A year ago, I moved from the Bay Area in sunny California to Boston, Massachusetts. People asked me constantly, "Girl, why are you doing this?!" The simple answer was college. The more complex answer was that I knew my dreams would shrivel up and dissipate into thin air if I didn't make a move. I didn't want to be what we call "Baymous," well-known among the small region, but never breaking out to really be known for what I do around the country and around the world. Moving away from everything I'd known for most of my life was an incredible challenge. Over the course of this past year, I've learned some tricks to ease the intense discomfort of leaving consistently beautiful weather, my mama, and the most diverse array of food options behind for something new. If you've just made your move, this should help.
Get familiar with the public transportation system
To be honest, I avoided this when I first moved. I walked any short distances and called a Lyft for any distances that were longer. The day came when I was too broke to call a Lyft, but I needed to get across town. I was going to have to take the train, but of course I got lost. You'll be surprised by how friendly people are when you need to ask for directions. Familiarizing yourself with public transportation is a vital component to establishing your independence in your new city.
Find the good food spots
This will take a combination of asking people, vigilant Yelping and random experimentation. Yes, you will absolutely endure some not-so-tasty meals, but if you're consistent, you'll find those three to five places that you love to frequent when you're hungry and don't want to cook for yourself.
Transfer your hobbies
If you were in a book club in your previous city, try to find one in your new city. Practiced group yoga back home? Practice group yoga here! Were you a regular at open mics? Seek out the best open mics where you are now. This is a great way to meet people who have something in common with you and ultimately make new friends. Being in a new city can feel lonely, but it doesn't have to stay that way!
Trust your decision
There will come a point in your move when you will question this decision hard. You will wonder if you made the right choice, think about what you'd be doing had you never left, consider that crush you left behind and think they would have been your boo by now, etc. You will run the gamut of "what ifs." If you're like me and you took a pay cut, you'll definitely miss those checks. Remind yourself of why you left in the first place. If it was a good enough decision to pack it up then, your reasoning is probably still sound now.
Let it out
Whether you need to write it out, run it out or cry it out, those uncomfortable feelings that you have about being in a new place must be released! Give yourself time and space to process your emotions without censoring them. Remember that it will get better, and that you have so many new adventures to embark upon and new discoveries to make.
What are your best tips for moving? Let us know in the comments!
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Sallie Mae and I have a love/hate relationship. Although on one hand, she came through swift with that guap to finance my tuition, she quickly got disrespectful and utterly belligerent once I crossed the stage. Sallie and her cartel don't care about your post-grad woes, the job market or the economy. When it comes time to pay up, neither El Chapo nor Jimmy Hoffa can hide you from her all-seeing eye.
If Sallie Mae were a real person, here's how our conversation would have gone down throughout the years:
Let me start by saying that I don't take for granted your generosity. I appreciate you looking out for the education of a young sista of humble means.
I know I might have been a little reckless with those undergrad refund checks, but come on, spring break wasn't going to finance itself! #YOLO
I understand that we had an agreement and I fully intend to honor it, but could you please back up and let me switch this tassel?
What the...!? I have no job. I just moved out of the dorms. I am literally a couch surfing nomad. How on earth do you keep finding me with these repayment statements?
"Hello. Yes, this is me. Repayment?" I graduated in the middle of a recession. I'm living off of tips right now. I really don't need this kind of pressure in my life, Sallie!
Oh, word? So you just going to slide off in the DMs with the foolery...and where did all these extra zeros come from?
Hold up...You calling my momma now? Really. This is between me and you, Sallie. Leave her out of this!
Ugh, Sallie! What part of BROKE don't you understand? No, I can't set up a payment plan. That requires income.
Yes! I finally landed a job. Where's the squad? Celebrations are in order.
Oh, so you crashing parties now, Sallie? Word? You're just going to raise a toast to my new job, huh?
Dang it, Sallie! Get off the pole, right now! Stop your twerking...this stack of singles is not for you!
