23 (Odd) Questions Asked By A College Grad

Researching new conversation topics surrounding life after college, I came across this article form The Odyssey Online which was published in 2015, that adheres to some questions we find ourselves asking after graduation.

However, there were a lot on here that seemed unnecessary and easily answered with the help of a search engine. Not judging… This list gave me more of a laugh than anything, but some questions are valid.

I’ve listed the 23 questions the author posed and provide my own answers and comments separate from theirs.

1) How do I fill out a FAFSA? If you grew up in the last decade surrounded by social media and technology, you’re a part of a digital age and probably college educated, you can teach yourself.

2) How long is it socially acceptable to continue to use my parents’ Netflix account? If you’re still living at home, or even not, use the shit out of that account. I can’t imagine your parents charging you for Netflix rights and usage.

*The fact that this was your second concern is somewhat alarming.*

3) How do I file taxes? Turbo Tax makes this easy! Step by Step instructions are included in your purchase.

4) What is a tax deductible? Should I be saving every single receipt? For me, this term is like one of those words that you know what it means but can’t put into words how to define it or describe it. So, turn to Google please. Also, I don’t think you should be saving every single receipt. You’re not going input every single receipt for your $3.49 coffee you get every single morning.

5) Do I have to get my own phone plan once I graduate? This all really depends on how your parents want to handle it. They can either kick you off their plan or allow you to continue to be on theirs and write them a monthly check for your share, which is what I do.

6) How exactly do I pay back my loans? There is no right answer here, you just have to pay them.

7) How early do people start getting job offers? Depends on your field of study, what type of job you’re trying to get, how early you start applying, etc. Some people get offers before they even graduate and others, like myself, don’t get one until one and a half years after graduating.

8) How early is too early to accept a job? If I’m still interviewing with other places, how long is it acceptable to leave the other person hanging while I decide? Typically, if a company offers you a position, there will be a time limit for your acceptance or rejection. But if you’re still in undergrad and already getting an offer, you should probably take it.

9) If I move to another state, how do I search for housing? Or find roommates? Is it weird to live alone? The internet is your friend, take advantage. 

10) Is it weird to live near campus if I stay here? I still will have a lot of friends on campus, but I don’t want to be the creepy alum who can’t just leave. There are people over the age of 25 still living on campus and working towards a Bachelor’s degree, I promise that you won’t be the weird one.

11) How expensive are regular season tickets compared to student season tickets for sports games? Can I still purchase student tickets and just stand in the back? Sporting events was never a concern of mine, but I’m sure the price difference isn’t too steep unless you went to a college with one of the best teams in the league. 

12) Is it acceptable to still use my student ID to get discounts places? I’ll still be a poor *post-grad* college student paying back loans. Yes, yes, yes, yes. 100 times, yes. Use that ID for any and all types of discounts until someone calls you out for it.

13) Do normal adults go out after work for happy hour a lot, or it is just a Friday thing? Do you go with co-workers or does this violate some sort of rule? Happy hour can be any night of the week you want (or need), sometimes it might be an every night thing depending on the type of company you work for. Most likely you will go with co-workers, it’s easier to get to know them in this setting rather than sitting in awkward silence in the break room.

14) Do I have to wear dress pants at work when it’s business professional or is it okay if I wear dresses and skirts that are professional? I think you answered the question yourself. As long as it’s professional and pretty conservative, not inappropriate, wear whatever you feel is acceptable.

15) What do post-grad people do with their free time/weekends? I mean, you work from 9-5, but then what? You don’t have homework or anything to do. What do do with your free time while now? You go out and do stuff with your friends and/or family, you probably have hobbies and watch TV. There’s a lot you can do with your free-time. This doesn’t change much in your transition from college to post grad.

16) How expensive are gym memberships/personal trainers? Really? Moving on.

