First Day of Fall: Expectations vs. Reality

September 23, 2015

day 139

In May, back when the post grad day count was in the single digits, I was in the car with my future roomie talking about our big plans of jobs and apartments and eating ramen for far more consecutive nights than socially acceptable. It was then that we decided fall was our target. By the time the leaves started to change and vests reemerged, we would be searching for our little part of the big city.

Well, fall’s here kids. Fall’s here and my future roomie is tapping her proverbial foot requesting that I please get on with finding a job to pay for said little space in the big city. What I tossed around so easily, “September. October at the latest,” reminds me that my active imagination doesn’t always come to fruition. So, on this first day of fall and the end of the grace period, here’s my expectations vs. my reality.

expectation v. reality

 

 

 

Month Four Taylor, On Not Going Back to School (Sort Of)

September 18, 2015

Taylor First Year Photo

Taylor Name Plate

day 134. Went ‘back to school’ in a minivan

Breathe in. Breathe out. Ahhh. I am so happy to be back.

Since you last heard from me, my life has managed to flip and flop and turn itself upside down like a shitty bundt cake. New job, new city; new home, roommates, routine, new nail salon, new coffee spot (these last two are of utmost importance): new normal. Wild to think that this tiny crater of the Internet moon could make me feel so at home and so like cool, confident me – but then again, little moments make you big, don’t they?

Isn’t it frightening how much can change in such a short amount of time?

Isn’t it frightening how much can change in such a short amount of time? I almost envy the Pre Graduation Taylor whose biggest complaint was that she “just needs change already!”

Then I remember that the greatest variation during my days living at home in my post-grad, pre-job limbo was which flavor of creamer I wanted in my coffee each morning. Suddenly, not having any coffee because I woke up too late again and had to rush to work doesn’t seem so bad after all.

Here’s the skinny,* which I’ve so dexterously organized into list form (being a professional has taught me the power of being brief):

  1. Unlike many of my comrades, I don’t live in the corporate world; I live in a much scarier, riskier, sweatier place: the start-up world. A few months ago I wrote an article for a start-up publication website, The Rival, about a start-up delivery service, goPuff. If back then I knew that said article would lead me to my most current position as goPuff’s Social Media Manager, Kelly would’ve had this article on time when she asked for it over a week ago. Alas, I did not know and still have zero time management skills, so here we are.
  2. I’ll always be a New Yorker (my affinity for graphic t-shirts and purposefully distressed Knicks hats won’t let you forget it), but I won’t always live in New York. My new home: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sure, the Declaration of Independence was signed here, but all 56 of those signatures belonged to bigoted, elitist white men who in addition to birthing the United States also birthed the pronunciation of water as “wood-er” and gas stations that serve (admittedly delicious) sandwiches. It’s a strange place that I submit may need me to shake it up. And for the times when I’m the one who needs to be shaken up, The City (there’s only one – you know either get this or you don’t) is a quick couple of New York minutes away.
  3. Number 1 and 2 could not have been further from “brief,” so I’ll end this tangent here.

Four paragraphs later, I should admit now that real reason we’re all here isn’t to hear me ramble (not entirely, anyway). The existential topic at hand: how the first-years are feeling about not returning to school for the first time?

Well, sorry to rain on your thoughtfully outlined parade BossKelly, but joke’s on you, because I did return to school this year!

My unorthodox fifth year went something like this: the first project I was assigned as Social Media Manager was on the Go Puff Yourself Tour (it’s okay, you can laugh), in which goPuff’s marketing team took to college campuses across Philly, Boston and DC for some guerilla warfare promoting. For me, that meant back to GW! On the first day of school! Surrounded by people I equally adored and abhorred! Wearing a brand new outfit! One that read “goPuff” on it! …Maybe the joke’s on me.