I get it, Salls! I owe you and you're just going to keep showing up in my life until I pay up. Payment plan scheduled. There, you happy now?
Welp, Sallie, we've been through a lot together. But with this last payment, it looks like our time together is coming to an end. Have a nice life.
What about you? Do you and Sallie have the same love/hate relationship? Let us know in the comments below!
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Many people think that RAs are power hungry, arrogant snitches that thrive off of going out of their way to bust up parties and fine residents for having alcohol or overnight guests. Unless you were an RA, or you had friends that were RAs, you probably believe those same misconceptions.
The RA (Resident Assistant) job, also known as CA (Community Assistant) and PA (Peer Advisor), is one of the most underrated and misunderstood college jobs. RAs are not campus police, and contrary to popular belief, they don’t enjoy making the students’ college experience a living hell. To be totally honest, most of the time they don’t even get paid enough money to do so.
The life of an RA is crazy but rewarding.
From dealing with resident issues, promoting a safe environment, conducting meetings, planning programs and — oh, yeah — maintaining a high GPA in school, they are still expected to be a role model to residents and to other students on campus. The amount of experience and skills that one can gain from the position is invaluable, and there are so many long-term benefits that it could have on your career. Even if you don't remain in the student housing industry post-grad, having experience as an RA and just putting it on your resume will have recruiters sliding in your DMs.
I currently work for the #1 student housing company in the US (this is a fact – I’m not just tooting my company’s horn), and it all started because I was an RA for that same company (American Campus Communities) back in undergrad.
Other than the company I work for, there are other student housing companies that hire students early on as RAs, and the skills that they learn can help them gain higher positions with the company (or it can help them get jobs with other companies because the skills they learn are so impressive). Even more, the student housing industry is ever-growing, so it's definitely a career field that one should consider if they're looking for job security.
If you're still in school, I highly recommend you pursue a job as an RA. At many universities, RA recruitment occurs in the fall and spring, so you might have a chance at getting the RA role for the next academic year. As a former RA and now a new General Manager, here are the top reasons why you should consider being an RA while in college:
FREE OR REDUCED HOUSING
Having free housing is one of the best benefits of being an RA (I would be lying if I didn’t admit so). If you don't receive free housing, you might receive discounted rent instead (which is also good). In addition, at some schools and with some student housing companies, you can receive a free dining meal plan, a paycheck, and free or discounted parking. With all of the perks above, you can save you up to $4,000 a semester. We all know the price of rent keeps increasing, so who can argue with having a discount?
AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE A PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOU
Gone are the days when you can live your life recklessly (which you shouldn't be doing anyway). When you're an RA, you're expected to be a role model to others and you serve as an example of what a hard-working student should look like. Whether it's for guidance on how to get around on campus, advice after a break-up, or generic tips on being a student, your dorm leader is there to help. Being an RA, you can no longer live a selfish life, and you're expected to be selfless and a positive leader in all aspects of your job, both on and off campus. In addition, you might be asked to be a part of several service events that occur at your property or on campus. Just being able to help others should be enough of a reason for anyone to want to consider the RA role.
As an RA, you'll learn the following skills that will boost your resume and will give you a leg up on the career competition:
Management and leadership skills – You'll oversee an apartment building or dorm hall, and you're expected to keep everything in the building under control and be able to manage your residents properly. At one point when I was an RA, I had 72 residents, so I was always really busy with managing my building and building a personal relationship with each resident.
Event planning, marketing and budgeting skills – Maintaining a sense of community is vital and mandatory. You'll be expected to create and implement programs that will use your creativity and knowledge to keep residents engaged and interacting with each other. The programs that you'll create and coordinate will help you shape the resident’s college experience, and will also bring traffic to your property. Also, when you are in control of planning the programs, you'll be in charge of the budgeting and cost control for the program. You'll have to figure out how to properly plan a program while staying under budget, and even more, you will have to figure out how to properly market the program. As an RA, you'll learn the different ways to market and how to use different marketing techniques to drive traffic.