17) If you’re moving to a new place, how do you make new friends/date outside of work? I still live in the same city I’ve lived my entire life so I’ve never had this issue, but I can imagine you do things like dating apps, join clubs or work out classes, etc. Here’s an article to help with that:  https://post-gradlife.com/2017/06/07/making-new-friends/

18) Also, if you move to a new place, how do you figure out all the fun places to go? What if you work with old/lame people? Do you go out alone and attempt to make friends there or what? Yelp is probably pretty helpful with this. Social media probably has a lot of insights. And also this is question is kind of the same as the last.

19) Where can you get cheap kitchenware? Look for deals. Walmart will probably be your best bet though because of those roll back prices!

20) What’s the best way to find a new dentist or doctor? Ask friends or people in your community, read up on reviews posted online, call your insurance provider, etc.

21) Is it bad to take vacation time during spring break season and go on a spring break with my friends? That’s what spring break is for!

22) What is the best way to build credit? If you’ve already taken out nay type of loan or you use any type of credit card, you’re already building credit. Some additional ways would be financing or leasing a car, taking out another loan, etc.

23) What do I claim on an I-9? How do I fill out a W-2? How much do I have to pay in taxes? Both of these forms are pretty self explanatory once in front of you, but if you’re still sure, ask HR while filling these out. As for taxes, you won’t know how much you have to pay until you know how much you’re making, and more realistically, until you see your first pay check.

If you’re a graduating senior and have more questions in your head, more realistic questions, please feel free to comment below!

Cheers.

 

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College Life to Mom Life

I remember being so jealous of Maureen’s life in Los Angeles, it was the definition of living vicariously through someone.

She was studying at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (where LC went for any Hills fans), living in an apartment building with a roof top pool, meeting celebrities like Mariah Carey, partying at high end clubs, and working in fashion day in and day out. She was living out my sixteen year old dreams that were based off of Lauren Conrad, and as her best friend, I couldn’t have been more happy.

 

During college, as well as after she moved home too, Maureen was presented with various experiences, tribulations and opportunities. Although our undergrad years were drastically different, post grad life hit us like a brick wall.

‘What now?’

That haunting question that keeps you up at night, the one that is impossible to silence, struck Maureen upon moving home to Philly.

While reflecting back on what her initial expectations were for life after college, she notes that she thought it consisted of “freedom, partying and doing whatever you want, which does happen during a short window of time, but reality hits when you’re back living with your parents, loans kick in and you’re basically forced to find a full-time job. You have to grow up really quick.”

Stress is something that is inevitable for all of us, and Maureen often finds herself stressing over is being too hard on herself even when she realizes she shouldn’t be. On a more professional level, she stresses about not being in complete control which is why she hopes to one day be her own boss.

And speaking of stress, she advises all soon-to-be grads, to NOT stress and cherish the last moments of college life and have fun. “Whatever you’re stressing about will eventually be over with sooner or later. Don’t worry about getting your dream job right away. Do what works for the time being and the right job will come at the right time.”

So now three years out of college, Maureen has not only found the right job, she found her dream job: becoming a mom, which she comments is both the toughest and most rewarding job in the world.

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When talking about parenthood, I asked Maureen if she felt that others view her only as a mom now and no other role, and she responded by saying, “Yes and no. I think more so yes for those who don’t know me very well. I think people innocently assume that moms are just moms because they might not know any better. They assume that your life only consists of your child, which is pretty accurate because your child will always be your whole life, but they have no idea what you do outside of your kids. Some are so quick to assume that moms do nothing but be moms. I think being a young mom makes it harder for people not to judge me. Age is just a number, your actions show the kind of mother you are. I defy this stereotype by just being myself. I still do the things I want to when I can and it works. My boyfriend and I are truly an amazing team. Without someone by your side who truly loves you, parenting would be a completely different ball game.”

I admire and respect Maureen for balancing everything she does. While living in New York she had the opportunity to work for Armani, now she works at a high-end bridal boutique in Philadelphia which she comments on and says, “it’s a different side of the industry that I never saw myself falling into but I enjoy being able to be a part of a girls big day and helping them feel their best, it’s a rewarding job.”

