Alternatives to the 9-5 Sentence After Graduating

The idea of going to college for four years to emerge with the promise of a full-time job is a fading dream, vision and goal of today’s millennial’s.

Instead, as a community of confused post-grads, most are seeking alternatives that could last them two to three years before jumping into the black hole of 40 hour work weeks, regimented lifestyle, and most importantly, responsibility.

It’s true that (on paper) we have the rest of our lives to work, so why should we rush it? Of course there are other reasons to seek full-time employment other than just a pay check. It’s the more responsible choice for incentives such as a 401K, health benefits, paid-time off, resume building, establishing relationships, networking, etc. And for some people, this is exactly what they work toward during their time in college. For others, they want more time to do other things besides work, things that are fulfilling, memorable and meaningful. Although the people around them may not agree, like their parents, it’s important that everyone have the option to take a path other than the 9-5 sentence immediately following college graduation.

Traveling is a big alternative. In a way, the 12 years leading up to college graduation has prepared millennial’s for this. We spend a large portion of our education learning about all there is to see and do in this crazy world, it’s only right to seize the opportunity to actually experience some of it instead of just reading about it. In addition, if you’re like me and living at your parents, it’s also a good time to travel financially as you may not be paying rent yet.

Some may also incorporate more schooling into their travels by working towards a master’s degree or doctorate internationally, which is both productive and adventurous. Traveling can also bring perspective into your life and open up different opportunities that may not have existed otherwise.

Taking an internship instead a job right away is a common choice that I’ve been hearing about more and more from recent graduates. Sometimes it can also be necessary if you’re determined to enter a certain field. Whether it be paid or unpaid, sometimes you have to take this route, especially when your job search becomes discouraging.

Volunteering can be a common venture for some. Whether it be a week, month, or a year, there are so many different programs, both domestic and international, working with different organizations that are always looking for more hands. This is a good opportunity to gain some perspective as well as defer your loans while you figure out what it is you really wish to peruse. Also can’t hurt to add it to a resume…

Working a part-time job while working on job applications is something everyone should consider. If all you do is fix up cover letters, send out resumes and compulsively check your inbox in the hopes of getting an interview, you will drive yourself mad. Fill some of your time with a mindless job with people your own age, while also making some cash. The job search can be longer than expected, I can tell you that first hand, and I’m sure many would agree.

Going back to school is popular, whether it be to advance your degree in what you studied in undergrad, or, completely changing career paths and going back to study an entirely different subject. But, this leads to more debt (for most people) which is something I’m personally trying to avoid.

Or, if you went and got your given degree and never want to succumb to the 9-5 lifestyle, as many choose not to, that’s more than okay too. I think the most important choice you can make is just to choose what makes you happy even when others don’t always approve or agree with your decision.

There are also so many alternatives for people to ponder, these are just a handful of choices. If you have any other ideas, please comment below!

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

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Local Book Drive: Help Me Raise 600 Books for The Children of Philadelphia

Reading has always been a part of my life in some shape or form; whether it be for the use of education, research or leisure, it’s had a way of shaping my life. However, there is a lost generation of readers in today’s society.

I believe reading is fundamental for everyone, but primarily for children, adolescents and young adults. The society we live in is constantly progressing in the technology industry, and between social media and television, reading has taken a place on the back burner, but I’m one of many hoping to change that.

This spring, I am partnering with Tree House Books, a local non-profit organization whose “vision is to see that every child in Philadelphia has access to books and every opportunity to pursue their dreams. We are on a mission to grow and sustain a community of readers, writers, and thinkers.” 

Founded in 2005, Tree House Books classifies themselves as a Giving Library and Literacy Center in North Philadelphia with a dual purpose to provide free books to the community, and Out of School Time (OST) programs that increases literacy skills, and promote a lifelong love of reading and writing in children from their earliest moments, through high school, and beyond.

