Revisiting My MySpace Blogs – “I Admit: I Don’t Know” (Posted 2006)

So, like I mentioned briefly last night, I finally got ahold of all my old MySpace blogs.  Some of the stuff I posted is highly embarrassing and I wish someone would have given me a swift kick in the pants for writing it, but other stuff is actually really  nice to look back on.  The one I’m going to share today both resonated and amused me when I read it.  I’ve cut out the irrelevant first half (it was a really long blog!) and just left in the bit that I wanted to address.  This was written towards of year 10, back when I’d only recently turned 16 and was heading into my big final two years of school the following year.  (I decided to leave all the terrible grammar and spelling in to keep in authentic…apparently capital letters weren’t cool back then).

I Admit: I Don’t Know (Posted : 2006-08-02)

the time had to come of coarse. there was no denying that. it’s the time where we have to choose subjects for our final two years of school, and with that, a career path. and i hate it. i was never the kid to think “i’m gonna be a firefighter” or whatever. well, not for more then a few days anyway. and although the thought had crossed my mind once or twice, i never really thought about it, just chucked it on the too hard pile for another day. and now the time has come where there really isn’t any time left for thinking…well, there IS of coarse, but you had to at least have a loose idea. and i sort of do. but i just can’t see myself staying with one job. and that isn’t a good thing. if you jump careers all the time, it’s not going to be a steady income. and i’m not a moron. i know how important that is. damn, just covering the cost of petrol is more then enough reason to just decide on a proffesion and stick with it. and i’ve narrowed it down to two fields – music or computers. i know, big shock huh? lol. not really. music, well, i’d LOVE to be in a band, but i can’t sing, and am only just moving into a sort-of-okay guitarist. i’m not brilliant, but i definately have stepped up quite a bit since i started. gimme two years i think, and then maybe i’ll be ready. but nah, even if i was in a band, that’d be gigging at nights, and it wouldn’t be an income. i know that. so i was thinking maybe a sound technician. or if it was computers, it would either be something to do with the internet like a webmaster/designer, or like a computer programmer. had a “taster” at the local nmit tafe two days ago, and it was on the visual design coarses. that isn’t for me. i know that. but there was a Q-and-A after lunch, and one of the students they got to talk was studying music, and they’ve just brought in a diploma in it, and the guy talking was in the band we saw afterwards. and it made me want to do that, but at the same time think that i’d complete it and then go “nah, i’m over this” and do computers. ohhh i’m so confused. that’s another reason why i was probably crabby. i don’t know. and that’s the extent of it, of all of this i suppose, I DON’T KNOW. i’m only sixteen! twenty-year-olds don’t know what they want half the time. i can’t vote. i can’t drive without someone next to me. i can’t smoke (not that i would). i can’t drink. so why in the hell am i am even thinking about a career path? i’m not saying that i should be treated like a four year old, coz i’m not. i want to be part of the adult world. but at the same time, you can’t expect us to know when we’re sixteen. not properly. well, not me anyway. i just know that i’ll choose something now and in six months time go “what was i thinking?”. and by then it’s too late. urgh i just want someone to tell me what i want. it’s draining and stressful and confusing. but i’m not complaining. well, no more then anyone else.

I really liked this post in particular as I still completely agree with what I wrote, which is unusual considering I’m now well and truely on the other side of the fence.  A majority of the stuff I wrote/complained/whined about back then I now understand better and therefore, don’t really agree with any more, but this post is still so true!

I can’t believe schools expect kids to know what they want to do at such a young age.  As I addressed in the post, kids that age have no legal rights whatsoever, and yet they’re expected to know what they want to do as a career for potentially their whole life?  I mean, I understand that choosing the wrong subjects isn’t the end of a particular career path should you decide later on, but between the ages of 18-21, further education places do check what subjects were taken and the results, and if something wasn’t taken you’d have to jump through some big (often time consuming) hoops.  That’s a lot of pressure to put onto people that young!  Especially when on top of that, the teachers are all crying “Year 11 and 12 are the hardest years of your lives, you have to study, you have to get good grades, you need a good final score or you won’t get into further education and you won’t have a good job!”.  Essentially, if you don’t do well, you’re life is over.  Looking at it from the other side, it’s 100% a dirty, dirty lie.  Let’s not even get into what schools consider “careers” – if it doesn’t have a fancy title or a 4-year coarse behind it, it isn’t one.

I was lucky.  Little did I know when I posted that blog, that halfway through Year 12 I’d get accepted into film school and it would make my end of year results irrelevant.  Little did I know at that time that film school (although fun) would take me absolutely nowhere and I’d be forging a career in telco.  This is exactly what I mean by putting so much pressure on young people though.  In that post, I’m frantically trying to pick a job out of thin air that I know very little about.  I landed on a sound technician (which I’ll bet is generally a super boring job aside from the occasional live-show gigs) or a computer technician (ha, with my maths skills?  I don’t think so).  It wasn’t until partway through year 12 I decided to pursue film, and honestly, even that was on a bit of a whim.