Conflict management and counseling skills – Being an RA isn’t always fun. There will be times when there will be physical and verbal fights between residents. At this moment, you learn how to properly manage conflict and how to counsel the involved parties. This experience alone can be helpful in your future endeavors, especially if you work in management.
Experience in sales and how to close a deal – Other than providing a sense of community, one of the most important areas of the RA job is signing leases. Without signing leases with residents, the property that you are an RA at wouldn't thrive, and the job wouldn’t exist. You will undergo training on how to properly market your product (aka your property), and how to sell it to others. You will also learn key sales techniques, how to overcome objections from customers, and how to close the deal and get the lease signed.
FULL-TIME JOB AFTER COLLEGE
As an RA, I had the opportunity to work with a company that likes to hire and promote from within. I served in the position for two years and was able to stay with my company after college (whoop to a full-time job with benefits and more)! Within three short years, between my work ethic and reading amazing self-help books such as The One Minute Manager and Good to Great by Jim Collins, I was able to quickly move up the ladder as an Assistant General Manager, Associate General Manager and now General Manager.
I know many other people that also started out as RAs and now are high-level managers on the student housing property side and on the corporate level. Other than my company, there are many student housing management companies and universities that promote from within and love developing RAs.
Being an RA is just the beginning of one’s career – even after college you can stay with that same company and move up just like I did.
Were you an RA? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!
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In the real world full of job applications, living at home and crippling debt, the rest of the disillusioned college graduates and I try to do the impossible — find any and every way to survive the post-grad struggle. Here are a few necessities of post-college life to help you physically and mentally ball on a budget:
The public library is free and always a good place to disappear and relax, even if just for a few hours. Whether you pick up an old favorite or a new discovery, it's important to keep at least one book around for lengthy commutes or rainy days.
A sturdy set of headphones
I was lucky enough to get Beats headphones this Christmas, but I still keep a spare set of $10 earbuds from Walmart as a back-up. These are perfect to block out unnecessary background noise or make it seem like you didn't hear your mom when she said to do the dishes.
A gym membership
To an impossibly poor post-grad, this might sound like stacks on stacks that you haven't racked. Luckily, Planet Fitness has locations all over the country, and with just a few quarters down and couple Washingtons a month, you can be sweating your way to a high endorphin, stress-free lifestyle!
A certified, foolproof hangover cure
You're getting older, and as sad as it sounds, there's just not as much crazy partying in adultland as there was in college, which all adds up to a drastically lowered tolerance. Heartier dinners, strategic drinking and a stockpile of Gatorade will become your absolute blessings in disguise.
Spotify premium (or any other music streaming service)
Though I'm still living that free subscription life, this upgrade is the ultimate next step in my personal budget factoring. There's always the option to try it free for the first 3 months and cancel when those bills start to get to real.
Access to Netflix
There's always a caring friend out there to lend you their password in a grave time of need. After all, binge watching Grey's Anatomy has been (somewhat) scientifically proven to breed a happier, more medically-educated generation, right?
Your own private space
Moving back home after 4 years of blissful freedom can be incredibly tough on anyone. It's critical to find a space within your house (and outside of it) that you can escape to when you genuinely need to be alone. Filling your old room with updated posters, pictures and college memorabilia might be the slight adjustment you're looking for.
A side hustle
While you're slaving away on LinkedIn, waiting to be blessed with that glorious first entry-level position, find an easy, fun way to help the cash flow. It's always smart to keep a side hustle, even when full-time employment rolls around, because we all know student loans ain't no joke.
Now that all the textbooks are sealed and your thesis is turned in, you'll find that post-college existence consists of almost too much free time — a perfect opportunity to rediscover your true passions. Teach yourself the ukelele, start a blog, knit your grandma some socks — whatever it is, find something you love, anything that will help cheer you up when the weight of the real world gets too heavy.
