The College Grad’s Guide to Moving Back Home

I recently asked readers for inspiration on a topic that they would want to read about as a college student/grad. One response was, “ways to accept living with your parents after college.”

If you’re a college grad, you’ve probably already adapted to sweatpants, netflix, and endless nagging of the ‘rents. The most important thing to remember during this, what seems like hell, time of your life is that you are not alone.

45% of recent college graduates live at home following graduation.

That’s almost half of all college graduates! You’re extremely lucky these days to have a job ready and waiting, as well as having the money to up and leave. And ‘lucky’ might not even be the best word to describe it. As a college grad who has been sitting on her couch for the last two months, living off of graduation gift money and home-cooked meals, finally receiving a job and signing a lease for my own apartment is all of a sudden not looking all that glamourous – who knew independence would cost so much!

There are ways to survive this, hm, what should we call it? Depression seems a bit dramatic, but it’s sure a good description of what leaving the best four years of your life behind just to move back in with mom and dad feels like.

The college grad’s guide to moving back home:

1. Accept it.
Okay, so, as great as running away sounded when you were a kid, it kind of seems even better now, if that’s even possible. But, just like that time at age six when you packed your bag and set off on your bike, you’d probably only make it a couple of blocks before you realize going home to eat your vegetables might just be easier. The best, and first, thing you can do when moving back home, is embrace it. Look at the bright side: free groceries, free roof over your head, free cable/internet, free air conditioning, free laundry, free, free, and oh yeah, free. The four letter word that could make any heart skip a beat is one you’ll miss when you eventually move out. Not to mention, you also probably have someone doing your free laundry, cooking your free food, and making your free bed. Hm, I already made you realize living at home might not be so awful, huh?

2. Get a job.
Yeah, I know, you’re sitting at your computer sending out twenty copies of your resume a day and you’re busy re-writing your cover letter so it’s bullshitted just enough for that one job, right? Pick up a side job until you get the real job so that 1. you’re saving up for when it’s time to haul ass out of here and 2. you’re not constantly home all day listening to mom and dad. Waitressing, babysitting, work at a day-camp, bookstore, ice cream parlor, lifeguard, whatever! There are tons of jobs that, even if you feel much more qualified with that college degree, can make you money, keep you busy, and most importantly, keep you out of the house! Pajama pants and Netflix can only get you so far my friend, and even if applying to career jobs feels like a full time job in itself, sadly it’s not.

3. Spend time with your friends now, before it’s too late.
Seeing my friends was always one of my favorite parts of going home during the holidays, and just because you’ve officially moved home shouldn’t make it any less special. Soon enough, all of you will have nine to five jobs and will be too tired to even look at each other on the weekends. Spend time with your friends while you still can! Because soon enough you’ll have to schedule days off way in advance for a long weekend away with them!

4. Travel.
You don’t have to go crazy, here. Most people can’t afford a huge trip to another country after graduation (but if you can, go for it!!). But, it’s still nice to have the time to take a road trip with friends or family and see some new places in nearby states! There’s tons of neat places to see that you don’t even know about, so go and check them out while you still can.

5. Don’t dwell on the fact that you’re done school.
It’s easy to look around and feel like tons of people are starting school or will be moving back at the end of August. It’s also easy to start looking into grad school. Here’s the thing, if you don’t have to go back to school, you shouldn’t. It seems like a good idea because ‘you’re not ready to be done’ or ‘you don’t know what you’re going to do with your life’, but in reality, it’s a big waste of money – and time. College grads seem to think of it as an easy way out to put off being a real adult for at least a couple more years. Wait until you have a job that will pay for you to go back to school! Trust me, once midterms and finals roll back around for all your friends still in school, you’ll remember why you’re so thrilled that you never have to write a 25-page research paper again.

6. Look into applying for summer internships.
College graduates tend to look at internships as beneath them, but they can be a really great start! It’s hard to get a job right away, since every one seems like so much experience is needed! You need experience to get hired, but you need to get hired for experience? Ugh, it’s never-ending. But – if you look into internships, paid or unpaid, while living at home, they can be a doorway to a job! Most college graduates who stick out a summer internship end up working for that company. And again, it’s a great way to get out of the house while transitioning into the working world.

