Memories are made best when in person

Published 9:47 am Friday, June 15, 2012

Column: Katie Mullaly, Notes from Home

As I began my first job as a college graduate, I was faced with something that they didn’t teach us in high school or even in college: You don’t get summers off anymore!

Katie Mullaly

Now, naturally, it was one of those pieces of information that was clear to you from a younger age, but you don’t really sweat over it until it directly affects you. I never recognized how difficult it would be to adjust from having three months off (even with a part- or full-time summer job as a student) to working continuously through those months. When summer comes for students of all ages, there’s a relief of tension when tests are done. When you clean out your desks, your lockers or your dorm room and dismiss any troubles boggling you at the time, it seems like a type of “refresh button” we have on our spirit.

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With summer comes that immediate satisfaction that things aren’t so heavily loaded anymore. Even if you do take on a task or two, there’s still a fair allotment of time to be silly, adventurous and free. Upon entering the working world, I quickly became aware as to how illusive and aloof this “vacation time” was and how valuable that annual time was to so many.

It’s been two years since I started a professional career in the working world I was so scared to face after college. I was blessed enough to get a job pretty much right off the bat.

For all of those graduates who have recently graduated high school or college, a small word of advice: Keep your eyes open as well as your heart. You may not find your “dream job” immediately, but be open to new experiences. They only make your résumé (and your spirit) stronger. Also, don’t ever stop learning. Any opportunities you’re given to learn or do something new and interesting, take it.

Last year as the summer approached, my family was struck with some bad news: My mother had uterine cancer while at the same time we found my father had a massive blood clot in his leg. I’d taken all of my accrued vacation time at work that year to be with them while they went through their painful processes. That decision to take time with my family instead of a trip to say, California, and really get away was such a blessing but at the same time, a difficult adjustment for me, it felt like I had no time to truly get away.

Thankfully, a year and some months to date, my father’s clot has cleared itself up and my mother is in remission and as spritely as ever. So spritely in fact, that she and I just took a small vacation up to northern Minnesota. We traveled up to Lake Mille Lacs, Brainerd, Duluth and up to the Split Rock Lighthouse before returning home to Blue Earth.

It was a mother-daughter road trip filled with history and adventure that shall not soon be forgotten. Naturally, I was reflective on how far our family had come in one year, and how precious our time together has been.

Time is one of the most precious things we have and, in the professional working world, that time, especially time set aside for family and friends is hard to come by. With 40-plus hour workweeks, overtime, conferences, professional development seminars and an entire list of other work-related time consumers, it’s hard to even get a family meal together and sit at the same table for some. Also considering the idea that our sons, daughters, mothers and fathers are becoming more and more connected to devices and USB ports than their own families. Facebook and Twitter have become more frequented than sitting down at our own kitchen tables.

So, let this be an exclamation of sorts to truly value the time you receive with your loved ones this summer be it a full vacation, a weekend away, or even just an evening together with the entire family — make the best of it for both yourself and those people you’re enjoying that time with. They don’t make apps for memories.


Katie Mullaly is a residence coordinator at Waldorf College.