All jokes aside, the return to my alma mater did leave me reeling. There I was, right smack in the heart of the place I called home for four years, tangled up in classrooms and cafeterias and kids trying to find their way to “Smith? Where’s Smith? Anybody?!” Education was all around me, a waft of learnedness in the thick Foggy Bottom air, and I couldn’t feel it. Because it wasn’t for me anymore. Just the frizz swirling above my hairline. That was definitely for me.

Isn’t it frightening how much can change in such a short amount of time? I almost envy Pre Graduation Taylor who’s biggest complaint was that she “just wants to read a scholarly article on something other than queer theory or gender binaries already!” Then I remember that I have no marketing experience for my new marketing job, accidently call my 22-year old “boss” a shithead, apologize and request that he teach me everything he knows, and suddenly, not being back at school doesn’t feel so bad after all.

Because I still have a lot to learn, but this time, I’m excited it won’t be in the classroom. Real world: let’s get real.

*Why do we call it this? We should be saying “here’s the big fat fatso,” because nothing happening in my life right now, including but not limited to my body mass index and workload, is anything close to undernourished or small.

Interview Prep, A Schedule

September 15, 2015

day 129/130

for all those that use this as reference for the length of time we have been ‘real people,’ today is in fact, day 131, yesterday was 130 and the day before was 129. Ya dig? 

Day 130 was the day of my most recent phone interview. Sort of.

day 129.75

2:58pm: meet my parents in the most architecturally inspiring mcdonalds somewhere in western, va. we are close to west virginia, I can feel it in my bones. buy h20, say goodbye to dc (for the 10th time since day 1) and hop in the car.

4:42pm: stop in md for chex mix. think that I should reach in the back and get my laptop to start interview prep and then remember car wifi is not a thing, but car sickness is. try to sleep, mom is telling me about a ballet documentary she watched on a plane.

6:47pm: head bob so hard that I smack said head on the window. a nap is now out of the picture.

7:30pm: tell my grandma for the sixth time that no, I do not want tortellini soup, I have just come to retrieve the dog. somehow she knows about the interview. yes, its at 11:30 tomorrow, grandma.

8:00pm: pull out my laptop and special notebook reserved for interview notes. On the cover it says “chase your dreams, you might catch one.”  could I be more heart wrenchingly literal?

8:30pm: carbo load.

9:45pm: exit a dark tunnel lined with case studies, an open office floor plan and a really healthy sized vimeo account via the whistling of the tea kettle. meditate on how not to get my hopes up while drinking from a mug my mother has had since she was 22.

11:00pm: get into long philosophical conversation about ‘the kind of writing I want to do,’ as if I have any choice. then spend at least 5 minutes explaining how I can still be excited without getting my hopes up. I get my hopes up in doing so.

day 130//day of

8:30am: wake up. it is christopher robbins blustery which makes me happy because: flannels.

8:42am: dad thinks I should work out to ‘get pumped.’ I agree (sort of). I go on a brisk walk because I am a soccer mom who lives in suburbia.

9:00am: my brisk walk is short. as in I walked back and my dad said, “are you kidding me?” I was not, sir, kidding.

9:55am: open my email to confirm that my phone call is at 11:30 (in which case I will be sitting in front of my computer, phone poised at the ready by no later than 11:12). all I really confirm is that my interview was at 11:30 but is in fact no longer at 11:30.

9:55:13am: I throw my hands to the ceiling (mom gives me a look like lord help the man..) because dammit my hopes were up again. I reread the email. My interviewer is sick, BUT they want to reschedule!! Reschedule!!

9:55:53am: Email them back saying that I am “so flexible in my schedule. I can talk at anytime.” This would have at one point in my life hurt my ego; I now use it as my mating dance for future employers.

10:11am: She thanks me for my flexibility (!!) and asks if Wednesday will work. It works.

Rinse & Repeat.