7. Remember that your parents are just as much not used to you being home as you are.
Try not to fight with your parents. I know, it’s easier said than done. Parents can be overbearing, nosey, and just plain annoying at times. This time in both of your lives is just as hard on them as you feel it is on you. Hell, those four years went by quicker for them than they did for you. And just because they missed you like crazy, doesn’t mean they didn’t enjoy the peace and quiet (If your mom is Italian like mine is, she’ll never admit it, but I know it’s true!). Here’s the thing, you are now deemed as an adult, whether you like it or not, and it truthfully means you should start acting like one, even if you are living back at home and mommy is putting your clothes away for you. The better you treat your parents, the better they will treat you, and the more likely they are to leave you alone! Just remember, one day you won’t be living at home anymore and even if you can’t wait, you will miss it and you will miss them, so enjoy it while it lasts.

8. Realize that you are not alone (excuse the repetition).
It seems really scary. And maybe two or three of your college or high school buddies have landed themselves jobs and maybe even already moved into their own places. Those two friends can feel like everyone and can make you feel more than discouraged. But if you look beyond those few, you realize most college grads are in your shoes, too. It’s a scary time, it’s a big change, and it feels like it may never end. Just remember that if you keep trying, eventually everything else will fall into place for you, too. This is not the end (even if it feels like it), it is just the beginning.

I promise you, if you could see what I owe for just my first month’s apartment rent (including security deposit, application fee, holding deposit, cable/internet, and utilities) on my entry-level paying job, you won’t be begging to leave home just yet either. After seeing what it costs, I would definitely live at home if I had landed a job that wasn’t out of state. Still, I also know what it feels like to want to hop on that bike and never look back. So, take the good with the bad, take the free meals with the twenty-one questions at the dinner table, and just breathe. Before you know it, this will just be another past time in your life and you won’t be able to believe how quickly it passed.

– C

What are some of your own tips to survive moving home after college? Comment below!

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Are Potential Employers Looking at my Social Media?

As your searching for the ideal job or internship, you may flashback to professors, advisors, mentors, etc. warning you to make sure your social media is clean, or better yet, get rid of it all together! Well, hello 21st century, they were SO right!

91% of employers use social networking sites to screen prospective employees.

If you never thought anything of those warning signs, now is the time to seriously start considering them – preferably before you start handing out your resume! Employers are constantly and consistently checking out your Facebook page, your latest tweet, your #throwbackthursday on Instagram, your LinkedIn, and even your Google+ and Pinterest! YES, you heard me correctly, these potential employers are seeing it all! Even if you think you’re totally private and undoubtedly unsearchable, guess again! Employers have all sorts of hacks to find you and information about you that you might not even know is out there! Take a second from reading this blog (but don’t forget to come back!), open a new tab, and Google yourself. No worries, I’ll wait.

I’ve been on the other side where my supervisors and bosses have received resumes, and before even skimming them, they’re typing the name of the prospective hire into their search bar on Facebook. If they see something they don’t like or “approve of”, such as you in a drunken stooper in that short skirt and crop top, or even a status that is ignorant or unintelligent, they have every right to throw your resume out. It may not seem fair to you, but remember that you are the one posting this to not only your friends, but the public! It’s a big deal and screening social networking is growing to be a more and more common tactic employers use to filter applications. 

69% of employers have rejected a candidate because of something they saw on a social networking site.
The top reasons are due to candidates having lied about their qualification skills, inappropriate photos and comments, poor communication skills, negative comments regarding previous employers, and posting about drug/alcohol use.

Okay, deep breath. Seems a little scary, huh? No worries, there is an upside. Employers don’t always use social media stalking (did I say stalking? I meant screening.) to rule you out. Social media is also an excellent way for employers to “feel out” a candidate. If you’re smart and prepared, you can use your social media to your advantage! Post diverse and cultured status. Share articles that show you keep up with the outside world, and even write your opinions! If there’s an issue that’s grabbed your attention lately, let the social media world know! It’s even possible to direct and cater your posts to the career field your searching for. This is an awesome way to show that you use social media for the right reasons. Post pictures of your assorted hobbies: hiking, cooking, sports, fishing, whatever it is that you do that shows you are a civilized human being who enjoys things besides thirsty thursdays and day drinks. Read a good book or seen an awesome movie lately? Share your thoughts! If you’re at a restaurant with friends, go ahead and check in; just be sophisticated with your post (“Catching up with friends over some great food” is fine!). If you’re attending a fundraiser or benefit, post a status along with some pics! Volunteering this weekend at the local animal shelter? Perfect reason for an update! Show this upscale and responsible side of you, and you’re bound to impress that potential employer and keep your name on the candidate list! 

