Life at a Standstill

I’m at a standstill already.

I go to work at my part-time retail job. I come home. I sleep. I rinse and repeat.

My days off are spent comfortably on my couch staring at my computer screen.

Searching through countless job listings, rewriting my cover letter, giving up and staring at Reddit for the remainder of the day.

In fact, I stopped looking entirely.

It’s all about who you know in this world, and unfortunately, I don’t know anyone with these connections.

On occasion I see a friend and have a fun few hours.

But.

I don’t see a way out. August will come, and I won’t be packing my bags to join my friends at the little bubble we call college.

It feels like a summer vacation, wasting away my days in the air conditioning.

Yet, that’s the problem.

I’m wasting away my days.

I’m fine with my part-time retail job for this summer. It is allowing me to enjoy my last ‘free’ summer.

Well it should be, if I would take advantage of it.

But

This begs the question:

How long after graduation am I still considered just a ‘recent grad’ as opposed to a ‘failure’ for being career-less?

How much longer do I have to find a job before I’m looked down upon for having a degree, living at home, and only working a part-time retail job?

How much longer until I can escape this pause, and press the play button to resume my life?

I don’t want to sell out.

I just want to find a career, and  be happy with the one I find.

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College Graduation: The Saddest of All the Milestones

College graduation is the saddest of all the milestones.

Well, okay. It’s really exciting. I mean here I am, thrust into the so-called ‘real world’, ready to make money, live on my own, travel, learn new responsibilities, find a husband (lol just kidding on the husband-part) and be an ‘adult’. And will I soon move out of my parents’ house, find a salary job, and go create my own life? Let’s hope so… But that’s a post for another time.

Today I want to focus on graduation (mostly because I’ve refused to focus on the dirty g-word all semester).

As the day of doom approached, I felt cool, calm, and collected. I was frequenting the bar, spending time and money with friends, and all around enjoying the last of my college days.

What sucked though…is that I didn’t (and arguably still don’t) realize that my college days were soon to be over. Sure I knew in the back of my head. Why else would I go out on a Tuesday night or try to explore the entire city where my college was located in the last few weeks that I’ve neglected to explore in the entire four years in which I lived there?

Subconsciously I was freaking out.

I was spending money I barely had (my bad bank account). I wasn’t sleeping well for literally weeks on end (zombie status). I was eating my feelings  (just in time for bikini-season). I was trying to reconnect with people that I barely knew (and will definitely never see again).

I was sucking in all that is the “college-experience”.

And as the day got closer, I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t nervous, and I wasn’t anxious. I was secure in the fact that I was graduating and ready to move on. I needed a new space, a new time, a new face. I was sick of the same people, the same town, the same classes. I wanted to make money, find my passion, grow. I was ready.

And then the weekend came.

The candlelight baccalaureate service on our college’s front lawn was beautiful. That’s when it first started to hit me. Tears silently filled my eyes as I struggled not to scream, sob, freak out. As soon as the seniors in various a cappella groups from campus began to sing the Irish Blessing “May The Road Rise Up To Meet You“, I lost it. Not only was this indicative of my college career ending and beginning a new chapter of my life, but OF COURSE the country I happened to study abroad in was Ireland.

Like, really? It HAD to be that song? 

Memories flooded my brain. Images of the friends, mistakes, blessings, anger, happiness, parties, and education I had at college slid across my mind like a slideshow.

Fast forward to later that night, in the local bar that I happen to love with a few of my best friends, enjoying the last beer we’d have there for awhile. We chatted a bit about graduation and how weird it was, but it felt like an ordinary night at that bar. Not the eve of our college graduation…

I don’t think I slept for more than 3 hours that night. I woke up late, as per usual, took a fast shower, attempted to apply make-up and put on my best fake smile.

This was it. This was the day that I had been working towards not only for the past four years of my life, but for the past 22. I was graduating college. 

Black circles under my eyes from many sleepless nights were only appropriate for my graduation day, as they were the symbol of my college life; whether I lost sleep due to staying up late finishing a paper and studying, or partying well into the early hours of the morning.

The ceremony was a blur. I try to remember, but only 3 weeks later and I hardly can. All I remember is that gut-wrenching feeling, and yet at the same time the avoidance of the fact that this could be the last time I sat in that school’s gym.

On graduation day, I barely saw any of my close friends from college. After the ceremony, I had a nice brunch with my family, packed up out of my college house, and began the hour drive home alone.

Um, thank God it was only an hour. The SECOND I fastened my seat belt, the tears came. And I am not talking some silent-cry like I’ve quietly done in my adult-life whenever I’ve come across a bad situation. I’m talking a SOB. A loud, painful-sounding, gasping-for-air sob.

