For the past few months, I feel like I’ve been writing a preface to my future, instead of actually living it.
I’ve been staying at home with my parents, seeing the friends I grew up with, and working two cities away from where I was born. If I learned one thing in college, it’s that you grow the most when you’re uncomfortable. The past few months have been different, but all in all, a little too comfortable for comfort.
That’s all going to change soon, though, because I’m moving to New York City.
Most recent graduates are concerned about finding a full-time job. Recently, though, I faced an entirely different concern with my first post-grad job.
Sitting in a cramped conference room with just my boss, I had to figure out a way to explain that my last day would be in 2 weeks. It felt uncomfortable and maybe even a little crazy. But I knew I had to do it—and do it with at least some grace.
After I graduated in January, I immediately started my first entry-level job. It was such a lightning-fast transition that it’s taken me nearly 6 months to reflect on the whole experience.
I’ve come to quite a few conclusions about the whole thing, not least of which is “what the hell were you thinking/why didn’t you just hibernate for what would’ve been your spring semester?”
Living with college roommates is tough. However, living with roommates who happen to be middle-aged and have given birth to you isn’t any easier.
This summer, I moved home after graduation. Living with my parents definitely has its perks: home-cooked meals, a live-in cleaning service, and luxuries I’d never be able to afford on my own (hello, 56’’ flat-screen plasma.)
However, being yelled at to “clean my room” 15 times a day, a curfew, and endless reruns of Lifetime movies also makes me feel like doing this on occasion.
A couple weeks ago, I walked across a stage, shook hands with a bunch of people in funny outfits, and received my diploma from Tufts University.
I felt nothing during the entire ceremony. No tears, no laughs, no gushing excitement or sickening nervousness. It felt like somebody put me on autopilot for the entire thing. Then, 6 hours later, alone in my empty apartment room, I bawled my eyes out.
Question for all of my fellow Massachusetts folks: Did you know that parking in a spot with your car facing opposite the flow of street traffic is a parking offense, aptly named “wrong direction”?
I had absolutely no idea. So when I parked my car in the city a few nights ago for a couple of hours, and came back to find a fat, bright orange citation envelope on my car’s windshield, I was a little confused.
May is here, which means every college senior has officially begun to cling to their last few glory days. They also may or may not have already begun referring to their collegiate years as “glory days.”
With graduation around the corner, I’m a bundle of emotions, including, but not limited to, happy, depressed, excited, nervous, nostalgic, and xenophobic.
Oh, I’m also really, really poor. (Not an emotion, but definitely a cause for some of them.)
Being a real person has taught me quite a bit about budgeting and saving. While I’m still new to the world of big-boy finances, a key nugget that I’ve taken away already is that having a financial plan is important. Knowing how much per month I’m going to have to dedicate towards student loans will ultimately allow me to figure out how much will be left over for groceries, rent, and fun. With things like an expired apartment lease looming in my future, I knew it was important to have my numbers hashed out this month.
A few weeks ago, I made a fantastic discovery: Real people get spring breaks too! Well, if they want to take them in the spring, that is.
As a professional, I earn magical little things called “FTO (flex-time off) hours” that accrue during every month I work. In my short tenure, I’ve gained enough to go on a 4-night spring-break trip to Puerto Rico with my friends!
(Cue montage of MTV spring break.)
The last you heard from me, I was putting together a real-person budget! This was my first plunge into the world of budgeting, so I didn’t know what to expect: I could end up way under my thresholds (optimistic) or way over them (pessimistic, bordering on realistic),
I’m happy to report that, for the month of February, I kept my income above my total expenses—and actually saved some serious money. Woohoo! That being said, this “success” still showed me a few areas for improvement.