68% of employers have hired a candidate because of what they saw on a social networking site.
Top reasons including a positive impression of their personality, profile supported qualifications, posts showed creativity and solid communication skills, and profile showed that candidate was well-rounded.

Even in a society fluent in #hashtags, there’s a simple rule that our parents and teachers instilled in us when we were younger: THINK before you SPEAK. The same goes for social media! Think before you post! Ask yourself, Will this come off as irresponsible or unreliable to a possible employer? before posting that status, picture, tweet, repin, etc. Your social media is a true example and give-away to who you are, whether you realize it while posting or not. Double check your privacy settings, go ahead and filter through those old pictures and statuses, and start posting appropriate and mediated updates, and you’re bound to impress that searching employer in no time!

 

 

Statistics received from an info-graphic on the undercoverrecruiter.com. Check it and more interesting facts out here

 

Did you find this post helpful? Have you ever encountered an experience relating to job hunting and social networking? Comment below! Feedback is always welcome and appreciated.

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Ten Interview Questions to be Prepared For & How to Answer Them

As a recent college graduate who has gone on her fair share of interviews (may that phone ring any day now) I’ve be asked tons of various interview questions, from the most common and typical, to the unexpected and bizarre. Here’s a a list you should be ready to answer on your next encounter while job hunting, I’ve certainly heard them all.

1. If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?
Hm, you may be thinking you accidentally applied for a job at a zoo, but don’t be mistaken, this is a common interview question. The interviewer is looking for you to show off your traits, but trying to trick you into being thrown off (sneaky bastards). Don’t panic. Think of an animal, it’s traits and personality, and which one best suits you. I personally tend to answer with dog: personable, energetic, and loyal. But maybe something along the lines of horse: graceful, calm, and friendly, fits you best. Take time to explore the options, the possibilities are endless and it’s an awesome chance for you to impress your interviewer!

2. If you were a day of the week, which one would you be?
Make sure you have an explanation for this. Again, as the animal question conquers overcoming the fear of broadening your personality, the day of the week question brings your temperament and character into the spotlight. Are you relaxed like Sunday, busy like Monday, or rushed like Thursday? Take time to think about what each day means to you, why, and how you appear because of it. Again, don’t be thrown off by questions like this that have an overall simple meaning to your interviewer.

3. If you could be any children’s book, what would you be and why?
There are endless possibilities here to show your stuff, too. Again, your answer needs to have a solid follow-up. Are you the Little Train That Could, because you struggled in finding your passion, but really strive now? Or maybe you’re Winnie the Pooh because you always seem to find a life lesson in everything. Please don’t answer with, “…because I loved when my mom/dad read it to me as a kid!” Corny, unoriginal, and just plain boring.

4. Why should we hire you?
This is the most important question you will be asked during your entire interview. Your answer could set you apart from other candidates and seal the deal that you are the right one for the job. DO NOT, I repeat, do not, make this question about YOU, or how great YOU are and how this job is the next step for YOU. Trust me, your interviewer is not asking you this because they care about YOU. They are asking you this because they want to know how YOU can benefit THEM. Your answer needs to have quality – and it doesn’t even have to be long. This employer solely wants to know what about you makes this position the right one for your shoes, and how these skills and capabilities are going to further their company, not how it’s going to further your own career.

5. What’s your biggest weakness?
This question is a trick, and trust me when I say your interviewer doesn’t want to hear about how you tend to get in drunken fights at the local bar on Saturdays or that you failed college algebra twice. This is a chance for you to take a “weakness” of yours and turn it into a positive. Something along the lines of, “I’m a really organized person and when things aren’t systematic or regulated I tend to take time to make sure that they are.” or, “I work really well under pressure and I enjoy time management, so if there’s not a set deadline, I tend to set them for myself to make sure everything is done in an orderly fashion and is always on time.” Hello, these are not really weaknesses – and that’s the point! You’re the perfect candidate, you don’t have a weakness, duh.