Something to look forward to
More than half of our generation still lives at home with their parents, so chances are there's at least one close friend from high school in your same boat – still unemployed and chillin' down the street. Hit them up for a happy hour or karaoke night to bring a little bit of that college-level fun back into your social life.
A solid support system
The harsh truth is that this is, without a doubt, going to be one of the hardest times in your life. Every attempt at adulting presents itself with a new, more difficult challenge. Now more than ever, it's imperative to have people in your corner who celebrate with you at your best and have a giant bottle of wine on hand at your worst.
An unwavering amount of perseverance
College was undoubtedly the world of yes – YES to joining some super cool clubs. YES to (barely) passing the semester. YES to staying up until sunrise with some of your favorite people on the planet. So strap on your big kid pants get ready for the kingdom of no: NO, you just aren't the right fit for the position. NO, where are your three years of experience for this entry-level job? NO, don't even think about charging those new clothes to your credit card, you can barely afford a milkshake.
Being tossed into the ocean of adulthood from the safe-haven of classrooms is a treacherous swim for any 20-something on the road to real world survival. The key to weathering the storm is to keep pushing on to calmer waters and to never ever give up.
Congratulations to all the 2016 graduates! The struggle is far too real, but you're definitely not alone.
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Aside from being a television network owner, producer, actress, philanthropist and overall queen of all media, Oprah has also been making the rounds as the authority of the college commencement address for years now. Given her incredible personal testimonial, infallible bounce-back-game and savvy business sense, it's no wonder that she's an undisputed authority on life-gathering. Whether you're fresh up out the cap and gown or well into post-grad life, here are 7 pieces of post-grad advice from Oprah to sustain you when adulating gets real:
"Sometimes you find out what you are supposed to be doing by doing the things you are not supposed to do."
– Howard University, 2007
"You must have some vision for your life. Even if you don't know the plan, you have to have a direction in which you choose to go. You want to be in the driver's seat of your own life because if you are not, life will drive you."
– Spelman College, 2012
"When you’re supposed to do something or not supposed to do something, your emotional guidance system lets you know. The trick is to learn to check your ego at the door and start checking your gut instead."
— Stanford University, 2008
“You will find true success and happiness if you have only one goal. There really is only one, and that is this: To fulfill the highest, most truthful expression of yourself as a human being."
– Harvard University, 2013
"When you're doing the work you're meant to do, it feels right and every day is a bonus, regardless of what you're getting paid."
– Stanford University, 2008
"Each of us has to stand in our own shoes, and the real question is how will you stand in your own? Will you stand in them with humility and compassion and integrity and courage? Well, I'm here to tell you, every day and every experience of your life will give you a chance to make that choice. It still happens to me, every day, all the time."
– Duke University, 2009
"We all stumble. We all have setbacks. If things go wrong, you hit a dead end—as you will—it's just life's way of saying time to change course."
– Stanford University, 2008
Congrats to all the 2016 graduates. This is just the beginning of your adventure!
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If you’re graduating college this spring, I’d like to start by sending you huge congrats! Let’s propose a digital toast to you and all of the times you drowned yourself in espresso to survive those long nights of stuDYING. It’s almost your time and you just can’t wait to be done. I was there once, so I know about every anxious bone in your body. I also know there are some things about post-grad life that I wish someone would have kept it totally real with me about before moving the tassel to the other side.
So that you don’t have experience the mental catastrophe that I did, I’ve decided to give you the 411, inside scoop on premature adulting — life after college.
You’ll have a lot more free time
With the absence of final exams, 20-page papers and extra club meetings and activities after class, your planner suddenly reads: OPEN AVAILABILITY. With this free time, it’s natural, especially if you’re an introvert, to want to hibernate until your life has some sort of value again. But sitting in the house all day thinking about this sudden transition period isn’t going to help. (That actually results in multiple meltdowns.) Instead, find something to take your mind off of your newly-found free time, whether that's reconnecting with old friends, honing a new skill, or branching out of your comfort zone to network. Don’t let time just pass you by while you binge-watch shows on Netflix and Hulu all day.
