer’s schedule, I’m having so much fun writing about a topic I love for a publication whose mission I strongly believe in.
  • On my unpaid gig: I have to keep most of this under wraps, but I’ve loved the opportunity to practice journalism in what, for me, is an untraditional setting. It’s nice to get a chance to break the report-it-write-it-repeat mode to work with someone who has way more experience than I do.

I made a choice to apply only for my reach internships this past year, and when they didn’t pan out, I was a bit put off. Sure, it’s easy to put on a face and act OK with weeks of rejection emails, but really, it felt a little bit like I was being left behind when my friends and colleagues all started making plans to go off in this or that direction for their stints at daily newspapers. I amassed credits quickly during my undergrad, so I had my “big regional metro” summer a year before a lot of students my age.

But my dear friend, Alicia, repeatedly gave me the advice I needed. I’ll paraphrase it here:

“Shaina, you had your daily newspaper summer. This summer, treat yo’self.”

And so the treat yo’self summer began.

  • On traveling: I’m lucky to live only 6.5 hours from where I grew up, but on any given weekend during the semester that is a bit too far to travel for a visit home. Because I’ve spent the past few summers away from home, I took advantage of having flexible hours that let me be present for my parents’ birthdays, wedding parties, etc.I also was lucky enough to have many of my close friends spending their summers in Kansas City, an awesome place that is near the top of my list to live post-graduation. As often as I could, I crashed at my roommate’s house and explored the restaurants, bars, local landmarks and museums that KC has to offer.
  • On ballet: I could rant for a few thousand words about what dancing has meant to me…and probably will in the near future (hint: check in with The Riveter later this fall!). But for now, I’m just happy to be able to indulge in something that makes me incredibly happy, even if it does mean I wake up with sore muscles more often than not. There’s something freeing about clearing your mind of the day’s events and to-do lists and just focusing on balancing a beat longer or spotting a turn with a sharper head. It’s been a treat, indeed.

In a little more than a week, my last fall semester at MU will begin, and I’ll take on a whole host of new classes and journalism experiences. Although I began the summer feeling a little out of sorts, I’m ending it glad I took the time to try new things and enjoy actually having a vacation. I’ve watched my friends and sister start full-time positions, so I’m planning to savor this time as long as I can.


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