 

 

 

My Job Hunt Skinny (& Some Made Up Stats)

September 8, 2015

day 124

I sat down and asked myself some questions that I  already know the answers to. I articulated them in hyperlinks and sarcasm for all of you:

What I’m Looking For: editorial assistant position for magazines, books or digital content (orsomething that will prep me for editorial like a closet job)

Where I’m Looking: new york city & san francisco (but don’t tell my mom)Cartwheel 1

Cartwheel 2

Cartwheel 3

What I’m Using: job boards like ed2010, indeed, media bistro, muse, linkedin etc. 

How Positive I’m Feeling On a Scale of Shamwow Salesman to Debbie Downer: nicki minaj after not getting a vma nod (read: snarling)

How My Expectations Have Changed: getting an email response feels like Christmas morningnow after getting ghosted so many times. Actual words addressed to yours truly means my resumé didn’t fall into a black abyss, like most (of mine) do

How Many Times I’ve Edited My Resume Since May: No more than 1,234 and no less than 967 times

What’s Important In a Job: Not that I can be picky, but in any role I land, I want to be pushed creatively on a regular basis

How Many Times Have You Gotten Dry Mouth In An Interview: how many interviews have I had?

Who Tells You To Enjoy Your Free Time: those people whose credit cards are not subtly hidden in my wallet (**for emergencies and gas and sometimes pizza only**) and also my mom

What You Actually Do With Your Free Time: complain about having writer’s block until no one listens anymore and so I talk to my blank word doc, stalk my one friend in stalking distance, stand on my father’s office desk and stomp my feet

How Boredom And Aggression Are Manifesting: road rage & rosé

How Close Have You Come To Landing A Gig: contents-of-this-mirror-are-closer-than-they-appear close. like me v. interviewee #2. #2 won

How You Took It: I revamped this blog. 

 

What the F is up with P&S?

September 1, 2015

day 117What the F is up with PS

Here are things that I know: it is September, I am not at school, it has been 117 days since GW threw me out, I’ve never felt sorry for myself so many days in a row and the salad I had today for lunch had cilantro on it, even though I asked for it without.

Here are things you, as readers, do not know: what the f is up with p&s, what I’ve been doing besides not getting a job, where #thefirstyears went for the whole month of august, and why I didn’t send my salad back, even though I asked for no cilantro.

Well, kids, I’m here to shed some light on some of the things you don’t knowWhen people ask me why there haven’t been any posts (which to my surprise actually happens) I usually rotate through a list of five excuses. Or five lies. Which I will share with you now:

  1. “I’ve been really struggling to find inspiration out here in the burbs.”
  2. “Applying to jobs is honestly a full time job in itself. But literally.”
  3. “I’m really focusing on other writing… No, I can’t tell you what kind.”
  4. “I have to pick my grandpa up from dialysis… No, not every morning, but a lot, ok?”
  5. “My mom’s home for the summer and I’m spending as much time as I can with her!!!!!!”

Sure, I did want to spend time with my mom, but more often than not she was asking me to stop poking her and parodying this Family Guy clip. No, the truth of why I was ghosting p&s had everything to do with my big cloud of can’t-find-a-job-feel-bad-for-myself stink that has been following me around everywhere.

So, here’s the plan. I’m approaching this with a work through the pain attitude. I’m going to  put some paddles on this little blog and shock it right back to semi-existence on the inter-webs. We’ll start by bringing back the four ladies we’ve come to know and love with a September #thefirstyears focused on not going back to school for the first time. Then I’ll amp up The Post Grad Diaries to actually do what its name suggests; I’ll  be chronicling what it is I’m doing, saying, thinking and panicking about. And if I have an interview, you’ll get to see what I wear.

Next, under the umbrella of #thepostgraddiaries, I’ll be sharing with you my tips and stories (or just what not to do’s) on personal finance. As I learn, you’ll learn. As I budget, you will laugh at me. Like sry, why did no one ever teach me about important things like cosigners and credit and HOW NOT TO BE A DEBTOR.

Then, you’ll read this post I wrote in second person (because why not) on day 73 about withdrawal because its still applicable at day 117. And it just so happens that it was a Tuesday, so it works out.