More specifically, I will be working within their Books in Every Home campaign which is on a mission to give deserving families in Philadelphia access to books who may not have otherwise. A statement on their website that I can fully support is that they understand that most of a child’s learning goes beyond a traditional school setting and the need to encourage and inspire reading in homes is crucial. However, these children are attending schools that do not have lending libraries or may be low-income households that cannot afford to purchase books to bring into the home. And that’s why I want to help achieve their goal of distributing 75,000 books in 2018 throughout the city, surpassing their total of 67,000 in 2017.

Reading was always so easily accessible to me either at home or school growing up. I love getting lost in the words of an author, living vicariously through characters, learning something new, expanding my imagination far past the words on the pages.

More than that, reading can have other long-term effects such as improving focus and concentration, enhancing memory, expanding imagination, healthier alternative for entertainment, language development, increase of knowledge, and long-term academic success.

 The 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reading test results demonstrate that far too many young people continue to read below grade level. Sixty five percent of all U.S. fourth graders scored “below proficient,” which means that they are not reading at grade level. Only 35 percent of fourth graders are reading at or above grade level. In addition, 64 percent of eighth graders are reading below grade level, whereas 36 percent are reading at or above grade level. Still, these statistics do show an improvement at both grade levels. In 1992, 72 percent of fourth graders and 71 percent of eighth graders were reading below grade level.  – U.S. Department of Education, “The Nation’s Report Card,” 2013.

For more staggering facts about he literacy rates in our nation, visit this site:

http://thencbla.org/literacy-resources/statistics/

This book drive is small step for me, however, it is one that can have a large impact on families throughout Philadelphia, but I need your help.

My goal is to collect 600 books to donate to Tree House Books within the next 6 weeks.

Tree House is specifically looking for all children’s books, classic literature used in schools, and African-American literature, but are accepting all books, with exception of encyclopedias, as they can find a home for every book, or they can keep them in their giving library in North Philadelphia.

Alternatively, if you do not have any books you wish donate, but still want to support the organization, you can make a donation on their website!

Contact me via this post, by email at keoughmeg1@gmail.com, or by phone if you have my number if you wish to donate some books or have any questions! You can also drop off locally at either Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote, PA or The Borough Brewhouse in Jenkintown, PA. I truly appreciate any and all donations in my effort to help bring literacy back!

*And don’t forget to celebrate World Book Day on April 23rd!*

 

 

 

 

101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties: What Am I Doing Now?

Long time supporter of Paul Angone’s writing and voice to those feeling lost in their twenties, I’m no less pleased with his latest release, 101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties!

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Sometimes we need to hear the harsh truth of reality when facing life’s continuous obstacles, sometimes we need to hear others share their real-life stories to be able to relate, and sometimes, we need to reflect on our own life to be able to better ourselves and increase our happiness and well-being, which is exactly what Paul’s new book provides.

If you’ve never read any of Paul’s previous publishing’s, I highly encourage you to do so, but if you have, you’ll know that his style of writing is relate able, humorous and helpful in times when we can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel.

101 Questions is an integrated guidebook for those in their twenties, an uphill battle that feels almost impossible to win at times. But as an advocate for the millennial generation, Paul poses questions that we’re all thinking in our heads, and some that we’ve never thought to ask but should.

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Whether you’re an avid reader or a read a book once a year kind of person, this book suits you. Even more, it seems to be targeted for those in their twenties, but Angone also makes a note that this book can be beneficial for those of you in your thirties and beyond as well. The lay out and design of this book make it super easy to read fairly quickly but also provides the opportunity to just read specific chapters if you wish, as you don’t necessarily need to read every chapter to be able to get to the end. ( You should read every chapter though because they’re all super insightful!) This set up is similar to his first book that was published, 101 Secrets for Your Twenties, which is when I first found hope for my post-grad life through Paul’s voice and writing.

In the opening introduction, there’s a statement that resonates so well with me, it’s uncanny; and for those of you who have followed me along on this blog, I’m sure you can feel the same. Paul writes in relation to the plunge after college graduation, “I felt confused, afraid, and alone-those visions of making a difference while making a lot of money quickly changing into just making it through another day. In these dark halls, I’d occasionally bump into other twenty-somethings, clearly as confused as me and muttering, I don’t belong here.