You have to do something.

That’s the mentality of the final years of high school.  As you’re finishing your education, it’s like a rite of passage that you go to uni.  I mean, sure, you can take a gap year if you need some time away from study, but even then the idea of that is you’ll go right back to uni after you’ve had your fun.  Not once did anyone ever say “keep working in retail until you know what you want, it’s okay”.  I wish someone would have though.  Maybe I wouldn’t have wasted my parents money doing a coarse I’ll never use.  Maybe I’d like retail.  Granted, the pay isn’t fantastic, but it’s still a career path.  You can still work your way up like any job.  And if you’ve done retail for awhile and then finally work out what you want to do with your life, what have you wasted?  Only a little bit of time, but chances are if you hadn’t given yourself that, you’d probably be studying something completely different.  What’s a year or two in a shitty job if it means you’ll make the right choice longterm?  This is what schools should be saying.  They won’t though, because I’m sure it makes them look fantastic if they can say “two-thirds of our year level went on to do further studies”.  They’ll never follow up to see how many of those same students wound up working in the field they studied in (or even how many finished the coarse in the first place).

This is where the education system fails people.  It’s all a big competition.  Instead of making it about the students, it’s about the results.  All that means is students are worked too hard to get grades they may never even need, to be brainwashed into thinking they absolutely have to do further studies.  It results in depression, anxiety, kids dropping out of school early or, worse, suicide.  Over what?  A stupid coarse that’s make-or-break over a stupid final mark?

Fuck that shit.

Especially because after 21, that mark becomes absolutely irrelevant.  You’re classified as a mature-aged student and you have free choice of almost any coarse you like.  Let me restate that again for you: kids are literally killing themselves trying to get into a coarse at age 18 they could breeze into at age 21.  All because the schools are acting like it’s the most important thing in the world.

To anyone still in school reading this, please don’t get caught up in all this bullshit.  You’re so young.  Enjoy it.  Don’t let anyone convince you that your final marks are the be-all-and-end-all.  Please don’t think you need to have a life plan now.  Things will change, people will come and go from your life, your attitudes and ideas and mindsets will shift.  You have no idea what lies ahead, and making a life plan before you’re out of teenage-hood is absolutely crazy and a waste of precious time.   Don’t get me wrong, if you have an idea, go for it.  Ultimately, a couple of years spent in retail, or on a coarse that doesn’t help you, is nothing.  Stressing about it all is something though – it’s bad for your health and you’re too young for that.  You’ll have so many reasons to stress later in life, don’t let it get to you now!  Go out, be crazy and take heaps and heaps of photos.  You’ll never be this young and free again!

What are your thoughts?  Did you wind up doing the job you thought you would at age 16?

-JD

Time to Change – Day Fifty-Four

Today I had training in the city.  Training I’d already done twice before.  Despite that, my day went okay.  I woke up extra early to finish cleaning in preparation for the inspection that was happening today while I was at work.  I then got ready and raced out the door to the bus stop.

The morning was a bit crazy, as I’d gone to the normal building we usually have training in, to find nobody there.  After asking another colleague who was already with the trainer where he was, it turns out they were in a different building up the road (the building, it turns out, where I had my original interview for the job all those weeks ago).  I wasn’t the only person who made that mistake…it seems like half group did.  By the time everyone finally found their way to the right address, the session was already 15 minutes behind.  What a mess.

Anyway, we had one of the trainers that I’d had through my induction and he’s really good (and kind of cute) so that was fun, despite the boring topics that I could practically recite in my sleep.  We had a lot of laughs and, best of all, got let out over an hour early.  I love love love getting out early as it means I’m not crammed into a peak hour train, and I get home quicker.  So much win!

I also got confirmation that I’m going to be at my temporary store for another week, which I’m really happy about as the manager there already told me if I was going to be with them, he was changing my roster to 9-5 every day, instead of the obscure late shifts I’d been given.  So happy!  I hate late shifts so this works out fantastically.  Plus, I’ve come to really like the team there so spending another week with them is going to be great.

My food for the day was pretty good.  After all the early morning cleaning, I ran out of time for breakfast so I grabbed a Boost Juice on the way to training.  I accidentally ordered a large one instead of small, but only managed to get through about half (which is why I wanted a small one in the first place!  Whoops).  I had banana bread for morning tea…probably my worst food choice of the day, but I think that makes today a good one.  I could have done a lot worse!  For lunch, I got dragged out to the local food court (I’d bought lunch but I didn’t want to carry it around with me).  I’ll admit, I was extremely tempted to buy fast food.  It all smelt so good!  But my colleague insisted we eat healthy (luckily) so we got yoghurt instead.  I also got a diet coke, but I couldn’t even manage to get through half the bottle.  I really am turning a corner!

