Tag Archives: college

Congrats Grads, Here’s How to Make Your First Year Out Suck Less

I just finished my first full year out of college.

I graduated May 23, 2013, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I was beyond excited to get out of school and “start my life.” I naively thought that with a diploma in hand, I was ready for it all. Like a typical millennial cliché, I was very wrong.

Unlike a lot of my peers, I had a signed offer for a job over a month before I’d don my cap and gown. It was a job in my chosen field (publishing), with a decent salary, and conveniently right near Penn Station, so commuting from home on Long Island would be a breeze (or, at least, as much of a breeze as an hour and a half trip could be). So, I quit my beloved part-time job at Apple, took a deep breath and jumped headfirst into the workforce a mere week after graduation.

Not surprisingly, it was too good to be true and I was laid off within just a few months of starting. My boss cited “budget cuts” and I took the whole thing terribly. My shiny new life on the cusp of beginning suddenly became cracked, dull, and utterly terrifying. Since then, this past year has been a whirlwind and it’s one that has been filled with more things unexpected than expected. So, in light of all you new graduates accepting your diplomas and singing “SCHOOL’S OUT FOREVER!” at the top of your lungs, I give you a few nuggets of wisdom from my whole year in the wild. Grain of salt sold separately.

Save money. This either seems obvious or ridiculous to you, but it’s actually something I wish someone had ingrained harder into my brain before graduating. In college, “broke” meant you couldn’t go out one night or your meal of choice for the next week was a pack of hotdogs. In “real life,” being broke can mean defaulting on student loan payments, barely paying the minimum on credit cards, and having zero social life. Nest eggs are the difference between sinking or swimming. Download the Mint app — it’ll make saving a whole lot easier (I’m newly obsessed). Seriously, if you find yourself out of a job, a nest egg will keep your credit from being destroyed and food on the table. Also, it’ll save you the tail-between-your-legs chat with your parents.

Make like Chumbawamba: If you get knocked down, get up again. I failed miserably at this but you shouldn’t. I’ll give it to you straight: I was hugely depressed after losing my job. I was convinced that I was a failure, a feeling that was only exacerbated by the amount of interviews I went on while looking for a new job. I interviewed — yes, interviewed — with 19 different companies over a period of four months. My printer died from printing out so many copies of my resume. I was pounding pavement, chatting up HR employees all over the city and praying to whatever god that would listen that I’d find something. I wish that when I told myself, “It’s all going to work out,” that I genuinely believed it would. I cried night after night because I was convinced I was going to have to forfeit my dream of being an editor so I could pay the bills. In just one year out of college, I know I’ve gotten thicker skin. I gave myself a reality check: “DUDE, YOU’RE 22. CALM DOWN.” Do yourself the favor and don’t be afraid to fail. It’s definitely going to happen and it’s definitely going to get better.

Try harder in your friendships. The diaspora of friends as they leave the collegiate bubble is no joke. For your whole life, your friends have been easily accessible. They’ve been in the next room, across the hall, around the block. And then suddenly, after graduation, your best friends have detached themselves from your hip and moved to Cleveland (or, in my case, Boston. And Virginia. And Florida). It becomes very easy to let days turn into weeks without talking or checking in. Friends you once knew everything about become these people that you just sort of know. Seeing them and actually learning about their day-to-day activities takes serious effort. Put the work in for the friends that matter to you — set out time every week to talk to them. Have “Skype Session Sundays” and you’ll never be out of the loop. There’s nothing that feels more like a punch in the gut than finding out from Facebook that your best friend is engaged.

Work hard. This is a “mom” piece of advice but it’s definitely valid. Get to work on time, don’t drink every single night of the week (or do so in moderation…), stay positive, and fight for what you want. No one’s going to be a bigger advocate for you than yourself. If you want something, don’t be afraid to ask for it. And if you don’t get it? Well, perseverance goes a looooooong way.

Welcome to post-grad life, my friends, and here’s to a good first year out. Maybe yours won’t end over a pint of ice cream and “What’s My Age Again?” on replay but I can’t make any promises.

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Oyster

How did this happen? How did I become this twenty-one year old college graduate? Here I am, this pseudo-adult entering the real world equipped with nothing but a piece of paper and a mountain of debt. It seems so preposterous that this can be the scenario – that I am by social standards ready to be pushed from the nest and willed to fly. But perhaps, it’s not so preposterous that I’m here but rather, how I got here; this is what confounds my mind.

