Mandy Boyle

NEPA-er with Moxie. Writer. Sometimes Actor. Nerdy Girl.

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Ouch.

I’ve really been sucking at keeping up with posting – though I will try to explain.

My tardiness first began after Thanksgiving. Family was in and spending time with them was just more important. I laughed, shared memories, and spent a lot of time talking to others about what is important, what I should be looking forward to, and what I’m really afraid of. Yes – I am afraid of a lot of things, despite my somewhat fearless exterior. Sure, it’s fun to be fearless, but I am human. I do have feelings. I do sometimes get stressed out and fear for the future. It’s only natural. I’m 21, in love, in college, and in debt. There’s a hell of a lot to think about.

So, after the family departed and I had a small breakdown over what I should be doing with my life (oh, you know you’ve been there before too), I ran into that lovely time of year that always brings the best out of people: Finals Week. I’ve had my rear kicked six ways from Sunday when it comes to school work this semester. The sheer volume is just mind boggling. Couple that with other stuff I have on the side and it’s a pretty deadly combination. I had to make a choice and unfortunately, instead of writing to you dear readers, I chose instead to write of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the questions I have about God.

But now, it’s time to come back. I’ve missed you. The pain has just been to great to keep me away :)

We’ll talk again real soon.

And here’s a hug for good measure.

-Mandy

You Know What I Was Thinking?

It’s fun to run. Right now, I’d love to run far away to somewhere nice – but I can’t always run when I want to. I have to stick some things out and wait – and that’s okay. Really. It is okay to have to wait, but not too long.

Only a few more days till Thanksgiving. You’ll run home to see family and friends. I’ll run home to two loving families and two turkeys and well, pretty much two of everything. It’s wonderful having a big crowd of people that care about you and don’t just want something. They give. I come from a family of givers and that’s something to be thankful for.

I can bet that you’re thankful for your family too, but sometimes, you run from them. You run away. You get frustrated and take off. We all do it and it’s only natural. One can’t expect for everything to be peachy keen. One can’t be expected to keep waiting.

But when the you-know-what hits the fan, then it’s time to run. Run as fast as you can to the people who know and love you. Run faster and harder than you ever have before. It’ll pay off. You’ll run and feel thankful and look at life a whole lot differently than before you took that first step in the right direction.

Happy Thanksgiving :)

10 Thoughts on the Web 2.0 Expo

Image Courtesy of http://www.wordle.net/

Image Courtesy of http://www.wordle.net/

1.) Customer service = win. I had an awesome customer service experience with the staff (esp. Sara Nerius) at the Web 2.0 Expo. Everyone was friendly, helpful, and understanding. Thank you.

2.) More often than not, that networking thing that you’re trying to do, well, it’s just going to turn into a pissing contest. Get ready to hear about all of the remarkable things that people have done, are doing, and will do – just remember not to speak while they’re tooting their own horn. So, what do you do again?

3.) Don’t get hung up on the little details. Think about the bigger concepts. Focus in on the idea, then start thinking about implementation.

4.) Presenting to other people – on or off the web – is difficult. Having the courage to publish or be heard is just as challenging. Do not belittle it or trivialize it.

5.) Chances are, you’re not a social media expert – and that’s *breathe* ready? Okay. It’s okay.

6.) Don’t forget that all of the people up on that stage or in that conference room are human. They have feelings. They have thoughts. They are not alabaster and unapproachable. Say “hello” if you want to. Ask questions. Introduce yourself and make a connection. Start up a relationship. Don’t ask for favors (thanks to Chris Brogan for reinforcing this in both his keynote and his session).

7.) Have respect for other people. I know you live in Manhattan and you have your own really edgy, innovative company/software and your laptop is more expensive than my car, but please, let’s be ladies and gentlemen here.

8.) Bus rides + concussion + cold symptoms = ick.

9.) Come to each event with an open mind. You never know what you could learn. Never think that you’re smarter than everyone else in that room.

10.) Finally, you don’t have to settle for the status quo. Attending the Web 2.0 Expo and interacting with others there made me think about something concerning the communications/media/advertising/PR/social media industry. You don’t have to become cut throat in order to survive. That’s what everyone else is doing. That’s what everyone else thinks is right. You also don’t have to be a jerk and get into pissing contests with other people when you meet them. You can have conversations. You can talk with instead of at people. Sure, call me naive, but I’m pretty sure that most of the speakers up on those podiums weren’t doing what everyone else was doing when they make the leap to do something awesome.

Driving Home

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrmski/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

Last night, I met up with my longtime friend Tony for dinner and to catch up. It was much needed.

Tony is one of those true blue kind of friends that you know will always be there for you when you need him. Over delicious cheesecake, sweet potato fries, and mozzarella moons, we discussed what we’ve been up to, who we’ve spoken with as of recent, and just general nonsense that always makes you smile when you think about it. Conversations like those are what I love most – the kind where it just feels nice to interact with someone, smile, laugh, listen, and respond.

During our meet up, Tony got a text from another friend about the Old Shoe Game, asking if we’d like to go. I had never been to the Old Shoe Game before so I said, “let’s go!” It was below 30 degrees and the grass was completely frost covered by the time we got over to Lake-Lehman.

