Tag Archives: life lessons

Relearning the ABC’s After College

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It is common knowledge that college is the time for learning. It is the time to explore your interests. It is the time to redefine your boundaries. In short, it is about learning about yourself and where you fit into the context of the wider world.

But once you walk across that stage in your cap and gown to get your diploma, learning does not stop. Learning is a life long process that continues even beyond college, even after you’ve landed that amazing job at a Fortune 500 company.

I can even argue that the six months after college graduation is even more vital than the entire four years put together. Yes, you are learning essential skills in college. But after college, when you are thrown out into the real world, you have to put those skills into practice.

You’ve probably landed an internship, a freelance gig, or an entry level position. This is the time when you have to not only use the skills that you’ve gained, but continue to build upon them. Knowledge is never stagnant. Knowledge will continue to build upon itself, in almost every field.

With that said, after college, you will find yourself going ‘back to basics.’ Essentially, you will relearn the ABCs:

Affirm your desires.

College was about figuring out what you wanted to major in. Post-college (and sometimes even before) is about figuring out how you want to use your degree. Once you know what you want to do, then go for it. Knowing what you want is the easiest part. Let the knowledge of what you want fill every bone in your body. Embody confidence that you will do well and that that will be your calling.

Brand yourself.

Whether you are prepping for that job interview or working on your social media presence, make sure that you are conveying your best self. Be honest and authentic. Be intelligent and creative. Add a little bit of spontaneity. Be professional and relatable in your communication style. Be truer than your best self.

Continue to enhance.

So, you might not be successful at that job interview. Perhaps it wasn’t a good fit. Whatever the reason, don’t give up. The six months after college are the most important months. Keep applying to jobs. Seek out assistance from the career office at your alma mater. Use LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with industry experts and get new job leads. Become an entrepreneur. Start a blog. Write. Create YouTube videos. Host Periscope videos. Become an expert in your field. Keep practicing your skills. Eventually, the right job will find you.

Where are you in your job search? Or, if you’ve landed that perfect job (kudos!), any words of advice that you’d like to share?

 

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Life After College – Thoughts

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College is a bubble. So, what happens after graduation? Well, that bubble bursts. Suddenly, that protected world that you’ve known for four years is no longer there. You are suddenly tossed out into the real world.

Twice in my life, I left college. And twice in my life, I was no longer in that college bubble, forced to live on the outside with no communal showers and surrounded by a random assortment of kids. But most importantly of all, both times, I was forced to face the reality of student loans, getting a job and adjusting to life after school.

Having been part of the thousands of kids who go to college right after high school, it is hard to envision a life in which the world of academia does not exist. I’ve been in school for nearly my entire life. However much I might complain about the unfairness of grading and classes and professors, at the end of the day, it is undeniable that I start to miss it.

I miss taking classes that may or may not have anything to do with my degree. I’ve taken Greek Mythology and Writing Poems even though I am not a Classical Studies or Creative Writing major. I’ve taken so many German courses that I’d like to say that I’m nearly fluent. I simply took those classes because I wanted to. College presented an opportunity to take those classes that my high school might not have offered due to limited budgets. And, I admit, once I got to college, I embraced it.

The same goes for extracurricular activities. At college, I could join the Yearbook Club or the LGBTQ club or whatever. At college, I could take  or do whatever I wanted to (as long as it was legal, of course). Indeed, what separates college from high school is the freedom to choose. The freedom to be independent. But, of course, with that freedom comes a certain responsibility. That responsibility is our first foray into adulthood. Some of us embrace it. While for the rest of us, it might take awhile…

But however long it takes, we all grow up in college. College is designed to test us. To test our strengths and weaknesses. To connect us with new people. To allow us to grow in a way that we never conceived of in high school.

But sooner than you think, college is soon over. You put on your graduation cap and gown and walk across that stage to get your diploma. But just because you receive your diploma does not mean that the growth has to stop. Instead, use college as a starting off point to continue learning and growing.

Getting your college diploma signifies that you accomplished four years of college education. It signifies that you have the discipline to study with no immediate gratification. After all, there is no guarantee that a college degree will get you rich.

But once you get your college diploma, you discover that the real work is yet to begin. You have to find a job. Hopefully, you find a lucrative opportunity in your industry. Hopefully, you will rise up within your company in the next ten years and become an industry thought leader.

Or, you might end up working as a barista at Starbucks or retail clerk for a few years working minimum wage, while relentlessly filling out job applications. You might have to work two jobs just to pay your rent, car payments and student loan payments.

But eventually, you will launch your career. It’s not going to be easy. I daresay that it might even be hard. But who said that life is easy? And those four years of all-nighters at college will be worth it.

But until then, we hope. Whatever we majored in, whatever experiences we had in college, we are all driven by the same ambition: to find a well-paying job and be a worthwhile member of this complex and intricate society.

2015: Year of the Crazy

Life is crazy.

I bet you’ve heard that one before. One moment you think that you have life all planned and then the next something happens to change all that. Time and again, things have happened. And each time, I am reminded that what is important is how you face these obstacles.

So what if your Big Life Plan goes astray? As long as you learn something from it and move on with your Big Life Plan, then everything will work out for the best. I may not believe in God or  Allah or any higher being for that matter, but I do believe in fate. I believe that life happens for a reason. And every moment happens to test us, to teach us, to guide us to another moment in another place in time.

How else can I explain when I’m 26 and I’m just now completing my Bachelor’s degree? I went to college the traditional way when I was 18. I lived in the dorms (I hated it). I studied abroad (I loved it).