On top of working and being a mom, I don’t know how she balances it all but she does and hats off to her for it. I can barely balance my life and I have significantly less responsibilities! Addmittedly, Maureen finds herself frustrated sometimes that she isn’t able to work out as much she would like to and not always being able to follow through on personal goals.But I know that when the weather is nice, she loves walking as much a possible with her daughter, Ava!

As I said in the beginning of this post, I was so obsessed with Maureen’s life while she was living in L.A. and I can confidently say I’m obsessed with her life now too. She has found something some people never find: true love. Not just with her boyfriend but in her daughter, too.

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The future is never clear, and sometimes it presents obstacles, but it can also present opportunities.

Post grad life for Maureen is going pretty well, I’d say. She has a job she’s passionate about, a supporting family, and the most beautiful daughter who is so full of life and love, it’s hard not to be jealous.

I want to finish by including some words of advice from Maureen that seem to be a similar response for those doing these posts. Every response I’ve gotten holds the central theme I’ve created for this blog.

“Be yourself and never doubt it. If you are still figuring yourself out that is okay too. Embrace it, it is okay to not always know the answers to everything or how you feel about everything. Whatever you do, do not let others mold you. You will get lost. Stop caring about what other people think.  People are always going to talk no matter what, thinking about it solves nothing. Do you and don’t look back!! You’ll be happy when your older and can say I didn’t give a shit what people thought of me!  Lastly, as cliche as it sounds, follow your heart. So many people our age feel obligated to get that big job or buy a car or even a house. Do what feels right. You might find a job you love that has absolutely nothing to do with what you went to school for. Does it make you happy? If it does, then that’s all that matters. Life really is simple if you take a step back sometimes. Don’t get caught up in the drama of what you think you should do, do what you WANT to do!’
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Side Hustles: Why You Should Have One

I first heard the term ‘side hustle’ while reading Ann Shoket’s millennial guiding book, The Big Life  , and it’s a term that has stuck with me since then. Typically, a side hustle is a way of earning extra cash outside of your primary income, which I think is great and incredibly smart and responsible especially for those of us in our early stages of adulthood without the responsibility of kids or running a household. However, Shoket has her own terms and conditions surrounding this term that seems to be on the rise.

Get a Side-Hustle. The idea that one job can be your everything feels so dated, doesn’t it? Sometimes you need a day job that pays the bills or gives you security, even if it doesn’t feed your soul. That’s when you need a side-hustle—a project you work on to put yourself in charge or build new skills in your career. This is how you pay yourself in self-respect.”

I think the idea of this is incredibly inspiring, especially in today’s society, and urge all of you to give this some serious consideration.

I, myself, do have an actual side hustle in it’s truest form, a second job at a local restaurant and brewery, that provides me extra cash outside of my bi-weekly paycheck from my 9-5. Which is awesome considering the loans that need to be paid off, the monthly bills, attempting to lease a car, and all other expenses life has to drown us in.

Even though that side hustle was intended for its primary purpose, it’s turned into much more than that because I genuinely like what I do when I go there and I’ve also made so many new friendships.

So, if you’re contemplating finding your side hustle but hesitant because you might just feel like it will make you more miserable than your existing job while also taking time away from leisure activities, find something that works for you; try different roles out, or, best case scenario, find a way to make money off of something you already love doing.

This recommendation brings me to my next point of my other side hustle, the one not entirely intended for extra cash.

I started this blog about 18 months ago and I’ve watched it progressively grow which has been super rewarding in regards to many aspects. In contrast to my side hustle that compensates my bank account, maintaining this website compensates areas of my life that lack substance. It helps me improve my writing skills, enhances my time management and organization, provides insights into social media and sharing, and pays me in self-respect. This website is minimally profitable, but with more views I get, the more money I potentially earn. 