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Paul’s vision of what he imagined life after college to look like is probably similar to what all emerging graduates expect. But the harsh reality is that 9 times out of 10, it’s not and it’s up to us to work hard, persevere and have faith that things will work out.

I think that Paul’s approach in this book to stimulate us to reflect and questions ourselves as a way to achieve a fulfilled life and overcome obstacles is genius. Although his other books provided great insight and advice on adulthood, this one focuses more on who we are on a more personal level and what we can do to change.

The questions are categorized into four sections throughout the book which include:

  • Adulting to win: Thriving in the big picture and small details of adulthood.
  • Careerish: How to build a career that is meaningful (while making you money).
  • Relationshipping: Dating, marriage, networking, friendship, mentoring, oh my!
  • Signature Sauce: Uncovering where your passion, purpose, and calling collide.

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With all of that being said, some of my favorite questions from his new release that really got me thinking have been dispersed through picture within this review.

I encourage you all to read this book, use this book, and recommend this book because the community of confused millennial’s, lost post-grads, and worried adults is larger than we can even begin to know. But being a part of, or having a sense of community along this bumpy journey is something that everyone could use whether they realize it or not.

Below, I have provided various links to which you can purchase this book. Please share any and all content relating to the book whether it be this review, someone else’s review, posting pictures of your book, or even writing your own review!

** If you order from Moody Publishers use the coupon code: Questions40 to receive 40%off PLUS free shipping on orders of $25 or more.**

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, I can’t wait for another book of thoughts from Paul Angone!

Moody Publishers

Target

Barnes and Noble

 

The Pros and Cons of A Snow Day

First day of spring and a snow day! Well, who doesn’t love paid-time off? I sure as hell do. However, that’s not the case for every employed person; some still have to work, or work from home, or some don’t make money for that day, or they may eventually have to make this day up. Here’s a list of my opinions on snow days sorted by the pros and cons!

PROS: 

-In the likelihood that you don’t have to work from home on your snow day and get a free day off, then this has to be the biggest pro! It’s like a vacation day to do absolutely nothing.

-Even if you do have to work from home, at least you can do it in the comfort of your pajamas and bed. The bright side is you’re still getting paid and don’t have to leave your home.

-Food & drinks. You can day load with friends or family, either at home or at a local bar, make a ton of food that tastes so good but is so bad for you at the same time, or a combination of both.

-This makes the week go by so much faster! Returning to work tomorrow with only 2 more days until the weekend is a godsend.

-Relax, relax, relax. Snow days for me are the least stressful days. I can catch up on some shows, do some online shopping, nap, read, etc. I have no one to entertain and I don’t have to feel guilty about laying around in my pajamas from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed.

-Not have to deal with your co-workers for 24 hours. I think we can all be thankful for this.

CONS:

-Not having a snow day. Commuting to and from work in this weather has to be incredibly frustrating and slow moving. Hopefully most companies can sympathize with this or at least let you out early! Obviously if you work in a health professionals field or public safety, you probably have to go regardless, but hopefully the day is pretty easy.

-Not having a free day off from work is unfortunate in this case. I remember in my last full-time position, the owner closed the company for the day but we weren’t eligible to work from home and he wasn’t willing to pay us for the day unless we made up by staying an hour late for the eight days following. Which was pretty much bullshit since it wasn’t our decision not to come to work.

-In another case, some people do have the availability to work from home, which I’ve never done, so I can’t say what it’s like, but it’s definitely still a bummer having to work from home even if you are getting paid.

-If you’re in the same position as me and still living at home, snow days can be somewhat boring if you are looking to drink and get drunk. The only two drinking partners I have under the same roof are mom and dad which isn’t too appealing. Snow days in college were 10000x better.

-You could be living alone which I can imagine would be pretty boring.