6. Describe (name of company here) to me as if I was just hearing about it for the first time.
Always, always, always do your research on a company before you head to your interview. Read their mission/vision statement, know the CEO’s name, and most definitely spend a great deal of time on the ‘About Us’ page. If you can’t describe the company back to your interviewer, you will come off as unprepared and uninterested in the position, company, and even industry itself. You should also ALWAYS be prepared to answer questions along the lines of, “If you were hired tomorrow, what would you change to help this company?”, “What is our motto?”, “Do you know what social networks we are listed on?”, “Do you know any of our competitors?”, and so on and so on – the list is really endless here, and they could quite possibly ask you nothing at all about the company, but you always want to be ready if they do. Did I say always?

7. What are some of your hobbies?
Your interviewer wants to know that you have some sort of life besides work, even though you made it seem like work is all you think about – right? Go for hobbies that make you seem cultured. Don’t give bland, boring, typical answers such as, ‘hanging out with my friends’ or ‘going shopping’. I’m snoring and so is your interviewer. You like to cook and try new recipes, you enjoy going hiking on a sunny weekend afternoon, you love curling up with a good book, how about playing soccer/softball/flag football with that new pick-up team! Oh, you don’t? Well, you better start, because these are things you can talk about with your interviewer – sort of a break from all the toughie questions – and maybe they can even relate to a few. Hey, your interviewer loves trying new recipes – how about that?! And please, don’t lie, they almost always follow up with questions about one or two of your hobbies, and you don’t want to start sounding like a dope now, especially because this is one of the easiest questions to encounter on an interview. (Blogger side note: Maybe it’s just me and my sneaky-[busi]ness, but I like to search for my interviewer on Twitter or FB, especially if they’re younger, and try to find something they’re interested in or been tweeting about lately! Nothing like coincidentally relating to the same thing, huh?)

8. What was the last book you read for fun?
This question is almost always followed up by, “Who was it by?” or “What was it about?” So again, I beg of you, please don’t lie. If your last book was 50 Shades of Grey or Harry Potter or something ungodly such as Twilight, please, please, please have a different book in mind. Your interviewer doesn’t want to hear about Christian Grey and Anna’s first, ehem, ‘date’; believe me on this one. Also, never answer that you haven’t read a book recently, or even since you were last assigned one in school. At the very least, have the title of a book and a short synopsis of it in mind. (Blogger side note: If you haven’t picked up a book recently, do so – if not for the interview, than for yourself.)

9. When can you start? and, Are you willing to re-locate/travel?
IMMEDIATELY and YES. There are no other answers to this question – ever – even if the answer is ‘not until after the 4th of never’ and ‘no, I’m happy where I’m located currently.’ Say it with me, immediately and yes! Now, repeat it to yourself. If your answer is anything else, you are guaranteed to throw the interview from the second the words leave your mouth. You at least want the chance to be offered the job before you turn it down because of location. If you should be asked these questions, you know no other words besides, what? Right, immediately and yes!

10. If I were to call your first listed reference, what would they say about you?
This can be kind-of a toughie. You don’t want to come off cocky, but you also don’t want to appear weak. Here’s the thing to remember, your references are your references for a reason, and that reason is: because they will say good things! Your interviewer knows that just as much as you do, they just want to know that you can live up to the hype. Go for something simple here and stick to valuable personality traits and relatable skills such as, “She/He would probably say that I’m a hard worker and very goal oriented.” Just make sure that these aren’t traits about yourself that you’ve repeatedly said throughout the interview in similar questions about describing yourself, and definitely don’t be arrogant or coincided. It’s alright to act a little shy and modest here, but also have an answer that relates to why this person is your reference.

The list could go on forever. I’ve been through interviews where I’ve been asked five questions, and I’ve been through interviews where I’ve been asked thirty. It all depends on the company and the interviewer – but remember, it’s better to be overly prepared than under. Always be ready to answer at least five words that best describe you, a challenge you’ve faced and overcome (best if it applies to the field/job you’re going for), where do you see yourself in 3/5/10 years, etc.

The best thing you can do in an interview is be YOU! It’s been said that an interviewer knows in the first three minutes of an interview if they would like to hire the candidate or not. Appear happy, friendly, and approachable, but not overly-excited (you’ll seem fake!). Do not be nervous, do not have chipped nails (girls!), dress professionally, have a firm handshake, and bring a copy of your resume. The most important part of an interview is to talk. Turn the interview into a conversation. If your interviewer is planning to talk to you for an hour, and has thirty questions to get through, by the time that hour is up, you want them to have only asked you half – because you’ve been so prepared and you clearly know what you’re talking about!