During the afternoon, the guy who was supposed to inspect my house (and whom I’d been cleaning for the past three days for) told me that he’d forgotten to bring the spare keys and would I be home to let him in later?  I told him there’s no chance of that so he had to reschedule.  Urgh, seriously?!  You had one job!  Bring the keys!  Very irritating as now I’m gonna have to do a big vacuum and whatnot next Wednesday too.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually don’t mind vacuuming, but trying to get all the hair up is a big job…and by next week it’ll be like I never did it.  Living with a golden retriever basically means you live in a house constantly confetti’d with fur.  Especially if you don’t have time (or patience) to constantly stay on top of it.

After getting home, I was really craving junk again.  Fish and chips in particular.  This has always been one of my absolute favourite meal choices, so it was very hard to shake the craving.  I just tried to force it out of my mind, and decided I’d just make Lite n Easy Crumbed Fish instead.  It’s basically the boring, healthy version of fish and chips, but with a bucketload of veggies on the side.  This was probably one of the worst LnE meals I’ve had, though I guess that’s more because my mind was wanting me to tuck into greasy, salty fish and chips and it got bland fish and veggies instead.  Anything would seem bad when it’s put like that!

As I caught public transport, my step count finished up at over 7500, which is really good for me!  And on top of that, because I had a decent day, my calorie count was under my daily goal limit for the first time in a long while.  Hells yeah!

Today I also – finally – got my old blog posts back from MySpace, written back when I was 15-19, all 75 of them.  I’ve only had a chance to read through a few of them (they send it to you in a basic format so it’s absolutely littered with HTML code so it makes it difficult to decipher), but it bought back so many memories!  So many adventures, long-gone worries and friends I don’t speak to any more.  Also, so many cringeworthy things I told the world about back then.  I’ve got a couple I want to share with you, but that will have to wait.  It’s really late and I have work tomorrow.  Stay tuned though, they’ll be coming!
(Side note, if any of you used to post on MySpace, I’d recommend requesting for them back.  So good to have access to them now that the website doesn’t show them through profiles or support blogging any more!  Embarrassing or not, I hate knowing parts of me are gone.)

How was your day today?

-JD

“Top 5 Social Media Tips”

Being a Gen Y-er and growing up with social media, this is something I’ve had plenty of experience in, both good and bad.

1. Privacy is really important.  Seriously.
This is one of those lessons I had to learn the hard way.  When MySpace and MSN were all the rage, nobody really cared about security.  It was all about talking to random people, collecting friends, sharing statuses.  I guess back then, privacy wasn’t really an option.  I mean, I’m sure there were basic features, but it wasn’t talked about or really known, and nobody did it.  It’s only relatively recently that companies such as Facebook have gotten people to seriously focus on it, myself included.  My social media settings are pretty much on maximum now – I only share things with people I’m friends with on Facebook and Instagram, people can’t message me on Facebook without being friends with me first, people can’t see any personal details about me without being my friend.
The trigger for all this started about six years ago, when I started to become really close to one of my now best friends.  He was going through stalker issues that at the time, I knew nothing about.  He was embarrassed and we’d only just gotten to really know each other so it just hadn’t come up.   I was contacted on both Facebook and YouTube by someone who was telling me awful things about my friend, stuff that I at first assumed to be true as I didn’t understand what was going on.  It really upset him I believed it, but in my defense, it was early days and I’d never had any sort of contact with stalkers before so I just didn’t really understand.  After that, I removed all my YouTube content and switched to super private mode on everything.  It’s not worth the risk or hassle to have it set any other way, and ultimately I’m not sharing things for my friend’s brother’s cousin’s wife to see, I’m sharing it for people I know.

2. Parents, perverts are real.  They’re out there.  Take it seriously.
Again, I know this from experience.  While kids use different platforms than I used to, I guarantee the same sickos still lurk there, waiting for your child to try to meet some new friends in cyberspace.  That’s why I started talking to people I didn’t know on MSN.  I don’t even remember where I met them (maybe they added me), but they seemed nice enough at first.  They’d let you talk about school and friend dramas and they always seemed relatable.  They’d talk to your for awhile, and you think “okay, this is fine”.  This one guy I spoke to didn’t even bother trying to hide the fact he was 30-something, which I suppose was lucky in one way – if he had of pretended to be my age, who knows what could have happened?  After awhile, he started asking more personal questions.  One I remember in particular was “what bra size are you?”.  Then suddenly, he’s sending naked pictures of himself.  Luckily, I was smart enough to delete and block him straight away.  I wasn’t out looking for this kind of thing, but it found me anyway.  Kids are online more than ever (a lot more than I was back then), and it’s so easy for pervs to contact them.  Most gadgets and social media have privacy controls.  Learn them, set them.  More than that, educate your kids.  You can change settings all you like but kids can always turn them off.  Don’t expect schools to monitor your children for you, don’t expect your kids to listen to their boring teacher when they try to teach cyber safety.  Sit them down and explain it to them so they’ll understand – you know your kids better than anyone else.  If you don’t understand technology, research it.  It might save your child’s life.  Also, don’t think “oh, they’re too young for me to tell them about the mean old world”.  I know I just said you know your kids better than anyone, and it’s true, however I firmly believe if they’re old enough for gadgets such as iPads, laptops and phones, they’re old enough to be told the dangers of it.  My friend is a grade one teacher (the kids are between 6 and 7 years old).  For the two years she’s been teaching that level, she’s had countless awkward situations where she’s caught the kids looking up porn, googling “girls kissing” and all sorts of other mindblowing stuff.  Your kids are curious.  They see it on TV, their friends talk about it.  If you don’t educate them, they could end up learning about the dangers the hard way.  I can’t stress this enough.

