(Source: , via fitbeliever)
When I first found out about the promotions internship at Chicago’s Q101 radio station, I knew I had to not only interview for it, but I had to get it. I had to, there was just no other option. So I crafted a really sincere and heartfelt cover letter about how much music meant to me as an 18-year- old, and I think I dropped something along the lines of “Why would you walk around without headphones when you can walk around with headphones?” It makes me laugh now, but it got me the interview.
As I type this, I’m having flashbacks of what I wore to the station the first time. Unsurprisingly, it was pretty horrible. But I didn’t consult with anyone because this job was one of those things that I knew I wanted and knew I had to have, so I didn’t need anyone’s advice on how to dress or what to say. I was going to nail it. And I did… kind of.
Mike couldn’t have been a cooler, nicer, warmer dude. Midwest to the core. Kind of chubby, about 26 and just the friendliest face you’d want to see when you showed up for what you’d built up in your mind as the most important interview ever.
I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face the entire time I sat there with him. I knew it was going well, just like I’d imagined. But at the end of our chat, Mike said he wasn’t going to offer the internship to me. “I want you to call me when you’re 21. Please do that for me.”
Since the job required going to bars to promote the radio station, Mike thought I’d have a much better time and that I’d really get the true experience of the internship when I was old enough to do everything the interns were required to do. I was really bummed at first. But I knew he was probably right.
I held him to his word. The summer between junior and senior year of college, I called Mike and asked him if he remembered me. “Of course!” He brought me in for another interview to see if I still wanted the job as badly as I did the first time around. I remember walking into Merchandise Mart, all the way down to the end of the second floor and seeing the studios where the DJs were and even being impressed by the reception area. Again.
Mike brought me into the conference room and told me he was so glad I remembered to call him. I told him how excited I was to be back at the station and how badly I wanted the internship. Being around bands and music was all I wanted. I was about to be 21 and nothing was more important to me than the feelings music made me feel. I told Mike all of this and he believed me. Because I was telling the truth.
When Mike called to offer me the position, he told me that myself and about 15 other kids had been chosen out of a pool of 300 applicants to come intern at the station. Not only was I excited, but I was really proud of myself.
This was it. This was my thing, my time. None of my friends cared about this stuff. None of them wanted to intern at a radio station. They were interning at banks and making money during the summer. It took some major coercing to convince my parents that college credit was enough pay for an experience like this. They were begrudgingly supportive.
That summer was the best summer of my life, and I knew it. The sense of discovery I felt — new friends, new music, new crushes, new styles, new drinks, new parties, new people — was electric. I was so excited to wake up every day and go to that radio station and hang out with those people who I thought were so funny and smart and ambitious. I fit in there. I was popular. I was liked. High school was over and I knew that this was the time when I could finally start to choose my path. And I was doing it. I was fucking doing it.
I hung out with two of my coworkers a lot that summer, Kevin and Gordon. Gordon was an intern and Kevin was the Promotions Assistant. They both went to a college near my parents’ house and they had a weekly punk rock radio show on Friday nights. It was really popular, kids from all over called in requesting songs. And Kevin and Gordon were so good at it. I couldn’t believe these guys were my age and they were doing this cool project and people were actually listening to them.
I had a major crush on Kevin and he would invite me to the station on Friday nights. I think he just wanted attention, I don’t think he liked me back. I think I knew that at the time, but I didn’t like him to the point where that was going to crush me when I finally realized it, if that makes sense. I really just wanted to be around these two guys because I thought they were so awesome and funny and smart.
They played all this music I’d never heard before on their show. I had always listened to pop music. My first concert was the B96 Halloween Bash with Hanson as the headliner. I loved Christina Aguilera and Puff Daddy. Pop punk was not something I cared about until I started hanging out with Kevin and Gordon.
When I was sitting in their college station one Friday night, they played Fall Out Boy’s “Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things To Do Today.” And I felt it instantly. It felt like that summer to me. It was just so… young. To be young and know you’re young. There is no better sensation.
When Fall Out Boy went on to blow up, I was too cool for school. I claimed I “used to be into them” mostly because my college boyfriend was a music elitist, as most 22-year-old white guys are. Their songs weren’t new to me anymore, so I had no use for them. I needed to be cool.
When I think about that summer, I think I felt some of the most pure feelings I’ve ever felt. I think that’s because I removed myself from everything that was familiar to me. I made all new friends doing something that I knew I wanted to do, and I didn’t care what anyone said about it.
Sometimes I feel like after that internship, when I graduated college and got a job and started living a regular adult life, I regressed. The light of that summer of discovery had been dimmed.
A candle can’t burn forever. Sometimes you have to light a new one. I’ve lit other candles along the way.
I saw Fall Out Boy’s show last night at the Studio at Webster Hall, nine years after I was first introduced to the band. One of the reasons music is so universal is because of the visceral reaction certain sounds can make you feel. Hearing some of those songs last night took me right back to that summer, like I’d rediscovered my favorite perfume. I was there with this band that I didn’t even know meant that much to me.
I remembered how easy it can all be when you remove your frames of reference. When you just go into something — a job, a relationship, anything — with no other plan than to say yes to everything that comes your way, you come out on the other side with these experiences that will feed you and inspire you for a really long time.
Nostalgia can be painful. It hurts because you want something so bad — to go back — and it is physically impossible via any means. You can never, ever go back.
But nostalgia also feels so good. So God damn good. Because you knew you did something right along the way. The planets were aligned for you for a moment in time. And it feels really nice to think about that. Because you know if you were doing it right once, maybe there’s a chance you’re still doing it right now.
This is so damn close to my life now it’s unreal.
Have faith in yourself.
I like how it says pounds destroyed
I will do this. Seems like a great motivator.
THIS IS MY FUCKING LIFE YOU GUYS. MY. FUCKING. LIFE.
haha now I’m adding “watch Titanic” to my Christmas to do list. :P
How do Japanese multiply?
Well fuck my life if only I had known this in school >_____<
im so mad this makes me so mad
this is really helpful goddamn
I need a pencil and paper. Now.