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The First Years

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.

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

Month One Emilie

June 24, 2015

Month One Emilie

emilie

 

post grad day 38, employed and falling on her face

Maybe the funniest thing about postgrad life is that I’ve discovered that I’m still an idiot.

I mean, my graduation hat was on backwards for most of the weekend’s activities because I decorated the cap upside down. Keep an eye out for the scrunched elastic of wait-are-we-sure-that-girl-was-really-supposed-to-graduate across my forehead rather than the smooth pointy lines that frame the face of someone more familiar with the proper orientation of baccalaureate headgear.

But in all seriousness, it was a pretty great week amid the hesitant air of nostalgia we were all reluctant to embrace – my parents paid for my pitcher(s) of margaritas and a couple of my Instagrams got triple digit likes, so it’s safe to say I got what I needed out of Commencement Weekend 2015… #RaiseHigh.

As for postgrad life, the concept of “new apartment rooftop living” has quickly devolved from my initial hopes of casual nights sipping homemade cocktails and laughing appropriately with my friends as the evening breeze attractively ruffles our hair. In reality, it’s of a bunch of half-dressed twenty-two year olds huddled over a six pack of almost hipster beers, wiping the infamous DC summer humidity off of ourselves and hoping we won’t get kicked off the roof because it’s past midnight.

All in all, the proverbial “Real World” hasn’t been so bad. I have an apartment. I have a job. I bought fresh produce at the grocery store. The pressure of foods with increasingly shorter shelf lives is almost too much to handle – sell by versus best by? What if I don’t care if the food is at its best? Can I let it go another few days before I’m faced with the decision of consume or bust?

To round out this quintessentially DC yopro post, I’m going to end it with a bottomless brunch metaphor from this past Saturday. As I tentatively considered my fifth third mimosa, my surprisingly aggressive waiter returned, pitcher in hand. The look of disappointment on his face was overwhelming. “I can’t do it!” I apologized. “You have to,” he shrugged. He was right – I didn’t really have a choice. I came, I chugged, I conquered.

So to my fellow postgrads out there who don’t think you can do it: Well, you have to. And most of the time it ends up working out and you have a great time, though you might lose a credit card and some dignity along the way.

So to my fellow postgrads out there who don’t think you can do it: Well, you have to.

Author’s note: In the middle of writing this, I was called into a meeting in my boss’s office… a meeting at which I Leaned In (Sheryl Sandberg anyone?) too hard and fell face first out of my chair. Happy Wednesday!

Month One Chelsea

June 10, 2015

The First Years Chelsea

Chelsea

post grad day 24, actively seeking employment

Hello hello! I’m very excited and #blessed to share my first year experience with all of you. Here’s how it began:

My final day in DC was a shock to my system; I literally shocked myself on a toaster while attempting to make breakfast. After I was assured that I wasn’t going to die by the six different people I had texted “help” to, my brain shifted and I realized “today is the day.” It was a sentence I had repeated approximately 50 times over the last month of school where every activity was tinged with the feeling that it could be my last time doing it: my last peaceful walk through Georgetown, my last delicious GW Deli bagel, my last sweaty crowded night at Sign of the Whale (not all were good “lasts”). After my near death experience and my last breakfast in DC I realized it wouldn’t be easy leaving.

Now, after too many goodbyes and shedding more tears than I am comfortable admitting, I successfully got through my first interview for a real big girl job, my first week of a long distance relationship (technically two- one with Kelly and one with my boyfriend), and unpacked my 10 large boxes that I had to ship home.

 home

Before graduation, my image of this yopro phase of my life was filled with trendy happy hours and rooftop bars, well paying jobs with people who would soon be my new besties, and a beautifully decorated apartment. However, I’m writing this post in a light blue bedroom, in a bed covered in cheetah print sheets. No, this is not my current style-I’m in my childhood bedroom.

As an LA native, it’s been my dream for way too long to move back to my 75 degrees and sunny home. Throughout my four years at GW I experienced the same question, “why did you leave?” My answer was always the same. I wanted something different, but I knew I would always return to my favorite place. I am openly and admittedly a Mama’s AND Daddy’s girl. Leaving home as a young and terrified freshman left me with an overwhelming need to come back again one day. Now though, with four years under my belt,  my final return home has been much more bittersweet than I ever expected. The interview process while unpacking 10 large shipping boxes hasn’t exactly made it any easier.

