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.


Instant riches

I was overwhelmed by green when I saw bills flying out of money cards on the night of my graduation. I thought, ‘I wonder how rich I would be if I could graduate every year.’

Then my Discover card statement came in the mail and the aroma of my quickly inherited riches subsided. Just when I thought that I had every penny imaginarily spent on Kate Spade wallets, a dose of responsibility hit me harder than the Discover bill.

I am now entering a land of sole financial responsibility and sacrificing food and water for a Henri Bendel bag isn’t going to keep me alive.

To combat my newfound riches with a large amount of budgeting, I have found the top five budget and finance tracking apps for iPhone.

mintMy favorite one is Mint, which is for free! I have allowed Mint to email AND text me when I am dangerously close to being over budget, and it allows me to digitally store my income and expenses that links safely to my bank account. Maybe not Mint, for you? Check out the other promising four!

Gratitude at the post-office

photo-9It took me 2 hours of relentless organizational skills to compile my list of ‘thank you’ cards to  express how grateful I was for everyone who celebrated my collegiate success. 

Between differentiating the 4 gift cards to one store (it’s official, everyone knows that I’m a sucker for Kate Spade) and determining which gift came from who, I now feel relieved to have sent off my gratitude at the post-office! 

Sending cards of appreciation that are thoughtfully hand-written is imperative after graduation! It can become confusing when different people give the same gifts, so here are some tips for how to divide and conquer your letters of gratitude:

1. Have someone, such as a parent, make a check list of who contributed what when you are opening gifts.

2. Have a safe place that you can keep all of the cash, checks and gift cards until you have access to the bank (I used a large Kate Spade wallet to keep everything enclosed). 

3. Tailor each ‘thank you’ card with a very personal message that relates to the gift you were given, even if it’s cash and/or check. For example:

‘Dear Aunt Karen,

Thank you so much for celebrating my collegiate success at my grad party! I especially liked the blouse that you gave me, I have worn it already!’ 

4. When sending the cards, use a label maker or software system that allows you to create your name and address on a sticker to put on the top left side of the envelope. This gives you the perfect professional look on your postage!

5. Last but not least, begin your investment in a lifetime supply of stamps! It won’t be the last cards of appreciation that you send 😉 

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!