Three Years ago Today…

Three years ago today I graduated from the University of Houston Downtown with honors. I immediately started writing my first book. I self-published it in October of that year. I’ve read a lot less in recent years than years prior. And I’ve yet to decide on a career path.

I just spoke with an old friend of mine today who is now working as a nurse in a hospital making a good salary. And I know of others who had jobs before even finishing school. And I’m just here.

My current job search is the most advanced it’s ever been. I’m applying for jobs almost daily. And they’re wide-ranging.

BUT three years have passed since one of the great days of my life. And I’m still proud to have experienced it. I’ll have to figure out the job thing soon. But I still have a full-time job. So I’m okay.

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Two Years After Graduation: My Progress

Last year I wrote a post about what I’d accomplished in the year since I finished school. It’s only fitting that I do it again.

Two years ago today I walked across the stage at the University of Houston Downtown graduation ceremony. It was quite the day that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Probably helps that I have a picture from that day on my nightstand just a few feet from where I sleep. You can read a little about what I accomplished in the first year after graduating from college here.

I’ll only be talking about what I’ve done in the last year from this point on.

The end.

Seriously. During my first year I wrote my book and started this blog, but in the last 365 days I haven’t done much. It hasn’t been a lack of motivation. I haven’t written anything, which is fine by me because there’s something much more important that I need to figure out before I think about that. It’s called a job, a real one.

I’ve been actively searching for a job since at least August. All of them in CJ. And nothing has panned out. Now I’ve reached the point at which I don’t think I’ll ever be working in CJ, which is disappointing and ridiculous at the same time. First, the American criminal justice system as a whole is under a microscope right now. One would think CJ agencies all over the country would actively be seeking out applicants who have a college education and have displayed over the course of their lives a high level of moral character. I have. This isn’t me bragging, it’s simple fact. Second, I know based on my experience during these last few months that I’m much more qualified for any CJ job than a significant portion of the applicant pool for any jobs in the area. I can’t speak for other parts of the country, though it’s very likely the same, but most CJ applicants down here apply with a high school diploma and a few college hours. You know just as well as I do that there’s a big difference between someone who went to school two or three semesters and someone who finished.

That last paragraph just seems like a rant, but oh well.

My main goal for the last year has been to find me a job in CJ, and I’ve failed at that. Now I need to reevaluate what my future holds.

No question for y’all today. Last year’s post included a handful of pictures, but not today. I don’t feel like including any.

PS: my failed job search has nothing to do with the economy or the worth of college degrees in today’s society, just know that you’re wrong if that’s what you’re thinking.


On this day in 2014 (as you already know) I published A Year After Graduation: My Progress.

 

A Year After Graduation: My progress

One year ago today my name was announced as I walked across the stage at the Spring Commencement of the University of Houston Downtown. Before we get into what I’ve done in the 365 days since that wonderful day, let me tell you all a little about it.

I woke up extremely early. Around six. Guys, this may be regular for some of you, but I do not EVER wake up this early. I ate a rather large breakfast because the ceremony wasn’t set to begin for another four hours, and then I wouldn’t get to eat for several more after that. Then I did the only thing I could. I got ready.

About five hours later the name John Raymond Guillen, Cum Laude, was announced. I know this happens a gazillion times every year in America, but I came so close to crying on stage in front of about 1,000 graduates and like 20,000 friends and family members. It wasn’t because it was unexpected. Or because I was the first of eight siblings to make it to this day. It was simply because I’d done it. I had maybe 25-30 family members and a few friends there for me. But only three friends went to our little lunch get together afterward, and I told them I’d never forget that they were there. Because it turned into a 13-14 hour day for everyone involved. Mercedes, I love you. Grant and Nathan, same goes for you guys.

I didn’t cry during the ceremony. Or before. It wasn’t until I started reading all the graduation cards I’d gotten that I finally did. I was graduating from college and it was writing that got me to cry. Now let’s see what I’ve done since then.

I wrote a book

This is definitely something to be proud of. The day I received my author proof is still probably the second best day of my life. Behind graduation up there. And the only things that could even come close to it that may be happening within the next decade or so are my wedding day, getting an agent, and getting a publishing contract.