And I know. It’s horribly cliché to reflect on your “college years.” There’s been far too many Facebook status’, dramatic speeches, absurd photos, and Tweets from outside parties that have made this whole reminiscing process wildly redundant, annoying, and utterly nauseating. Yet, despite all of that, I still sit here with my head in my hands – trying to shake these sober spins – thinking of what these past four years really meant.

The seventeen-year old me would have never recognized this girl, (woman? Am I supposed to call myself that now?), that looks back at me through the mirror as I brush my teeth in the morning. And I know that that’s a great thing – change. But no one really prepares your seventeen year-old self for the changes you’ll undergo in college. And I think I love that there are no preparations because it forced me to jump into the lion’s den with no armor. Where high school is awkward, pubescent, and wildly dramatic in all the most humiliating ways, college is raw, emotional, and absolutely incredible in all the most I-want-to-be-young-forever ways.

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Lightening Strikes The Heart

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There are dozens of proverbs and worn-out clichés about how every person you cross paths with in this life – friends, lovers, one-night stands – is supposed to be there. The reasons why they are there are unknown. Are they to teach us a lesson? Are they to help us to grow? Or are they there simply to prove we aren’t alone? Whatever the reason, there are always those people that you come across that change your entire world, if only for a moment. They make you question everything you know or have known and in a flash, they’re gone. These people rattle your mind and leave you opening door after door in search of them but as ephemeral as a puff of smoke, they’re gone into the wind.

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Psychology 101: A Study of Minds Studying Abroad

One of the most fascinating things I’ve come across here, in the brief time since my arrival, is definitely the overall mind-set of my peers. When it comes to studying abroad, all previous or known social mores and conventions are thrown out the window. There are no more cat-and-mouse games, no more mincing of words, and certainly no more shyness. Anyone who knows me knows that this doesn’t differ at all from my current and constant disposition but it doesn’t make it any less shocking when all of a sudden every single person I meet is very outgoing and straddles the same inappropriate boundaries that I do.

It’s kind of amazing that because we’re all thrown into this little bubble of cultural confusion and European mayhem, we automatically want to cling to one another. At first I thought it was because the idea of a fellow American, a fellow outsider, created a sense of comfort; at second glance, I realized it was something greater. The knowledge, awareness, and mindfulness of how extremely short the time we have here is the very obvious elephant in every bar, church, and room. We have to cut out the timidness and the internal conflict and just get right to the point. To have several people come up to you in a single night, introducing themselves, with no agenda other than making a friend… it’s by far the most refreshing thing I’ve come to see in people my own age. And no, I’m not naive enough to think that sex and romance aren’t potential driving factors behind a lot of these interactions but it doesn’t make them any less interesting to behold or participate in because let’s be honest, that’s not a particularly bad thing anyway.

The fact is, things are expedited here in a way I could have never thought possible. My closest confidant, friend, partner-in-crime, dinner date, and roommate is someone I only met two weeks ago. I went on a date with a guy here after meeting him merely twenty-four hours prior. I can tell you what both the parents of my floor-mate do for a living. To me, these are experiences that are intimate and these are friendships that usually take a lot of time to cultivate yet they seem to rapidly appear with no rhyme or reason. But frankly, as much as I’m baffled by it all, I wouldn’t change any of it. Florence, keep on bringing the surprises.

Diary of an Intern

Once a week, I’m going to post an essay on a random topic; it may be fiction or non-fiction. This week, the essay is about a day in the life of a fashion intern.

                                                                                                                                       

Wake up at six thirty in the morning. Hop in the shower, excited for the day. Slip into your carefully crafted outfit that functions as both chic and comfortable; you want to be ready for anything but you want to look good doing it. Grab your Metrocard, head for the door, and arrive at your building at a little past eight. You get yourself some coffee and make your way to the elevators. The doors open on your floor and the day begins.

You venture into the office to find racks and racks of luxurious clothes crammed together while other interns and harried assistants run past you. Your jacket gets thrown haphazardly on the nearest desk chair, which is already stacked with look books waiting to be sorted. You trip over several pairs of Louboutins as you get sent back downstairs to get coffee for the editors. What are you doing, fixing your tights? They NEED their coffee NOW.

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