I wish all of you job-hunters the best of luck, even though you don’t need it 🙂

– C

Have you ever been asked an odd or unexpected question during an interview? How’d you handle it? Have your own tricks to answering questions during an interview? Share in the comments below!

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The Ultimate College Bucket List: Four Years, Endless Fun

Sure, sure, we go to college to get an education. But there’s no denying that there is endless fun to be had in those four years that fly by all too quickly. The following is (what I think to be) the ultimate college bucket list – some of which I was lucky enough to check off myself, and others I wish I had done!

 

1. Get a bunch of your friends together, guys and girls, and hit up the nearest strip club. There is nothing more fun than tossing a few back while getting to experience a fun night of throwing dollar bills in the air and laughing about it the next morning! College might be the only time this is acceptable, so go out and do it!

2. Road trip to another school, preferably on one of their biggest well-known party weekends (example: State Patty’s at PSU) or even a trip to Atlantic City/the nearest casinos! It’s fun to let loose with your friends somewhere besides your regular college-town bars and have a weekend away!

3. Run a 5k with your friends. Go online and find a 5K close to your school and sign up! There’s nothing like getting a group together for a fun day, a good workout and a great cause!

4. Hike, explore, or find an out-doorsey adventure. Some of the best days in my college career were the ones where we took a break from day-drinking on a Saturday or Sunday and found a mountain to hike, a lake to swim, or quarry to explore! There are so many neat places, you just have to go and look for them.

5. Attend a sporting event. There’s nothing better than dressing up in your favorite team’s gear and heading to a tailgate and game! Or head out to a minor league game (they’re usually cheaper, anyway!).

6. Host an unforgettable party. Sure, you’ll attend plenty of awesome ‘keggers’ and all-nighters throughout your college career, but everyone needs to hold at least one of their own that people won’t be able to stop talking about the entire next week. Even if it takes you three days to clean and costs you a noise violation from the police, it’s a story you’ll want to tell for years to come. “Remember that time we threw that one party and…”

7. Take at least one spring break trip with all of your friends to somewhere tropical. You’ve put in the work all semester, and the warm weather is finally back. No reason you shouldn’t book yourself a seat on the next plane to somewhere where the drinks come garnished with pineapples. There is a reason college spring breaks are so long!

8. Host a Pinterest party. This one is for the girls. Get a bunch of your girlfriends together, set a date, and host at your place. Tell every house of girls to be in charge for a separate thing (appetizers, dessert, entree, drink, craft, etc.), have them find a recipe/idea on Pinterest, and bring it over that night! Everyone gets to make something new AND try something new! It’s a ton of fun and you can finally put those hours of pinning to good use.

9. Have a slip’n’slide. Who said it was only for little kids? On a warm day, grab a tarp, a hose, some dish soap, and a ton of friends for a day of slippery fun! (Keg not needed, but highly suggested)

10. Stay up one night just to watch the sunrise. Whether it’s after stumbling back from the bar, indulging on pizza and talking until the sun comes up, or just a long night of heart-to-hearts and wine with the girls, you need to have at least one night that turns into mornings with friends who’ve turned into family.

11. Volunteer. There is nothing more gratifying than doing something for someone else with a good group of friends. The parties will always be there, but it’s good to get out there and do something for others every once in a while!

12. Hit up a Chuck’E’Cheese. This sounds ridiculous, but is actually awesome. The best time to go is during or after a stressful finals week. Nothing allows you to feel like a kid as much as a couple of hours playing some arcade games does! (Sidenote: You ARE allowed in a Chuck’E’Cheese without a child – you’re just not allowed in the tubes!)

13. Have a giant sleepover in your living room. Gather up the roommates and lug those mattresses out to your living room! Fill up your wine glasses, make some yummy snacks, and rent at least three Redboxes. These are the nights you’ll remember why you love college!

14. Make “house goals” and try to accomplish them throughout the semester/year! It’s always fun to sit down with the roommates and make a list of silly things you’d love to say you did! To make it even more fun, have each goal worth a certain amount of points. Each roomie can add up their points and designate a prize for the winner!

15. Get into the bar at least once before your 21 (and don’t get caught!). I’ll never forget the first time I was able to sneak into the bar at the age of 19. I thought it was so cool to be able to hang out with my older friends and have drinks handed to me!