I started a blog

Starting a blog isn’t significant in itself, it’s the people I’ve met from blogging. You all might think I’m crazy, but I seriously love you all. Did I ever think I’d be approaching 1,000 followers, ever? No. Did I ever think I’d talk to so many great people just about everyday? No. I could name like ten of you guys who I thoroughly enjoy talking to, but I don’t want to embarrass anyone. BUT I want to name one. Mahrukh. Oh my goodness. Could you imagine if I’d never started a blog? Then I wouldn’t have found yours. Then we wouldn’t talk. I mean, it’s almost scary. I’m lucky. And so are you. 🙂

But that’s it. I wanted to have so much more by the time this day arrived. I was supposed to have my second book written by January 1. I was supposed to finish writing my current WIP and have another book written by the time 2014 came to an end. I was supposed to be working toward getting an agent by now. But I’m not. And I don’t think I have the time to write another book once I finish the one I’m working on. And I don’t know anything about agents or query letters or anything.

I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m completely disappointed with myself. I’m not. I just wanted more from the last 365 days than I’ve gotten. I need to get with it. And soon. I don’t want 2014 to end up being the year of accomplishing nothing.

I’ll leave you with some pictures.

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ImageImageNow I need some words of encouragement from you guys.

2013: What a Year

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2013 was quite the year for me. So many great things happened and 2014 will have to bring it in order to compete. Now let me talk about some of those great things.

College Graduate

There was never any doubt that I’d earn my college degree in recent years since I planned my schedule two years in advance in order to walk across the stage in May of this year. But still, it’s difficult for me to put into words just how great that day really was. I come from a family of eight siblings, I’m the second youngest, and not one of us had been able to complete the task of earning a college degree. Until me. That in itself is something to be proud of, but I was also proud of the fact that I was able to get that degree in my hands in just three years and be the youngest student in my graduating class at 21. May 18, 2013 is a day I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

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First Book

I started 2013 with two very distinct goals. The first was to graduate, which I did, the second was to get started on my first book as soon as the first goal was complete. Well, every reader of this blog knows I managed to accomplish that as well. Less than two weeks after graduating from UHD I began work on my first book. It became a five month long process that culminated in its release on October 29. I just stated above that I won’t be forgetting my graduation day any time soon, well I also won’t be forgetting the day my first book was released. Again, I struggle to put into words what it felt like to hold my own book in my hands. It was a remarkable feeling that hasn’t been tarnished by the fact that several friends and family members still haven’t read it nearly two months after its release. I WROTE A BOOK! That’s all I’m still thinking. And you all know that I’m fast at work on the second.

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One of the low points of the year has definitely been my lack of reading. In 2012 I started and finished 44 books by 17 authors. This year, if you’ve taken a look at my What I’m Reading page, you know that number fell to a miniscule 15 books. I mean, can you blame me for falling behind my reading a bit as I finished my final semester of college and wrote my first book. I’m definitely somewhat disappointed, but it’s understandable. Like many serious readers I think, I rank the books I read. Well, my favorite book that I read in 2013 was Nine Dragons (Harry Bosch #14) by Michael Connelly. It currently ranks in at #15 on my overall best books list.

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Entertainment

Those of you who read many of my blog posts know that I typically talk solely about my book and writing. Well, why not change it up for the last post of the year? My absolute favorite movie to be released could only be a literary adaptation, right? It’s easily Catching Fire. By a longshot. Something that you guys don’t know is that I am obsessed with Jennifer Lawrence. Yes, I know I’m supposed to be this professional author and all of that, but she’s perfect and I’m in love. Not to mention the fact that she dominated the year.  She needs a Twitter so I can tweet her everyday.

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You guys also probably don’t know that I am obsessed with country music. My favorite song that was released this year was probably Beat This Summer by Brad Paisley. This was a tough call because there weren’t many songs that I REALLY liked.

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Lastly, I’d like to wish every one of you a happy new year. I’m sure it’ll be one for the record books.