3. Don’t send game invites.  Nobody is going to start playing because you sent them.  You just piss everyone off.
I know this is one of the biggest annoyances on social media.  No, we don’t want play Candy Crush, we don’t want extra corn on FarmVille, we don’t want extra coins on Bingo Pop.  If we wanted to play, we’d do it without you spamming us.  Thankfully, there’s a way to turn off these annoying invites on Facebook, and anyone who has those annoying friends who don’t seem to get it should probably learn how – it’ll save your sanity.  And to those of you who do it, think before you press “invite to play”.  Sure, you might earn a small bonus for it, but you also lose the respect of all the people you spam.

4. If someone posts an offer that seems too good to be true, it is!
You’d think people would be able to spot a scam when they see one by now.  We aren’t in 1998 any more where everything is new and scary.  Sure, scams aren’t quite as obvious as the old “Prince of Nigeria” emails, but they aren’t challenging if you’re aware of them either.  I see countless people in my newsfeed posting things they shouldn’t be, spreading the scam further across cyberspace.  The easiest way to spot something dodgy is to look at the link – does the website look like it’s legit?  Most scams on social media these days pretend to be from major companies.  Do you really think Qantas would use abc.squizzers.com to give away “free tickets”?  Second thing to look for, is the spelling and grammar correct?  Almost always, the website is poorly written, have extremely bad grammar and often the spacing in weird too.  If American Express were to run a promotion, don’t you think they’d pay someone big bucks to make an impressive website and, I don’t know, use spell check?  Lastly, use your common sense.  Do you really think your local movie outlet is giving away free screenings “for the first 1000 people”?  That would put them out of business.  Do you really think your favourite airline is giving away “a trip anywhere in the world” if you share the link with all your friends?  Nothing is for free in this world, and that is especially true in cyberspace.  A lot of people have the mentality of “well, if it’s not real then I haven’t lost anything”.  Wrong.  Firstly, those scams ask for personal information.  At best, you’ll probably get heaps of junk email now flooding your inbox.  At worst, you could open your computer up for malware and wind up being hacked.  On top of that, if you’ve shared the link with people and they’ve been sucked in too, you’ve also dragged them down the same path.  If the link is even potentially dodgy, don’t click it!  If it’s from a big company, go to their official website.  If the offer isn’t listed there, it isn’t real.

5. Don’t post things you don’t want the whole world to see.
I know I harped on about privacy settings and educating your kids about cyber safety, and I’m not taking anything away from the importance of that.  You just need to be aware that anything you post has the potential to be saved, shared, copied and otherwise spread around, no matter how careful you are.  If you don’t want to risk that “cute” picture of your naked toddler winding up on some perverts computer harddrive, don’t post it.  If you don’t want your dick pics or boob snaps shared, don’t send them.  If you don’t want people knowing where you live, don’t check in there.  While privacy settings are generally pretty good, it doesn’t mean other people have the same settings or your best interests are heart.  It doesn’t take much for things to get leaked, and 99.9% of the time, it isn’t going to make you famous like Kim K.  It’s more likely to do a lot of psychological damage to you instead.  There was a big focus on sexting the media a little while ago, and victims were saying how their ex’s shared their naked pictures and sex tapes with everyone, and how it’s ruined their lives.  When asked why they thought it was a good idea in the first place, they went on and on about it being their choice and nobody has the right to tell them they can’t do it.  I’m not going to argue with that – if those people still have that mentality after all they’ve been through, then I say let them do it, but don’t be surprised if it happens again.  It doesn’t matter how in love with someone you are, and how amazing a person you think they they are, if things go south, they have some seriously damaging stuff.  It might seem like cheeky, harmless fun at the time but it can come back to haunt you.  Think about it before you share it.

That’s my top five tips.  What’s yours?

-JD

You can find this prompt, and many more, here