16. Have a “bottle night”. Who said these were just for sororities/fraternities? Host (or attend) a party where everyone gets really dressed up and has a date – Each pair brings their own bottle of choice!

17. Host a game night. Break out the monopoly, twister, candy-land, etc. and call all your friends! It’s fun to get together and kick back – you’re in for a good night and a lot of laughs!

18. Go horseback riding. Find a nearby farm/ranch and grab some close friends to embark on something fun and different for the day! There is nothing more relaxing than putting down the cellphones and having a fun time outside with your new animal friends! Some places even offer an outdoor dinner and/or bonfire following your ride – so check out some places near you!

19. Head out to a school sporting event! Unless you come from a school such as Penn State, it’s not always second nature to wake up on a Saturday, put on your school’s colors and grab a seat at the football/baseball/basketball game. But these experiences are fun and they need to be had every once and a while!

 

How many of these things have you crossed off your college bucket list? Can you think of any others? I’d love to hear – Comment below 🙂

Top College Regrets

College is the #1 time you ever really get the chance to “find yourself” – and it isn’t always an easy journey. Since graduating, I tend to look back and dwell on my last four years, it’s hard not to. I’ve found myself with some regrets, and I find that other college grads have some of their own.

The following are not necessarily my regrets, but more-so a collection of generalized ones I’ve collected over the years, and ones that I’ve noticed friends and peers gather as well.

 

1. Not getting involved in campus clubs/organizations sooner. Most freshman are intimidated, or maybe think they’re “too cool for school” (literally) as a first semester student. You’re having enough of a hard time making friends, adjusting to a new place, and attempting to wake up for your 8am alone. You’re overwhelmed and you can’t imagine adding one more thing to your plate. But, looking back, I, personally, wish I had gotten involved sooner. I graduated as President of one club and Vice President of another, but wasn’t involved until close to the end of my second semester. Some of my best memories (and friends!) came from the campus organizations I joined. The sooner your get out there and join a club or two, the sooner you broaden your horizons.

2. Meeting a boy/girl and immediately dating them. I used to be someone who thought I’d find my forever-significant other in college. I actually counted on it. And I know a lot of people who hope to, too. But the truth of the matter is, it’s hard. There are the few people who actually do fall in love during their time away at school and actually stay together following college, but it’s rare, especially in our generation. The biggest mistake I see college-aged kids making is picking a person and staying with them, even if they’re toxic together, solely because they think that they need to, or even that they’re supposed to. I’ve watch so many peers, friends, classmates, myself, etc. lose out on years of just being themselves because they’ve dedicated so much of the college careers to someone who, in reality, they knew they probably wouldn’t end up with. Do yourself a favor, and take time to get to know people before settling down. You might thank yourself in the long run.

3. Skipping so many classes. Sure, it felt like no big deal at the time. But looking back, it’s important to attend your courses. That C might have been a B with a better attendance score come the end of the semester. Those fifteen weeks fly by, there’s no reason to be missing so many classes and throwing away your money. There are people who can’t afford and education and would be happy to sit in that seat, so don’t take it for granted.

4. Not listening to that one professor who just wanted to see you succeed. It’s hard to not fight back with a professor who seems unreasonable, bossy, or just plain annoying. But in the end, all professors want their students to pass and succeed in life. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be wasting their time teaching the classes. I’ve come to realize that as my four years were dwindling to an end, there were more professors I loved and still kept in touch with over ones who I disliked and never thought of following the final exam. They’re passionate about the subject and they’re passionate about you. Think twice the next time you want to brush one of your professor’s annoying habits off, because they’re only doing it for one reason, and that reason is you.

5. Not calling home more. Your parents realize it’s time to let you wander (although they may never let you wander too far) and they might not always be the first to call you. Well, not at least after freshman year. However, they are sitting there, every night, patiently waiting and hoping for their phone to ring and for it to be your name on the caller ID. I remember calling home and ending up talking to my mom for hours on end without even realizing how much time had passed, because it had been that long since I had last spoken to her. It’s important to remind your parents every once in a while that you miss them, because even though you think of yourself as an adult in the college world, you are always their baby (and they are ALWAYS worrying!).