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I’ve read that other people’s side hustles often include playing music in clubs, dog walking, organizing book clubs, life coaching, and blogging, among other things.

Sometimes our jobs, especially early on in our career can leave us feeling undervalued, bored and passionless. Finding a side hustle can help with all of that.

We all have hobbies, so why not find a way to turn the things you’re passionate about into profit or productivity? And even if that’s not possible, it’s nice to work at things that make you feel good, inspire you and reward you in different ways.

If you do have an existing side hustle, comment below, I’m interested to hear different answers! Cheers!

 

What You Want to Do Vs. What You Should Do: The Noise of Life

“Noise” is defined is defined by the dictionary as “a sound, especially one that is loud or unpleasant or that causes disturbance”. Life noise, however, has a different connotation in regards to many aspects.

Throughout life, there can be different forms of noise day to day. This noise is a distraction for many people when focusing on what makes them happy. Too many are focused on what makes others happy instead. Anyway you swing it, sacrifices are made for people we love and care about, but that’s part of any relationship. However, making life decisions and being indecisive because you don’t want to hurt others feelings is in turn constantly hurting the individual. It’s difficult to distinguish between looking out for those you love and looking out for yourself. The hardest part is that there is no right answer; the answer is within each person’s way of living life.

People, places and things create a lot of noise in life. Personal appearance in social situations is one of those noises. What is there to do tonight? Who is going to hang out with me? I’ve had this outfit since high school and still wear it, does it matter? My makeup isn’t the newest addition of naked (or any type of naked for that matter), will they notice? There is such a stress on the way people look in social situations, it’s crazy. Everyone is judged on how they look, whether it’s a positive or negative judgement. Stressful, unnecessary noise. The way anyone presents themselves is individualized and is important to be left that way. The way someone dresses or looks does not need to change the way that person is perceived. Too many focus on external characteristics instead of truly getting to know people for who they are internally. Next time you meet somebody new, try talking to them with more decency. Even if you are already with friends, invite someone new in; find out who they are.

Another noise ringing constantly is about the way life is “supposed” to be like?

1. You should have a steady job by the age of 23.
2. You should be looking to date someone long term so you can have a family by age 30.
3. You should have a budget and be saving your money to buy a house, not spending so much of it.
4. But then there’s also: enjoy life while you’re young, you can save money later.

The word SHOULD is thrown around way too often. Life isn’t about right and wrong. The real question “should” be, what do YOU want your life to be like RIGHT NOW? Do we have to stress so much about the future? Who cares what’s going to happen in a year, or ten years. Why is it so frowned upon to just live for now and make good decisions based upon the way everyone wants them to be made? Because, in the end, life is about embracing feelings of the individual and who better to make decisions than the individual who is actually living that life? It’s up to them, not the rest of the world and the way things have been set into a precedent by our parents’ generation.

The loudest noise, in my opinion (because this is what I constantly feel), has become: will I upset “so and so” if I decide to do this? After all, it is what I want to do, isn’t it? But repeatedly I notice thoughts like, “but they don’t want to do that (or they disagree) so I should change my mind to make them happy”. It’s a way of unintentional perfectionism that I’m noticing is taking over these decisions. Perfectionism can be dangerous. I won’t tell them certain things because I feel they won’t agree/will judge me. And don’t get me wrong, I have learned that boundaries are very necessary to have. However, if you’re talking to someone, you shouldn’t feel like you must discount your feelings because you feel the other person will get upset or disagree with you. Avoiding upsetting others is close to impossible, so what’s the point of risking your own happiness to stress about others’ happiness when we cannot control that? I believe that everyone has a bit of perfectionist qualities; it’s important to not let them run your life.

Venting is something everyone needs, so it’s important to find a few people you can tell many things to without feeling judged. Sometimes it’s good to have those people to discuss different things with: one person for work situations, one for relationships, one for advice about friends, etc. Extra people means extra noise and that noise makes people second guess. For me, I find myself asking people, what would you do? Or what do you think? When in reality, does it matter? No. It’s more noise, it’s more unnecessary opinions, and it makes me feel like there is a right and wrong in every situation. Noise while making decisions really gets in the way and hinders the way people live their lives. Living a life this way is utterly exhausting and stressful, and for what? Live YOUR life the way YOU want to. Make your own decisions.