Time for some back story. Both Tony and I met in junior high school  in the Lake-Lehman School District. We were library aides and had a few mutual friends. In high school, we were both involved with chorus, theatre, and track – all at Lake-Lehman HS. Now, the LLHS football team during my time was notorious for being well, horrible. The Old Shoe Game was considered by the entire school to be the most important football game of the season. It was always against our rival, Dallas High School, and the prize: an old shoe bronzed sometime before disco became popular. For decades, Lehman and Dallas fought over the chance to take that shoe back to  its respective trophy case. During my time, we never won the shoe or ever expected to win it. It wasn’t until a year or two ago that Lehman finally got to return the shoe to the trophy case after what seemed like an endless losing streak. Last night, the Old Shoe was up for grabs – and again, we weren’t expected to win – but this particular game was going to be special. It was Homecoming. Anyway, returning to the alma mater for a football game wasn’t something I was expecting – yet, it was a great surprise.

When we arrived, the stands were packed. Absolutely packed. Neither Tony or I had any cash so we grabbed some candy corn that I had left in my car (thanks Tricia!) and we stuffed our pockets in case we were questioned. I’m still not sure if they would have accepted candy corn in lieu of US Dollars but it was worth a try. Plan B was to jump the fence as usual.

We didn’t get asked to buy a ticket, so we just kept walking through the crowds of people till we go to the field. I found my cousins, two uncles, an aunt, and a few classmates in the process. It was unexpected, but again, a great surprise. We chatted then we kept moving – mainly because if we didn’t, we’d probably freeze. Once my knees started to go numb it was time to go. We only saw a handful of plays – none of which were that important. Tony and I said our “see ya laters” and then I headed back to Scranton. This is when I got my final – and most important – surprise of the evening.

As I was driving, I looked around at the place that I had once called home only four years ago. Lehman, PA was where I spent a lot of my time growing up. For the first time since I’ve left, I felt a little nostalgic about the whole experience. I saw the dark windows of Cook’s general store and thought about the size of their turkey sandwiches and how I used to stop there for PopTarts pretty much before every physics class during my senior year. I saw the dimmed lights of my friend Elizabeth’s house, where I had spent countless hours working on National History Day. I saw the Post Office where my Dad would wait to pick me up after I worked volunteer shifts at the Lehman Haunted Barn. I saw the old baseball field and the cross country hill where I’d spent two summers at field hockey camp, sweaty and usually covered in mud. I saw the rubber track where I qualified for districts and spent countless hours after school. I saw into the windows of the school. Lockers. Lockers that were once filled with my books, really smelly running shoes, and play scripts. In the sophomore hall, my locker was once filled with confetti and calendar pages for Valentine’s Day. Matt and Tony had the combination. They always left me surprises. I saw hallways too. Hallways that were once filled with too many students and trash cans when it rained so that when the ceiling leaked, there’d be something there to catch the water. I also saw Route 118, the road I drove each and every morning, Monday through Friday, to get my education. It was a quiet drive.

I saw a lot of things driving home, but they were all things I needed to see. I was reminded, as I switched on my blinker to turn right at the stop sign in front of Cook’s, that it was okay for me to come back, but I still need to keep looking towards the future. Home.

P.S. – Dallas won last night.

Challenges

screaming woman

This isn't a picture of me. But this is how I felt.

On Monday night, I had a meltdown. The kind with tears and incoherent speech. Yes. I had reached the tipping point. The stress of everything bore down on me and to top it off – I was more aware than ever that I was going to be graduating. The truth is – I’m scared. I’m afraid of what’s going to happen. For the past four years, I knew my direction. I knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing, and next year, that’ll be no different. I’ll be finishing my master’s degree. But what then? What’s the next step? Where am I supposed to go? What am I supposed to do? Like all people my age, I think about these things, and from time to time, they really get to me. Sure, most people see me as level headed and in control – but that’s not always the case. I have limits, just like everyone else. Which brings me to what I  decided to write about: challenges.

Whether you like it or not, you’ll be faced with challenges. You’ll encounter times when you’re scared out of your mind and have no idea what to do. You’ll be faced with unrealistic expectations that you’re expected to deliver on. You’ll be faced with changing jobs and career paths and relationships. You’ll be faced with a whole lot of change in your life – it’s just inevitable. What matters though is what you do with those changes.

If you choose to try to fight it, you’ll get nowhere. If you let yourself be dominated by the change, you’ll also get nowhere. The oh-so-delicate balance of resisting and going along with change is difficult to manage, but when done well, you create the changes. You create the possibilities. You give yourself a chance to just be and adapt and move forward. This isn’t always easy. Usually, there’s a process to it. You start out in shock. Then you resist. Then you bargain with yourself or reason. Then you start to muster up courage. Then you do it. And it’s done. And now it’s time to see the effects of your decision. Sometimes you make the right ones. Other times, you don’t. But either way, you have to recognize that you had the strength and the courage to make that decision and you did it because you thought it was right.

Now to make myself practice what I preach…

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