6. Trying to please everyone. If you’re a college grad, you damn well know that it’s not possible. If you’re early into your years of school, you might not have realized it yet. It is self-draining to make everyone happy and in trying to do so, you will certainly lose your own happiness. While you think you are being fair you are not being fair to the most important person in your life – you. It’s hard to balance the never ending schoolwork, the many of new friends you’ll meet over four years, roommates who want to drink every night of the week, family who is now not under the same roof, high school friends who want you to visit, the boy/girl from down the hall you’ve been seeing, etc. College is about balancing your time and being selfish so that you balance it to fit your own happiness. The sooner you realize you cannot please everyone, the better off you will be. The people who are meant to be in your life will always be there and will always understand.

7. Not getting a job. You don’t have to work away your college life, but it’s nice to not always call mom and dad and ask them to refill your bank account at least once a week. If you don’t have to work endless hours on top of school work, then don’t. But pick up a babysitting job around the town occasionally, walk dogs for an extra buck, or pick up one of the many jobs available on campus. There are countless jobs for every college student worth the little extra cash flow, even if it means giving up a thirsy Thursday here or there.

8. Going to college with high school friends and never taking the time to make new ones. For me, I went away to college with one of my very good girlfriends. We decided not to room together and although we knew we would always be friends and could always call upon one another, we didn’t hang out all that much, yet our friendship never, ever dwindled. We were the lucky ones. I see so many people go to college with their friends, most of them who decide to room together, and never, ever meet new people. Sometimes, it’s just that, they are forever friends who never got the opportunity to gain new ones. And then there are others, who, within their first two years, want to kill each other and end up not being friends at all. In that case, you just lost a great friend and you lost x-amount of years of the chance to meet new people.

 

In the end, it all made us who we are today. If I had to go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing, because it was the experience of a lifetime; the best four years of my life. But for all you undergrads, some of these “regrets” might seriously be worth a second thought!

I’d love to hear from you about some of your college regrets! Comment below and share!

It’s More Than Just Talk. Communication Studies: “What do you want to do with that?”

No matter the major, no matter the university you attended, we all dread the terrifying question: “What do you want to do with that?” Unless you’re walking away with a degree in nursing or teaching (which come with enough terrifying questions of their own, god bless you grads), it’s hard to explain exactly what you picture doing with your life. It’s even harder to explain to your mother’s, cousin’s, son’s, wife who, in reality, probably doesn’t even care. But, because you spent the last four years or so perfecting this damn science, you feel that you at least owe it to yourself to have a good answer to this question (that if you hear one more time you might have to excuse yourself for another margarita), right?

The truth is, you probably don’t know the answer to this question. Or at least not an exact answer to this question (and if you do, the rest of us secretly hate you, don’t take it personally).

I changed my major once throughout my college career. This was a big deal, since I went off to school eighteen years young (it felt older then, trust me), knowing everything there was to possibly know about the world and the people in it (duh), and thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I was an Electronic Media major and I was so set on sticking with it.

I have never been more wrong.

I was in a department with professors who told me to leave, peers who fed off of competing with one another, and a whole lot of C’s at the end of my first semester.

Besides knowing that this was not what I wanted to do with my life, I knew I was lost. I felt confused and distressed. The one and only class I looked forward to attending was my public speaking course, which my professor found as odd, seeing as how most of the kids have to take the class at least twice if they want a decent grade. I awkwardly had to sit through one girl cry herself through a speech, another run out of the room during, and one who – I swear, I could not making this shit up even if I tried – threw up immediately following. Let’s just safely assume they’re all nurses or teachers now 🙂

Because I had found my newfound admiration for the College of Liberal Arts and every course, professor, club, and student that came with it, I made the official switch to Communication Studies in the middle of my sophomore year.

From the bottom of my heart, I can honestly say majoring in Communication Studies was the best, no, the greatest thing I ever decided to do.