Finding a job is a job
If you’ve already got a job or some kind of plan lined up after school, congrats! You’re awesome. But for those of you who are still waiting to get that call back from companies you applied to weeks or months ago, don’t wait up. And I don’t mean that to sound negative or harsh. It’s just real, and it’s okay! A lot of post-grads struggle to find their first career after college. Finding an entry-level position can be hard, especially when a majority of them seek a candidate with at least 3-5 years of experience. It's pretty tough to face the reality of this rejection when you’ve spent the last 3-5 years of your life preparing for this exact moment. My advice: Don’t be afraid to talk to people regarding your job search, keep applying (someone will say 'yes' eventually), consider post-grad internships and/or freelance work, and keep doing things to stay polished on what you learned in school.
Moving back home will be a major adjustment
You’ve been away for 4+ years now. So, if you’re moving back home with your parents, good luck. All of a sudden, the freedom of doing whatever you want, whenever you want will be limited or gone. You’ll be back in your high-school bedroom, hoping your mom doesn’t burst in while you’re on the phone, reminding you to clean. But compromising your freedom for a while can come with some pretty cool benefits. If your parents are gracious enough, you’ll get to sleep somewhere rent-free for a while. So, be smart and save some money! This will also give you and your family a chance to spend some quality time together before going off to adult. As much as they nag you, they will definitely miss you when you leave. Neither you nor your parents will be here forever. Embrace the moment!
It doesn’t get better, but you do
You’re going to go through a lot mentally. You’re going to wonder what you should have done differently. You’re going to wonder how different things are going to be in the future. You’re going to beat yourself up about mistakes you’ve made. You’re going to ask yourself a lot of questions about who you are and what you want out of life. You’re just going to think…all the time. Stuff is going to happen that you’re going to have to deal with because you don’t have homework, class or meetings as an excuse to put off your emotions anymore, and unfortunately, it doesn’t get any better. You get better. You start to deal with things like an adult. At first, you’ll throw temper tantrums like a 2-year-old because life isn’t anything like you expected it to be. Then, you’ll start to realize life isn’t what happens to you, it’s how you react to it. Thus, when you switch your perspective into a positive mode, you begin to experience the positivity of life. And that, my friend, makes room for growth and happiness.
Accept your personal journey
With social media and the pressure of society, it’s going to get really hard to accept where you are in your life without comparing it to where others are. As a PR/Media Specialist grad, let me tell you guys something about social media. The goal is to post the good, happy parts of life and sweep everything else under the rug. So, don’t let the idea of digital happiness and success allow you to think others aren’t experiencing moments of sadness and failures as well. The acceptance comes from knowing where you are is exactly where you’re supposed to be, despite what the rest of the world is doing. If you believe there’s a plan for your life, you’ve asked God, the universe, or whatever you believe in to help you get there, then don’t stress. Don’t try to control what you can’t. Instead, control what you can and flow in the direction of the current. You’ll get there when it’s time.
Don’t lose sight of your dream
It’s going to get pretty easy to sacrifice your dream for something that gets the bills and student loans paid monthly. I’m not saying everyone should quit his or her job and fly across the country to pursue whatever, but remember why you started college and know it’s not going to happen overnight for everyone. Even if you’re going to be working somewhere that doesn’t necessarily fuel or spark the passion inside of you, do things that will in your spare time. Just because you don’t have your dream job yet doesn’t mean you have to stop working toward your dream. With all the free time you’ll have, spend at least an hour every day actually learning about what you want to do, doing what you want to do, or talking to people who do what you want to do. Don’t get comfortable with the security of just having your bills paid and become miserable. Do something that actually contributes to your dream, even if it means sacrificing or putting in the work after work.