And if you’re feeling interested, check out my summer according to photos here.

Photos is courtesy of Cameron Lancaster, check him out here.

Withdrawal

September 1, 2015

DAY 73

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with•draw•al                                                                                                                                                                                                        noun
: an act of moving something away or taking something away

: an act of ending your involvement in something

: the act of taking money out of the bank

There are a lot of things people tell you about leaving college. In the days leading up to graduation you hear, enjoy it while it lasts, these are the best years of your life (!), don’t rush getting a job! And then there are a lot of things that people say after you graduate: don’t worry, you’ll find something, you’re a smart girl any company would be lucky to have you (!!!), and things only get better from here.

It’s not that you don’t believe that all of the above are genuine sentiments. Perhaps the nurse at your pediatrician’s office, after telling you that you’re too old to be there anymore, really does think that you’ll find something and that your life will turn out as perfectly as  you’ve imagined it. And yet, something falls flat each time your unemployed ears receive those stock signals.

Because, what about the withdrawal? Why doesn’t anyone say anything about that?

It could be that most people that you’re coming into contact with are too far removed to remember to say the other important things that should follow the niceties, like acknowledging that graduates have just ended our involvement in something that defined us and shaped us and made us grow and shrink and cut our hair and fall in and out of friendships and love with people and the place that we called home for 4 years.

In some moments this act of moving away feels like it could crush you, because it feels much more like moving backwards than just away. There are times at 2:30 pm on a Tuesday when you’re sitting home alone because most everyone is working (including your little sister) that the crushing feeling turns into this intense need to sit on the horrible Ikea couch from your first semi-real apartment eating chocolate pudding with your best friend just like you did (too much) when you were back at school.

And sometimes, when waiting for the yay/nay response from a company that you’d kill to work at is reaching the ominous you did not get the job timing territory, you feel like the only correct thing to do is get in the car and drive south on 95, pretending that there aren’t new people living in your apartment and that most of your friends don’t live in Chinatown or New York or Philly, anywhere besides the place that brought you together.

You feel weird about having these feelings because no one told you that all of this missing could affect your mood or your day. You’ve never felt directionless in your life and you’re unaccustomed to the unmoored thing that suggests floating and flitting and maybe going a little stir crazy that no one wants you to dock your boat alongside their’s. You wonder if you will ever make enough money to cover what you withdrew during a post-grad-denial romp in New York. You think that someone should at least tell you, at more than one point during this whole thing, that you’ll miss the comfort of all the old things. You hope that some time soon something exciting and new falls into place and it forces you to grow and fall in love and cut your hair and learn things that you couldn’t back when you were the old you.

And then you think that you may want to stop feeling bad for yourself because maybe the negative mojo is effecting your  job applications.

Feature image was taken by Cam Lancaster, check out his stuff here.

Month Two Alix (San Fran Bound)

July 28, 2015

The First Years AlixALIX GRAPHIC

 

 day 72 and leaving the nest for the west

 

4 Score and 8 years ago during 9th grade Earth Science class, we would get extra credit if we recycled something and made something useful out of it. In my 15-year-old mind, the obvious answer to recycled goods was the surplus of shopping bags I had in my closet. From this surplus, I created what I now wake up to every morning and fall asleep to every night: a wall-paper of collaged shopping bags plastered on the walls of my room. Though overwhelming, materialistic, colorful, and (unfortunately) non-artistic, as I sit surrounded by these walls that have been characteristic of my room since childhood, it is difficult to envision creating a new, permanent home.

In two weeks, this VT raised gal will begin her journey to becoming a bae in the Bay (for more than a day #onewaytickettoparadise) as she moves across the country to make a home in San Francisco. What I have come to discover is that making a home and finding a home are two very different things, and finding a home (whether you like it or not) has to happen before any of those dreams of scented candles, L-shaped plush couches, and personalized bike racks come to reality.