 The Interview Outfit

The shipping boxes have been the pimple on my normally put together entryway. Every time I went down my staircase or came through my front door, the boxes were the first terrifying things I saw. To avoid the monstrosity as long as possible, instead of going to my usual choice of business casual outfits I snuck into my mothers closet to pick out the outfit that would hopefully say “give me a job, I’m super qualified and nice.” Four shirts and three cups of coffee later, I got in my car and made the 20-minute journey to the office that could potentially hold my future (nbd). The stress filled my imagination with absurd scenarios almost the entire drive, including one where I forgot how to speak and then passed out. After shaking my brain of the hopefully absurd situations and making my way through the worlds most confusing parking structure and office lobby, I arrived 30 minutes early. 35 minutes and one office tour later, I was released back into the lobby feeling relieved and excited for what’s to come.

Chelsea's Closet

Chelsea Interview Outsit

Month One Taylor

June 3, 2015

Taylor First Year Photo Taylor Name Plate
   post grad life day: 17, unemployed

Hello all! As an avid P&S fan and even bigger Kelly fan, I am so very excited to finally be a little slice of this larger, delicious virtual literary pie. And on the eve of my life as a young professional – a “yo-pro” as the kids we call it – what better time than now to reflect on the future?

“Young professional.” Two words, five syllables, seventeen letters, an infinitely a loaded term. Upon entering university, I used to look upon the poised and practiced graduates and real-life-first-years from the crowded corners of dive bars that accepted my fake ID as I sipped on my watered-down cranberry-vodka with envy, anxious for the time when I could finally wear a white button down, pencil skirt and heels without looking like I had dressed up for a CEOs and Office Hoes themed frat party. The binary reaction to this memory, now that I am one of those graduates and a real-life first year myself, would be to say that I wish I could go back. But I don’t. I enjoy my muddled cucumber gin and tonics in all their dry, fruitless glory. I enjoy my pointy-toed stilettos despite the blisters they impose on my feet. I enjoy the fact that having to flirt my way past the bouncer is no longer a thing (though I sometimes revert back to this tactic just for the nostalgic thrill).

However, my complacency with today is not at all a suggestion that now is any easier than four years ago was, or four semesters ago, or four months, weeks, or even days. Now is terrifying. Now is the first time in my life in which I sincerely have no idea what’s next: a job? A career? A boyfriend? A business venture? A wild trip around the world? A tormented yet erotic relationship with a mysterious businessman whom shrouds a Red Room in his apartment? Wait…

Here is what I do know: I am young. And despite my lack of a secure position or paid salary, I am already a professional in a few fields: guessing candle scents with my eyes closed, the Spanglish language, bagelry (it’s a thing), Kristen Wiig character impersonations, and believing in myself. No, I’m not sure where I’m going just yet, or what’s coming for me either, but in-between the communication theories and chemical equations, college taught me the most important lesson yet: how to be confident.

Here is what I do know: I am young

I am confident that my unwavering determination to eventually move out of my home in Connecticut and into my own apartment in the city before I kill my whole family. I am confident that my staunch willingness to take risks, learn, succeed, fail, succeed, fail again, and then succeed again will shoot me all the way to the stars, to the pinnacle of professional and personal excellence. It may take some time to get there, but I have no doubt that it will be worth the trip.

 

Introducing ‘The First Years’

June 2, 2015

the first years
I am thrilled to introduce the P&S First Years (#thefirstyears)! Over the next year we’ll have the opportunity to see what post grad looks like to them. They’ve landed in cities up and down the east coast and west coast; we’re going to get yopro stories from La La Land to the District, from San Francisco to the Tri-state. They’re engineers, political communications junkies, masters students, unemployed geniuses and pursuing PR positions. They have picked up from one coast and relocated to another. They are forging new lives in new cities with only their scrappy intuition, first month’s salary and the promise that this crossroad in life will lead them to something new, exciting and inspiring.

Now, let’s meet The First Years.

 

TGOLD TO USE

The First Years Chelsea DONEThe First Years, Emilie to usealix