If you’re a Communication major, you probably know that f-ing awesome feeling of saying the very last line of your speech. You spent an hour the night before in your bedroom mirror, or maybe in front of your roommates, perfecting the tone of your voice to say that ending, I know, I know. And you probably rocked it. You also well know the feeling of accomplishment when you hand in your twenty-five page research paper or your public relations campaign media kit. Damn, does it feel good to see your name on that cover page. You’ve never felt prouder than sitting in a gen-ed course on syllabus week and hearing the echoing moans of students around you when your professor announces that there will be presentations. Psh, you’re used to that stuff, it’s what you do. You’re probably also beyond familiar with all-nighters, group projects (which really should just be re-named “the biggest headache you’ll ever encounter”), and mental, sometimes even physical, break-downs from what seemed like never-ending many speeches, campaigns, projects, and research papers. I can’t help but to notice that some tend to look down on those who choose a path along the lines of Communications. And that’s because they’ve never experienced it. And damn, do I feel sorry for them. People see our major as something easy, a ‘get out of jail free card’, or even just plain unimaginative. They’ll never have that pride, that feeling of family within a classroom, or that connection to their degree. And that’s okay, because they’re probably in a major that suits them and their personality just fine. But we, we Communication majors know that fine just isn’t for us.

 

So the next time you encounter a Communication major, and you even dare to ask them, “What are you going to do with that?”, maybe they don’t know exactly what this field has in store for them, but you might want to be prepared – because talking is what we’re good at.

 

 

– C

College was the pre-game to life. Hello world, this is me.

Hello world. I am a recent college graduate from the tiny, perfect, occasionally hell-like, Kutztown University. Forty courses, one internship, experimental all-nighters with Adderal, involvment with two campus organizations, a whole lot of tequila, endless papers, and a ton of memories later, here I am. I hold a diploma – well, will hold a diploma as soon as they decide to mail me mine… – that reads “BA Communication Studies” and a whole bunch of other crap w/a president or a staff member’s copied signature. I still think I should have minored in napping.

Is it just me, or did those four years go by a little too quickly? Don’t get me wrong – I was more than ready to leave. But now what? I’m back at home with my new roomies, mom and dad, applying to numerous jobs a day with a resume that may or may not be correctly formatted (because apparently there’s twenty-six different ways of writing one) and a cover letter that constantly has to be edited to fit this job description which I am probably not viewed as applicable for because you need two years of experience in just gaining experience. Ugh. Remind me again why we always desired to grow up so quickly. If this is adulthood, I’m going to need more margaritas.

I have faith that my experience and hours of work over the past four years will eventually land me with a job. You should, too, so don’t panic. But over the past couple weeks of my new-found “adulthood”, I’ve come to realize a few things…

1. Finish the damn application. Even if it cuts into an hour and a half of your Netflix addiction. Maybe the company just wants to see who is willing to finish the entire application, because they’re probably the candidates worth an interview. No one ever said that applying to job postings was going to be easy – but in the end, it’s (supposed to) be worth it.

2. Networks are important, but never a guarantee. Sure, you’ve spent the last half of a decade making connections. But just because your dad’s, co-worker’s, brother works at some company you’ve never heard of, and maybe even gets your resume to the top of the pile, doesn’t mean you have the job. Keep in mind that if you’re lucky enough to get an interview due to a connection of a connection, you better be prepared because to this interviewer, you’re just another entry-level, college graduate.

3. Keep building your resume. Just because you’re done school does not qualify you as experienced. A company doesn’t want to hire someone who sat on the couch following their graduation date. Take initiative. Start freelancing, blogging, researching – whatever. A diploma is not an excuse to call it quits until an opportunity arises (which also does not happen by magic, go figure.)

4. Do not envy your peers who are seemingly “doing better” than you. Trust me, I know the feeling of seeing “Congratulate so-and-so on their new job” on your LinkedIn timeline. You’re thinking, ‘oh, please, I’m more qualified than her/him!‘ And so you may be. But hey, green was never your color and your professors prepared you that it is a dog eat dog world out here. There is no reason to feel discouraged. If anything, be happy for those surrounding you and know that this, too, means there’s a fighting chance for you! Your time will come; just be patient and keep working your ass off doing what you’re good at.

5. Don’t stress. Don’t panic. Don’t spend too much time treading the water just to forget how much you’ve always loved to swim. Take every job application and every interview with a grain of salt, a slice of lime, and a shot of tequila (afterwards, of course). You are no where near as lost as you think you are. Your opportunity will come. Visit new places, learn a new hobby, dream big. Do all the things you’ve always wanted to do because now is your chance to do so. Twenty-something is not nearly as old as we like to think it is. You were lucky enough to walk away from four years (maybe five) of college with at least some of your sanity still intact, so don’t blow it now – no matter how many people ask you the terrifying question, “What are you going to do, now?” Tell them that you? You are on your way.

 

Happy job hunting,

– C