After having stayed up late the previous night, I woke up still very much in the daze of sleep. I went through my morning routine: brushing my teeth, taking a quick shower to wake myself up, and making a quick breakfast. It was Monday but somewhere in my mind, I was still asleep, still drifting about the night before. I had no goal in staying up, no homework to be done. I merely stayed up because I could and I knew well that I would regret it the next morning. Like procrastination, I put off what I needed most, and I knew of the consequences. Why do we do these things to ourselves?

I walked to class, half-asleep. The weather was somewhat warmer than I expected, I noted as I waited for the walk sign to change. I walked past all the usual characters: the workers, the tourists, the students, the homeless. Outside the McDonald’s on Wabash, there is one homeless man who jingles his cup of change like a bell, and wishes everyone a blessed day. He looked at me and says, “stay up”. Suddenly, my sleepy spell is broke. I think about all of the things I have to do and I think “stay up, do what you can, do the best you can”.

I looked back at the man and smiled. I may have not gotten much sleep the night before, but I’m up early and the day just started. If I can’t start it with a chin up, then why start it at all?

Have you ever started to do one thing and did something completely different? How about in cooking? When I think of a pizza, I don’t think of lentil dip, chutney, or sweet potato. But those are just some of the odd things that went into the pizza my friends and I made. I also don’t think of it taking over four hours to plan and cook. But despite all the strange unexpectedness of our pizza, it turned out amazing.

We cooked the pizza in the 16th floor communal kitchen of the 162 building. There, I sat with friends as we discussed hyper realism and alter egos. When it came time for me to cut the sweet potatoes, I had one left over. Sometimes, I feel like that last potato. It’s not so different than the other ones going into this weird pizza, but it’s left out none the less. It makes me miss my family and friends. It makes me miss my boyfriend and how we used to make pizza.

As I was up on the internet one night, I received a message from a close friend, saying that she knew someone who had a design offer for me. Excited, I traded numbers with the person, and eagerly awaited their response. She told me the guy was making a Facebook app and needed some design/ graphic work done on it. Though I’m not a seasoned a expert with the Adobe programs, I do know a bit and I knew people who could possibly help me.

A day or so later, the guy contacts me and explains his situation. He emails me two street paintings, asking if I can make graphics out of them. I ask him if the painting are his or a friends. He says that they are neither…that he found them and took a picture of them.

I pause for a moment.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, a light bulb appeared. One that said, “hey, this guy is trying to profit off of someone else’s work without their permission”. I tried to call him back and deny his job offer, telling him I was unsure of my skill. But he refused to hear me out, telling me that he was in no rush to get it done. So now I’m tied into this and have to find a way out.

I recently read an article on how underpaid those in the arts are. I read about how difficult it can be to negotiate the terms of work. I have been here for about a month and I think I am starting to understand…

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