Less of a Post-Grad and More of a Pro

Pardon my leave of absence, I recently accepted a full-time job in DC! No big deal.

No, this is not a drofferill. It took a summer of post-grad heartache, relentless research, tiresome searches and waiting tables to get here. And, in all honesty, it wasn’t a pretty process. All I ever dreamed about was getting here, and now it’s here.

Let’s get one thing straight –  I started this blog as a way to prove to post-grads that there are necessary steps in this transition of life; you don’t just wear a tassle, plan a party and write thank you cards. But how would you know that? That’s all I ever wrote about. There were painful layers, like psychological effects to changes, and preparing for even bigger ones, that left me stumped.

So, here’s how I did it – I lived and breathed LinkedIn jobs – which you should too. Get searching!

I also drove myself crazy. You shouldn’t do that. Stay motivated, resilient and relentless towards searching, don’t settle and take up an extra hobby (yoga was my saving grace.)

All in all, I can’t imagine anything more life consuming than working for something that you want so badly while dealing with MAJOR change. I’m here, I understand. And there’s hope.

Defining Decade

“Here’s an idea worth spreading to every twenty-something that I know, thirty is NOT the new twenty.” Meg Jay

There have been countless times where I felt that my senior year in college contained SO many lasts, and not a whole lot of firsts. When you have the mentality that things are ending, rather than beginning, it starts to become more of a throw-away decade than a defining one.

For instance, I thought that the end of college meant the end of all of the fun I could possibly have. As a 22-year-old, that’s almost morbid. What would I do on a Saturday that wasn’t dedicated to a football game? I’ll never get to dress up as a catholic school nun at my sorority’s back-to-school bash social again!  Therefore, I thought in order for me to extend the small amount of time I had left for fun, I should use my time on trivial things that didn’t really do anything for me.

Meg Jay completely realizes this trend in twenty-somethings and discusses how to invest in your own personal capital during this defining decade. She references a great quote that is a major takeaway for the speech: “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.” 

Check it out!

Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20

 

Let’s get real

I’ll admit it. After a month of hiatus from my blog, I felt like I also took a hiatus from life. Among several unforeseen pressures and costs, it wasn’t the glamorous transition that I wanted it to be.

I almost expected the beginning of post-grad life to be a time of reflection. While vicariously watching my friends take Euro trips, make big moves to different grad schools and even accept job offers, I felt like maybe my reflection needed to be less thinking and more doing.

So I did. I got a part-time job, well two. As humbling as working part-time is after interning for prestigious companies, I started to lose track of what I wanted. I wanted to make money, of course, and start to save. But what I wanted most was to start applying. I caught myself sacrificing time meant for research and applying by working extra hours to save for money that I ended up having to spend anyways.

And then came the pressure. Since I was falling behind on my top priority, I became a product of my own disaster. Which can be a relatable feeling, since 44% of millennials feel irritability or anger as a result of stress.

After feeling like I sacrificed my priorities, I started to feel like I was sacrificing myself. The added stress compromised my moods and made me hate my part-time jobs, which made working and time management even less enjoyable.

My report after a mountain of a month with unimportant priorities at the peak rather than the base? Keep what’s on top, ON TOP.

This, especially, includes YOU! Make sure that your well-being and stress management isn’t stressed.

Check out this infographic on my Pinterest board, you will find that millennials may value the importance of work and job searching, but they should always come first.

You don’t have to live in a cabin to get the fever

At first the idea of no longer having a jam-packed schedule with 12 hour days was revolutionary. Now, it’s more of a cruel curse than a blessing.

It’s been nearly a month of my post grad life and I have Bravo, Lifetime movies and the beach to thank for my sources of entertainment. Although I’m more bronze and better researched on all of the Real Housewives shows, I can’t help but become a little stir crazy.

How do post grads deal with such cabin fever? Here is a list of ways to dedicate your time:

  • An obvious must; job search! Dedicate a large chunk of your time every day to research postings and use my blogroll as a source to find listings (I dedicate at least two hours every day to the relentless hunt)
  • Improve your resume and cater different cover letters to different job listings
  • Attend networking events; PRSSA has great events for members
  • Volunteer! I have such a heart for non-profits and hope to work for one in my career. Volunteer Match is a great source to research opportunities that include your interests.
  • Get a part-time job! During college I was a swim instructor and still have the opportunity to pick up shifts. I also got another part-time job hostessing at a local restaurant- your savings account will thank you later.
  • Schedule meetings with mentors and grab lunch with prior colleagues. Remember that being intentional and maintaining your network is a professional must and is super accessible now with a free schedule!

Grad party mannerisms on a budget

gradgift2It’s safe to say that I have been able to skip grocery shopping this week after attending several grad parties filled with feasts bigger than any holiday dinner! However, as post grad, I should know better not to enter a party the same way that I enjoy it: empty-handed.

But as any post grad knows, gifts and store-bought cards can be expensive. Here are some ideas on how to bring the celebratory presents to your friends on a budget:

  • Wooden frames from JoAnn Fabrics or Michaels with acrylic paint or fabric that is mode-podged, including your favorite photo of you and your friend (Wooden frame $1.99, Fabric $.99 ranging to $9.99, Acrylic paint $1.99)
  • Cards purchased in bulk, rather than individual cards, can be used for all celebrations! Target has some of my favorites starting at $3.99 (check it out)
  • Splitting a more expensive priced item that your friend has been eyeing with more than two other people (my gift was a Kate Spade wallet split by 4 of my friends and I loved it!

Hope this helped! Below is one of my favorite grad gifts:

gradgift

Walkin’ the plank and wearing the robe

As of 3:30 p.m. today, it marked my first 24 hours of being a post graduate from the University of South Florida. My alumnae status is a product of an adventurous four years that have been nothing short of thrilling.

The best way that I can relate to stepping on the bright stage to take ahold of a few seconds of fame, at a taller height with the help of heels, is kind of like reaching the peak of a roller coaster. It starts with an overwhelming build up of excitement, anxiety and unnatural mix of courage and fear that helps you take your first step off the staircase and onto the stage. All of the sudden, you feel the cool breeze go by and the pit of your stomach drop as your name is said to thousands and your arm flings right into the air for a firm handshake, just like how it would be if your arm reached in the air as you flew down the roller coaster.

My hand reached for the Dean of my college, which I had the opportunity to intern for in Spring 2012. There was a social media campaign in the form of a photo contest that the college did which promoted graduates to feature their caps on social platforms. Like every endeavor in life, especially ones with crafting involved, I was eager to win. I told the marketing director, a mentor of mine that was well aware of my competitive zest, that my cap was the winner. The first thing that the Dean said to me before congratulating me was, “Your cap is great.” I could have died with fulfillment right then and there.

And now marks my journey of a new chapter in my life after my accomplished plank walk under an over-embelished cap. Stay tuned for industry insights and necessary transitions that this new chapter of life requires!

CapGraduation1