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!

 

 

 

 

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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