If things had worked out as planned, I would have graduated from college in 2011. It took me four years longer to get my Bachelor’s degree because I took a break. Which I needed. If you were to ask me if I regret it, I would have to say that I don’t. Because sometimes it is not about the end result but the journey that gets you there. I feel like earning my Bachelor’s degree at 26 is even more rewarding now than it would have been when I was 22. You know why? Because it was harder. Because I had to really work for it. Because a college education is not just a growing up ritual. Instead, it is something that is earned and it can never be taken away. It is the time to truly get to know yourself, to change and to let yourself be changed. It is the time to let education let you become the person that you were meant to be.

Now, that probably sounded corny and sappy. But it’s true.

Life is indeed crazy. Especially when you find out that you are pregnant. 2015 is a big year for me… the year of graduation and now pregnancy and starting a family with my long-term boyfriend and finding my dream job. Oh my, it really is the year of the crazy, isn’t it?

Takin’ it one day at a time

So, apparently the hit Netflix show “Orange is the New Black” season 3 is going to be released this summer. I’m super excited and eager to catch up the characters that I have grown to love, such as “Crazy Eyes.” I’m glad to hear that the character Brook Soso, who was introduced in Season 2, will be returning. She’s young and she’s mixed. She reminds me of me, though I’m not nearly as talkative as she is.

I think the reason why I love “Orange is the New Black” so much is because the characters are so relatable. No, I haven’t been to jail or prison. But I feel as if the characters are being real and true to themselves. In the episodes, the women gossip, talk, dance, have sex. There are no inhibitions. Anything goes. The women aren’t pretending to be a famous actress or singer or aspiring to win the lottery.

They are real women, trying to get by. They are taking it one day at a time. And I think that is something that we can all strive to learn.

It is important to live for the moment. Life is short. Don’t waste time thinking about what could have happened. Or what will happen. Live for today and be the best that you can be.

Working & Schooling — Together??!!

So, how do you do it? How do you work 35 – 40 hours a week and still go to school?

A few months ago, I was asked this question by an eighteen year old girl. The short answer: time management.

The long answer:

I attend college the untraditional way: online. I take classes at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). I also work full time, anywhere from 35 – 40 hours. In addition to school and work, I am involved in a number of extracurricular activities. I am a Peer Leader on the university’s social media site. I do some freelance writing on the side. And now I have this blog.

So, how do I do it?

At the beginning of each term (which is eight weeks long), I print out the syllabus for each class (I take two classes every term). The syllabus is a very useful piece of college documentation. It lists all of my assignments and their due dates. For example, let’s say that I have Monday and Friday off. Because discussion board posts are due by Thursday, I would work on the assigned readings on Monday and a discussion board posting. I would then work on the second class’ readings and discussion board postings on Tuesday and Wednesday (giving myself two days because I’m working both days).

Once the discussion board posts are done (usually by Wednesday at the latest), I devote the rest of my week to work on the more time consuming assignments, such as short papers, papers, quizzes, and projects. In my hypothetical example, I still have Friday as a day off to work on those assignments. I also have the nights on the other days.

I feel like that I’ve tried to cram too much information into one post, so let’s recap:

  • Plan your week (use planners to write out a schedule of everything that you have going on)
  • Stick to your schedule
  • Prioritize your life (what’s more important? That big paper you have to write or watching a movie on Netflix?)

And, finally, one thing I did not mention:

  • Reward yourself. Go for a walk, eat a snack, read a book. Something. Anything. Do something that you enjoy to reward yourself  for working hard, getting a good grade, or simply because you deserve it.

So, next time you have a lot of things going on, try this and let me know how it worked out by commenting below!

Life Lessons

I am 26 years old and I go to college online. Going for my Bachelor’s degree has been a long, emotional, often treacherous journey and I am excited that it is coming to an end soon. Right now, I have only five more courses to take until I graduate. Until I’m done. Until I can stand up, immensely proud, and tell myself that I have a college degree.

I started college the traditional route, when I was eighteen years old. I attended a small liberal arts university for two years. My goal was to major in English. But then, I took a few language courses…. in German. I fell in love with the German language. I fell in love with the ridiculous sentence structure and harsh sounding words.

But, as with all things, life happened. Seven years ago, my mother passed away.

The death of a parent is so unspeakable. It was a pain that I never before experienced. It was shocking, gut wrenching, painstakingly hard to think, to know, that the person who is the reason for my being alive no longer exists.

But time really does help to heal all wounds, however cliché that saying may be. I moved on. It no longer hurts as much to think about that small, but emotionally impacting, moment in time. Don’t get me wrong, the anniversary of her death, holidays, and her birthday are hard. Sometimes I still think of the what ifs: what if she was still alive? What would we be doing? What if things had turned out differently? What if?

But there’s no point, no good, in torturing myself with the what ifs. Nothing can change the past. The only thing that I can do is live in the moment and be the best person I can be. By doing that, I will make the future just a little bit better.

My future involves me getting a college degree. It took me seven years. But I don’t think of those years as a waste. Instead, it will mean that the end result will be that much sweeter. And that is something I can wait even a lifetime for.

I will receive a B.A. in Communications. But to me that is really a B.A. in life. College changes people. In my case, it’s changed me to become more driven, humble, kind, and appreciative of life.

So, those of you in college, or those taking a little break, take a moment and appreciate the little things. Enjoy the college experience. Enjoy life. Enjoy the people you love. And just know that the end result is something to work hard for.