-If you’re a teacher, all of these snow days are most likely getting added on to the end of the year which I’m sure isn’t ideal as your summer is repeatedly becoming delayed.

-Shoveling. Can’t say I’m a victim to this labor, but most of my guy friends are so I sympathize.

Whatever you’re doing on your snow day today, if you were lucky enough to have one, stay warm & try to make the most of it, because it’s back to work tomorrow!

 

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.

 

The Random Things That Make My Weeks More Exciting

When working in a structured 9-5 schedule day in and day out, sometimes the days can become mundane and repetitive, almost like a merry-go-round. Aside from the weekends, you most likely do the same thing everyday from the time you wake up until the time it’s time to recharge your batteries again. For me, I typically come home from work and either do laundry, clean, occasionally go to the gym, and by occasionally I mean never, read, blog, watch TV, etc. Nothing too crazy.

But, sometimes during the week, there are small things I tend to get excited about and that’s what I want to write about today. It’s a snow day here in Philly and I have nothing but time on my hands, so here it goes.

1. Giveaways & Promos

In the blogging community, whether you’re a part of a structured organization of bloggers, or you just have your own community through your growing following, you often stumble across really cool deals, opportunities and promos.

Yesterday,  one of the blogs I follow along had a promo code up for a free trial for Rocksbox.com which I had never heard of but it’s similar to Ipsy and Birchbox but for jewelry! So, I’m waiting for my free package in the mail now, I’ll let you guys know how it goes! I’m also going to try and snag a free code for you guys too!

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2. Book launch team for one of your favorite authors? Say no more

This could have happened with or without my blog advantages, but I’m super excited about this. Paul Angone, author of 101 Secrets for your Twenties and All Groan Up, which I have featured on my blog previously, is releasing a new book in April titled 101 Questions for Your Twenties.

I was selected to be a apart of this book launch team along with 200 other fans and readers as we are awaiting our free copy in the mail! After reading, we will review the book on various platforms such as Amazon and Google reads as well as share on our social media. I will definitely putting s full in-depth review up on my site for everyone!

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3. Finding a face mask that actually works at a very reasonable price

I’ve been shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond for any and all toiletries, as well  as make-up recently, because their prices are so low for the same products I would typically buy at Target for full-price. Not to mention, they ALWAYS have coupons either for $5 of $15 or 20%off your order.

The winter has not been great for my skin so I’ve been on the hunt for a weekly face mask to help and I have finally found a winner! In addition to the mask, the face wash I bought has been a god send too. Both are photographed below!

4. Who doesn’t love free iced-coffee?

I’ll admit, everything about the Dunkin’ Donuts app is irritating anymore, but sometimes, it’s worth the hassle.

I’ve been receiving free beverages based on a point system, I received a free one for my birthday, and using the On-the-Go Mobile Ordering on the days off Flyers or Sixers games is worth it for $1 medium iced-coffees!

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So, maybe try the app again and save yourself some money. Those iced-coffees really do add up.

5. Snow day: no work and all pay

As I said before, it was a snow day in Philly. Yesterday was my birthday so I was able to go out and celebrate last night without worrying about setting an alarm for this morning. And the best part? It’s a paid day off & it might even be happening again tomorrow!

 

Cheers!

 

Advice From Abroad: Travel, Travel, Travel!

As I’ve commented before, everyone’s life after college is going to look different as there are a plethora of lifestyles to live. While surveying different people on their post-grad life, I’ve been choosing people strategically to sharpen these differences and bring into focus why it’s so important to remember that everyone’s path is different after getting that diploma.

“I think that there is a general expectation, or maybe hope, that after you graduate college, you will have it all figured out.  For some, that may be true, but it certainly was not for me.  I knew where I wanted to be, but I had no idea how to get there.  I still feel that way.  There is a lot of undue pressure put on new college graduates.  As obvious as this may sound, you figure it out as you go and that is more than okay.” – Kate, Graduate Student in Edinburgh, Scotland.  