But what do I know? I’m just a post-grad with big dreams and a pen. Perhaps your life will be absolutely perfect after college, and this post does nothing for you. Maybe you won’t have to experience any of these things, but for those who find themselves able to relate, my final piece of advice when the thrill of graduating is gone and you’re staring adulthood right in the face is to stop and breathe. Everything will be fine if you keep breathing. Remember, breath equates to life. Peace and love to you and your journey.
Writing for the love of culture, all things true, and whatever her soul clings to. Day is a young, black Mississippian trying to connect us all through the creativity of storytelling. Follow her on Instagram @sayheyday to receive updates on her upcoming website.
What are some things you wish someone told you before graduating college? Be sure to let me know in the comment section below!
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Just as there are benefits to living solo, there are certainly upsides to living with a roommate or two. But the hard part of perfecting this situation is choosing the perfect match for you. For just as many success stories, there are also a slew of horror stories associated with sharing a residence. To prevent any potential drama, look for these qualities in your next roommate or roommates:
One of the main reasons that someone chooses to have one or more roommates is to ease the financial burden of rent. But remember, you're potentially signing a lease together and sharing utility bills, therefore it's uber important to protect your credit rating. Have a clear-cut agreement of who will be responsible for what and get it in writing with signatures. It's not personal, just business! Be smart – don't allow yourself the opportunity to be put into a financial bind. Even if you're planning to pair up with friends, this is still so very necessary. They should be expecting the same of you!
This part is a bit tricky, but compatibility plays a huge role in your comfort levels. The night owl/party animal will probably not bode well with someone who is completely opposite. Think things through and discuss differences and expectations in advance.
This is a really big deal. As a matter of fact, you should have an open discussion of how common area cleanliness will be dealt with. One would assume that adults wouldn't need chore charts, but you never know a person's habits until you're too far deep in the game. Set clear expectations and parameters just so there are no surprise conflicts.
This is by far the most important aspect of finding your ideal housemate(s). Since this is very different from living solo, you will need to be considerate of the people you live with. Yes, everyone pays the bills and might feel that they can do anything they want, but it all boils down to respect. No one should have to walk on eggshells, but in the same breath, no one should be made to feel uncomfortable either. Set ground rules early for minimal problems.
Note, you never truly know a person until you actually live in the same space, so please exercise caution and have always have a 'Plan B' just in case things don't pan out as you imagined. Don't dive in head-first, really do your research!
On Saturday, May 21st, we’re hosting our inaugural conference about how creativity and technology are changing our daily lives, from our hobbies to our work. Will you be joining us? Tickets here.
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Don't get me wrong, I love a good happy hour. Although I have a wonderful relationship with my coworkers, I'd just prefer to go on my personal time and leave all office shenanigans at the 5 o'clock hour. At the end of the day, my priorities have shifted tremendously and I find myself, most times, running out the door to pick up my children from daycare on time.
Want to know how I avoided the outings? Well, I wish I had something more profound to reveal, but I actually had a discussion with my boss about it. I noticed that it was seemingly becoming an expectation that we make plans to attend after-hours office gatherings as some sort of team-building/bonding experience and I felt the need to be upfront. I didn't want to be the person who never showed up to anything.
I let my boss know that although I felt bad that I wasn't able to attend the outings, my evenings are accounted for – for obvious reasons! As a wife and mom to young children, it's important for me to maximize what is left of the day with my family. I didn't want to feel pressured, and walking on eggshells at an office happy hour is just not my idea of a fun time, to be completely honest. It's perfectly okay to just not want to go. We spend an awful lot of time in the workplace, and by the end of the day, some just want out.
My priorities are bit different from others, so I want to know if you attend office happy hours. Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!
On Saturday, May 21st, we’re hosting our inaugural conference about how creativity and technology are changing our daily lives, from our hobbies to our work. Will you be joining us? Tickets here.
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