I’ll go a little bit in a different direction to finish. I truly believe the things I discussed and really am working on all of that for myself in my own life. However, there is another side as well. Most of us have people we are close to whether that be friends, family, significant others, or more than one. As much as it is important to live the way I have described above, it’s also just as important to make time and do things with those who mean so much. So sometimes, sacrifices should be made. And that’s okay, it’s part of life as well. Don’t want to go to a family reunion? Doesn’t matter, that’s something that is important. You’re not just attending to make others happy, but to spend time with those you love. And most importantly to enjoy it, because you truly don’t know how often you’ll get to do those things. That goes for friends and significant others as well. Sacrifices are always made in any type of relationship. Something may sound “better” or more fun than going to something “obligatory”. But that’s just the thing, it doesn’t always have to feel like an obligation, if these people are important to you, you will want to go. This is just as important to consider.

Life has so much noise in it, it is exhausting. But at the end of the day, the importance is to not get so caught up in all of it. Living your life and doing things that make you happy are so crucial. As well as making time for others. As the “entitled” generation, it’s important to have a balance between these things, which is extremely difficult but totally doable. Extra stress about decision making isn’t worth it. Simply, think, what do I WANT to do? Instead of what SHOULD I do? You may “hurt” people in the process or maybe they won’t agree with you, but that’s the noise we need eliminate from our minds. It takes a conscious effort to think in this way, and it’s challenging. But it could truly make a happier, more enjoyable life for years to come.

 

Finding Your Identity

One thing that I think about often, is people who struggle with transition out of college and finding out who they really are. Let’s be honest, the four, sometimes more, years you spend in college do not shape you as an individual. They basically equip you with time management and social skills, if you’re lucky. So it can be eye opening to join the real world and not have any idea the type of person you want to be. Do you want to make as much money as possible? Do you want to help as many people as possible? Do you want to develop certain relationships with some more than others? Who do you want to be and what legacy do you want to leave?

Let’s slow down a little.

Just know that you don’t have to have the answers to any of these questions and most of us won’t know for quite some time. I still struggle with having sociopathic tendencies on a weekly basis. A lot of my free time is still spent wondering why I was such a dick in certain situations and why I have little to no filter. BUT I work at it every single day and compared to college where I was a full blown sociopath who didn’t care about anyone but me, I’ve come a long way. And that’s what it’s all about post-grad. Developing yourself little by little consistently every day until you look back, and after a year you’re able to think “Wow look how far I’ve come when I thought I was making no progress at all.”

It’s also important to understand that a lot of people will always see you as the person you were in college and their image of you may never change. It’s something that you have to accept and dismiss. If you live everyday with the drive to be better off today than you were yesterday, then there is nothing that can stop you because the only person you’re competing with is yourself. Don’t compare your jobs, don’t look down at others jobs and don’t put yourself down about your own job. Most people hate their first job right out of school and the “real world” is not like it’s made out to be where it all happens at once right after graduation. Some people will hit their stride out of the gates and others won’t hit it for a while. So live on the grind, compete against yourself and give positive enforcement to your friends. Some people will shit on your dream, or your job, or your decision to take a year off or whatever it is, but that’s because your vision isn’t theirs. You’re seeing everything through a different lens than everyone around you.

Just because you’re trying to find yourself and get control of the reigns doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Go out on the weekends- you can still even drink on Sundays, you’ll be surprised at how many people do. Go on trips- you have a steady income now and are able to do what you love. I love to write, so this is how I’m spending my Thirsty Thursday writing and watching the Yankees. Just have fun with it, whatever it is you do.

“Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in 1 year and underestimate what they can accomplish in 3.”