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Initially I was curious how she ended up in Scotland, as she is native to Philadelphia, so she gave me a brief background on what she did right after graduation from La Salle University. “I went on a service trip through La Salle to Kenya for three weeks, where I was inspired to fully pursue the course of study I am presently undertaking (international relations).  I continued to work at the Independence Visitor Center in Center City, Philadelphia where I worked for three years throughout college.  During that gap year, I applied to graduate schools throughout the UK.  I traveled with my mother to Belfast and Edinburgh to visit the two prospective schools I was torn between but now, here I am in Edinburgh!”

So basically, travel is in Kate’s blood and she wants to urge recent graduates to consider their traveling options now while they have the chance. “Please travel! It may be the first instance where you have a large amount of time to do so. There is no better way to connect with other people in this world and yourself.  I can promise you that you will never regret the money spent on making memories while traveling.”

Any transition, small or large, is going to be challenging so I asked her what her what her expectations were for post-grad life upon graduation and Kate commented that, “I knew it would be hard to transition from being a student for 16+ years to not being a student.  However, no one quite prepares you for that first August/September when you are not back in a classroom.  Personally, that was a tough adjustment because being a student was something I felt I was good at.  I had to figure out who I was without the “student” label.  A year out of school can feel like an eternity and adjusting back into being a student can feel just as strange, especially in a foreign academic system.  I still haven’t quite found the academic rhythm I used to have, and I am not sure I will.  However, I sure am having a lot more fun than I did throughout my undergraduate years and that sure is the best surprise!  I’ll take the memories made with awesome people over top marks any day and that has been the best realization I’ve come to in my post-grad years.”

Which I then followed up by asking what she found to be recurring frustrations surrounding her life right now which she answered, “This is probably a cliché answer, but I would have to say the uncertainty of what to do next.  I think at least once a day about how I am spending a lot of money on a fancy piece of paper that is a master’s degree to not be sure of whether or not I will be able to use the knowledge and skills I hope I am acquiring in the professional world.  That is a risk all students take who are pursuing higher education. You have to factor reality into your goals and sometimes that can be quite discouraging.” 

There is definitely something daunting about her last statement, but it definitely holds a lot of truth. However, hearing other people voice the same thoughts that I have in my head makes it somewhat less discouraging because it brings me to the realization that there is this whole community of twenty-somethings facing the same confusion and questions, and that makes post-grad life a little less extreme.

Although Kate stressed multiple times in her survey that she loves everything that is embodying her life right now, as humans, we still face obstacles. Kate added that, “The biggest obstacle I feel I faced and continue to face is myself and the own pressures I put on myself.  I have fallen into episodes of “Imposter Syndrome” where I did not give myself credit where credit was due.  My first postgraduate semester at the University of Edinburgh was a bit tough because of this.  It took me a while to feel that I deserved to be among my peers.  I wouldn’t say that I would do anything differently, but I wish I would not have psyched myself out so much and accepted that moving at your own pace or feeling like a rookie in new situations is perfectly fine.”

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It was interesting to see this answer come up because in the previous survey I conducted from a grad school student, their answer was pretty similar.

In addition to her advice on travel, Kate also encourages college graduates to keep in touch with former professors.

“After graduating, keep in touch with professors who have had a positive impact on your academic experience during your undergraduate education.  They will love to know what you are up to and love it even more if they knew how they have inspired you.  You will need them later as well if you intend to pursue postgraduate education and they will most likely be more than happy to help.”

Kate’s life in Edinburgh is a life that one should admire. Seeing all of her pictures from traveling to different countries throughout Europe makes me jealous but also so proud of her for having the courage to do something most cannot, which is moving out of your comfort zone and finding a home away from home on your own.

I asked Kate to leave me with some quotes she lives by and this one seems fitting.

“You’re looking at a middle-class guy. I am who I am.” – former Vice President, Joe Biden.

“I am proud of where I come from and the family I come from.  There is nothing I love more in this world than my family, friends who are family, and the city of Philadelphia.  I am a firm believer in the importance of remaining true to yourself and your roots.”

Cheers!