Peacoat, Sears | Boots, Old Navy | Scarf, grocery store
Work outfit: Dress, Forever 21| Blazer, Marshall's | Necklace, eFoxCity | Heels, Payless
Photos by George Liu
I've recently developed so much respect for people who work on their feet every day. As outsiders--casual shoppers in a department store, parched teenagers looking for a resfreshing summer drink, bustling adults running errands--it's easy to overlook things. When did that grocery store cashier wake up for work? How long has that salesperson been standing? What crazy hours does that barista tackle?
My parents insisted that I work this summer, and I can't help but be extremely grateful--it's a perspective changer. After four full days at Nordstrom, I now finally understand. I understand the aching feet. I understand the burnt-out mind. I understand that working is exhausting, regardless of whether you're a burger-flipper or an engineer. And both are equally respectable, for everyone has different stories.
That fast-food restaurant employee? He may be a recent immigrant trying to pave a new life in a foreign world. That weary hotel concierge? She may not have slept in the past three days, working back-to-back shifts of two jobs. It's not easy. Immediate appearances are a mere glimpse into a situation; they're far from the whole story. And this applies universally. That moody woman? She was just diagnosed with cancer. That sweaty pack of athletes running extremely slowly? They're not out of shape--they're on a cool-down after finishing an excruciating workout.
So be mindful. Be gracious.
* * *
Definitely took a little detour there with my wandering thoughts of the week. Working has definitely been hard, but it's also been fulfilling. It's gratifying to help a customer find that perfect leather jacket or that trendy sweater in the catalogue. I'm only temporary, so I'm not commissioned like most employees, but I've still had a few customers mention me at the registers. There's nothing like feeling competent and useful. I also get to dress up and work with clothes--what's not to like? More about what I've learned while working retail to come!
As for these two looks, the second is actually what I wore to my Nordstrom interview a couple weeks ago, but sans the heels and gold flats in their place. I snagged the red bodycon dress for only $4 last year, and it's been such a versatile piece. I'm a huge fan of layering, and bodycon dresses are ideal for throwing circle skirts over--it completely transforms an outfit.
1. go to whichever college with a smile and my intense drive, regardless of whether it was where I had originally hoped [in progress]
My first goal has yet to actually occur since I don't leave for orientation until late August. While I originally doted on Princeton, I'm certainly not unhappy about the way things turned out (more college thoughts to follow in a later post). Liberal arts schools have undeniable benefits--for one, I'm certainly looking forward to insightful discussions in Amherst's small class setting. More updates to come!
2. finish high school with nothing below an A- ✓
I did it, with AP classes bringing my GPA up to 4.317! While the inescapable plague of senioritis was certainly real, I take great ownership in everything I do, regardless of the situation.
3. complete an official half marathon in under two hours ✓ + updated
Done in 1:51:20. New goal: run a full marathon without stopping this fall.
4. chop my hair off and donate it after graduation (length and charity TBD) [postponed/modified]
Well, graduation came and went, and my long hair is still intact. I've grown a little too attached, and it doesn't help that I've found a loophole in my own goal: I didn't specify when after graduation. So I'm technically still in the clear haha. In lieu of this goal, I donated whole blood last week at the Red Cross--blood is certainly more vital than hair. It was mildly intimidating and my parents were extremely concerned about side effects, but my friend and I both made it out just fine and faint-free. I even finally got to find out my blood type! ✓