With me and my three (incredible, awesome, and brilliant) roommates scattered across the world post college and far from San Francisco, finding our dream home has not been easy. Countless hours on craigslist, bid wars, and credit score checks kept us all preoccupied for weeks (shout out to the San Francisco Bay’s Bae & MVP, Kim for fighting the crowds of fellow craigslist addicts to get to the open houses). This was an entirely new arena from GW’s housing portal. What was a down payment? A broker fee? Rent control? It was a completely overwhelming and ultimately scary process. What if I had to move across the country without a place to call home?

Amidst this chaos, I decided to take a spontaneous trip to New York, where a friend and I went to a yoga class. The philosophical discussion of the day: overcoming fear. As if the stars and planets aligned, when I arose from my mat after 2.5 hours of impossible twists and poses, I returned to my phone to find that Kim had found the perfect apartment- a beautiful four bedroom flat with a garden and living space fit for both rowdy pregames and ladies only Wine Wednesdays.

It is easy to be afraid of what we don’t know, but if this process has taught me (or really just reminded me) of anything it’s that building a home is about much more than taping old shopping bags to your bedroom wall. It’s about trusting your friends, staying positive, and being open to what the world offers you. If you put out positive energy, you will get positive energy in return. It always works out in the end.

xo,

Alix

Here’s the new pad:

broadway_1

broadway_2

Month Two Taylor, On Her Housing Status

July 8, 2015

Taylor First Year Photo

Taylor Name Plate

    day 52, formally airing grievances she’s been airing unsolicited                   

Hey ya’ll!

Welcome back to my lil’ deranged section of Kelly’s “The First Year”      Series. This month, we’re talking housing. In other words, where have our as-of-graduation homeless asses found a place to crash and continue our training as professional thermostat-changers (if you can’t handle me at my worst – anything hotter than a brisk 68 degrees – you certainly don’t deserve me at my best: a straight-up icebox).

I found this topic particularly titillating when Kelly unveiled it to us First Years because it finally allowed me the opportunity to air certain grievances I have been casting onto my family for the past four months without so much of an eye roll back in response, much less the acknowledgment that I was even speaking. For the first time in my 21 years I had been asked to complain. After checking my backyard and basement for Ashton Kutcher, I nixed the possibility that I was being Punk’d (and this dated reference along with it) and got to writing. A few dramatic huffs and puffs and pages later about Dasani water and battles for the airplane armrests and guys who wear pants with palm trees on them, I reminded myself of the term “relevancy” and got back to the task at hand.

This past March my family made the dramatic move 50 miles north of Yonkers, New York in Westchester, the county right outside of New York City, to Bridgeport, Connecticut. You heard that right. My mother uprooted me and my already pretty-grown up twin 17 year-old siblings away from the greatest city on Earth to a place where palm tree pants run rampant. How dare she?

I’m not as much of a brat as the last paragraph would suggest, so it didn’t take long for me to shake the devastation that I’d have to tell strangers I live anywhere other than New York and adopt newfound joy at the prospect of the turn-of-the-century Spanish Mediterranean my family was about to wreak havoc in begin the next chapter of our lives in. I returned home one weekend before graduation. My mother and I took the drive up to visit the empty house. The gothic cathedral ceilings swept me off my feet. The wrought-iron Romeo and Juliet indoor balcony took my breath away. The hand-forged swinging windows in the bedrooms made me fall to the floor, where I remained in disbelief and a small pout session after being informed that none of those bedrooms were for me (I’m really not a brat, I promise).

Three bathrooms, four bedrooms – just enough room for my mom, brother Tristan, sister Sydney, and grandparents. Just enough room until I graduated and left DC, the past four years of my life in a U-Haul behind me, and moved to the new house, where the whole family had to swallow the harsh reality that this ain’t no summer vacation, this is life.

