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It's Our Turn - A newbie's take on Alexandria

I was riddled with "senioritis," approaching finals, dealing with roommate situations, and just plain ready to be done with college. I'd had enough to last a lifetime. But, with less than a month left, I hadn't even begun to think about where I would apply for a job, where a writing major was needed. Then, one weekend spent at home in Wadena, my mom handed me a tiny newspaper clipping with a want-ad for a content writer position at a small newspaper called the Echo Press.

I was confident in the résumé I sent, as I had interned at the Wadena Pioneer Journal for a summer and currently worked for a marketing and communications office for my college. So step one was out of the way. I had the interview.

Sad to say, my first impression of Alexandria was rather, well, bleak. Wearing a fancy dress that made it impossible to sit straight in my car, I drove into Alexandria on Highway 29, through the rain, and continued past a factory-like place. I turned into a residential area, which, alarmingly, lacked any stop signs.

I'd never been in a joint interview before, where more than one person interviews you, and this time I was surrounded by three. Talk about intimidating. But I survived with minimal fidgeting and blunders. I scurried to Burger King to change before driving back to the Cities to resume classes. Two days later, I got the job offer.

Everyone had told me that Alexandria was wonderful and had practically everything. My first thoughts were that they must have been talking about a different Alexandria, but I decided to give it a chance. It's a good thing I did, otherwise I wouldn't have found the beauty of this quaint town, wouldn't have discovered the perfect apartment, wouldn't have been a part of one of the greatest teams I've ever worked with. And yes, after exploring, I found "everything" that people had mentioned.

So what have I, being a newbie resident, noticed about Alex? Well, as I mentioned, there are not stop signs at every little intersection, nearly giving me a heart attack each time I approach one. I've never seen such a cute downtown with so many antique stores before. You need to watch out for dive-bombing ospreys, otherwise they might hit your windshield. There is just about double of everything on each side of town, making it extremely convenient. There are black squirrels everywhere. Certain people like to drive really fast here. Pretty much everywhere you turn, there's a lake or some body of water.

So, first full-time job. First time living alone. First time paying rent. First time staying in Alexandria for more than a couple hours at a time. So far, the experience has been wonderful. I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that I can support myself and make it on my own. I'm still learning to deal with things, such as battling sweet-ants that live under my kitchen counter or figuring out how to stay on a set laundry schedule or paying bills for the first time.

It's been a good experience for me. I never really knew what I could do on my own until after I no longer lived with three roommates. I've found out what I can and can't do. Probably the best part is being able to go to work, spend time with an incredible team and then return home and realize that I have absolutely no homework to do! That may enable me to be lazier in the evenings, but I figure after three years of intense college work, I'm entitled to a break.

I'm so blessed to have found all this. I'm dumbfounded at how everything just fell into place. It seems that everything lined up on a straight path leading me directly here. Of course, I've got tons of goals and things I'd like to try in life, but for now, I think I'll stick around!


"It's Our Turn" is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

Jessica Sly

Jessica Sly has been working as a content writer at the Echo Press since May 2012, contributing, proofreading and editing content for both the Echo and Osakis Review. A Wadena native, she graduated from Verndale High School in 2009 and worked that summer at the Wadena Pioneer Journal as an intern reporter. She attended Northwestern College in St. Paul (now the University of Northwestern - St. Paul), where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in writing and a minor in Bible. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the piano (and learning the violin), reading, writing novels, going to the movies, and exploring Alexandria.

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