Fast forward four weeks and I’ve spent the first month of my First Year couch-surfing…in my own home. The passive-aggressive jokes about being the forgotten child quickly became old news because in my mother’s defense, the couches really are comfortable. And who ever said having divorced parents is a bad thing? As far as I’m concerned, the only price I have to pay is a Starbucks quad espresso macchiato with one raw sugar and extra foam to the matriarch herself in exchange the other half of her king-sized, three-hundred thread count, French linen bed.

It hasn’t taken me long after commencement to already learn a valuable lesson: where you’re dreaming is not nearly as important as what you’re dreaming about. Or as important as even dreaming at all, rather than repeatedly sleeping off your blackouts from the night before. We just celebrated graduating college, not our retirements, and it doesn’t take a luxury apartment or mortgage or bills addressed in our name to feel accomplished. As long as we’re not sleeping on ourselves, does it really matter where we end up sleeping?

It hasn’t taken me long after commencement to already learn a valuable lesson: where you’re dreaming is not nearly as important as what you’re dreaming about.

Because this is the time of our life where we’re supposed to struggle with how to remove a wine stain from the carpet and wash our dishes by hand and cry over assembling Ikea furniture. Burn our toast and eat it anyway. Collect pieces of art and knick-knacks for the apartment-of-our-dreams before even living in it. Be clueless and free-like-birds and terrified at the thought of not knowing where we’ll crash tonight while taking solace in the fact that we’re still hot enough to flirt ourselves in the bed of an unsuspecting stranger.

Lucky for all of us, we have friends and families who, despite the fact that we eat all the food and do none of the chores, love us even if they don’t like us, so that stranger’s bed can remain a tipsy choice and not a last resort. Ultimately, not having to worry about my rent has given me more time to focus on my career, on my passions and on what it is that I’d like to do with my future.

So to all my fellow First Years, keep a steady hand on that thermostat and a steadier hand on your dreams, because though we may be riding an unsteady wave of couches, we’re simultaneously riding an even more unsteady wave: life. And trust me when I say, both are pretty plush.

Taylor Home 2

Taylor Home1

British Heat Wave

July 5, 2015

My mother’s apartment doesn’t have air conditioning. This hasn’t ever been a problem before because the high in the Thames River Valley rarely skirts above 24 degrees Celsius (or 75 degrees for us Americans). An English summer usually demands at the very least a light sweater and boyfriend jeans. It was on this preconceived notion in which I packed; half of my 56 pound (whoops) bag consists of Madewell sweaters and pant options that I had been missing since DC warmed up around mid-April.

The past week had me wishing that 50 out of my 56 pounds consisted of summer clothing in fabrics as light as they come. The UK is having a heat wave.

Wednesday, July 1st was the hottest day England has seen in over 9 years. It was already boiling when we woke up at 8 am in pursuit of Windsor Castle (favorite residence of Her Majesty, The Queen).

The plan was to take the highly functional, always on time (please read: dysfunctional, rarely on time) First Great Western train from Henley to Twyford, Twyford to Slough, Slough to Windsor. It was the perfect day to find ourselves on multiple packed train platforms and in sardine-like train cars that, in a particular feat of engineering, ensure that no air circulates through them, ever.

By the time we got to Windsor the heat had edged up around 90 and my sister’s hair had edged up to semi-afro. She was dragging her feet and I was complaining and my dad was sweating through his shirt, but we somehow still took a minute to stand in awe at the relics from Queen Victoria’s reign and the room of china place settings (sorry, no photos in the castle).

And when Katie and I had ungratefully whined enough my aunt and my cousins finished up looking at old stone and old churches and we found a very photogenic pub, drank some Pear Cider that went right to my head and then repeated the extremely cool and quick ride home.

When we finally got back to my mother’s very hot second-floor apartment and put on all of the fans, I fell asleep face down on the hardwood floor telling myself that this is what I dream of when I’m complaining about winter weather.

Windsor 3        windsor 5

Windsor 2

Windsor 1

Windsor 6

Windsor 8

Windsor 11

Windsor 12

windsor 13

Windsor 10