That sob lasted the entire way home.  This is when it hit me. The last four years went by so fast. Freshman year felt like yesterday. I have met some of the best, crazy, smart, interesting people in the world. I had new experiences, new places, and new situations under my belt. And now it was all over. 

I remember feeling like I was going through a break-up, like Muhlenberg College dumped me and kicked me to the curb. I felt heart-broken.

And before this depressing-self-rant goes too far, I will leave you with this advice:

1. Don’t work at a card/gift store directly post graduation. It will only depress you to see people shopping for high school grad gifts, and make you think “UGH THEY’RE SO LUCKY, THEY STILL HAVE ALL OF COLLEGE.”

2. If you have to work at a card/gift store post graduation, go read through all of the inspirational sayings on cards and gifts…You might just come across this:

“You can’t move on to the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”

3. The next chapter can (and probably will) be better than the last. College was great; it gave you perspective, experiences, and friends. You don’t have to let these things go, in fact, take these with you as you move on to the next chapter.

I truly believe, when given the chance, the ‘real-world’ can be just as fun and rewarding as the college experience was.

And I’m excited to find out just how great it can be!

(But really, this is how I feel about graduating)

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Are Student Loans Stunting Our Maturity?

As I sit here on my parent’s couch over Easter break listening to Steve Angello’s Essential Mix at 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night… I begin to foresee my future.

**Fast forward 6 months. Diane is sitting on her parent’s couch on a Friday night eating a box of Cheez-itz alone with her dog, watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall or some other movie she has already seen 7 times previously.**

Let me start this off by saying I am both optimistic and greatly excited for my “future” in the “real world”; however, I can’t help but notice all of these drawbacks that may trip me as I attempt to leap into adulthood, forcing me to fall flat on my face. And so, it becomes easier to sit on the sidelines under the protection of adolescence than to take the step forward. However, I would argue that it is not only easier, it is almost becoming necessary for young adults to remain “stuck” as children for a longer period of time. And for that, I blame the expenses of college.

To elaborate, why do I foresee my future as spending countless Friday nights sitting on my parent’s couch? Because I don’t see myself being able to financially afford moving out of my parent’s house for <undocumented period of time>. And when I am home, I am boring. Suburbia isn’t exactly the party-scene of America…

Why won’t I move into a city? Oh, I’d love to! However the expenses of city-living and my student loans loathe each other, and I feel as though there would be a lot of tension in the apartment if all three of us attempted to live together. And since I’ve been with my student loans longer, I chose them as my premier roommate.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Student loans= living at home=not living in city= boring social life. 

And so I will remain stuck (luckily stuck, but stuck nonetheless) in my parent’s house, with a refrigerator full with food, Mom’s home-cooked dinners, and free Wi-Fi/cable (‘free’ meaning I personally don’t have to pay for it…)

These are all basic necessities as well as luxuries that I am SO thankful for- Thank GOD I have parents that will let their liberal-arts-degreed daughter mooch off of their Wi-Fi and Cheez-its until she gets a decent job and can start to afford both student loans and a crappy studio apartment with 6 other roommates in some unappealing area of some city some where.

However, as more and more college graduates are forced to move back home due to this vicious cycle of post-college-poorness, are their maturity levels being stunted?

I feel as though having this luxury of ‘home’ will only start to inhibit my attempts to ‘grow up’. I won’t have to budget myself or even my time for food and other basic amenities. College has spent its last four years attempting to teach me how to survive on my own, yanno with a meal plan but it still tried- yet will all that go to waste the more time I spend at home post-grad? Will I start to regress to my high school dependancies?

It is difficult to learn how to grow up until you fully submerge yourself into the life of an adult, and living at home prevents you from doing so.

When looking at past generations, they were moving out, getting married, having children well before or around my age of 22. WHAT. I cannot even imagine that lifestyle. Sure, our generation seems to focus more on careers and so that could be why all of this marriage-nonsense is getting pushed back for us, but could it also be because we simply cannot afford it? That education costs so much that we spend a good amount of our early twenties just coping with the idea of how to pay for food/housing/bills/etc on top of our loans?

I am so grateful that I have a place to live after graduation come May, but my only concern is that the more time I spend at home, the less I will grow up, that the financial burden of student loans forcing me to stay home will stunt my urge to mature into a fully functioning adult. That it will be too easy to be my parent’s little girl using their Wi-Fi and eating their entire boxes of Cheez-its in one sitting…

As much as I love calling my parent’s house my home, as much as I love coming home on the holidays, and as much as I am not ready to leave it quite yet- I hope one day soon I am ready to, mentally, emotionally, and financially.

To summarize, I want this home to be a place I *can* come back to, not one I *have* to because of the pressures of student loans.

22 Images That Made Me Scratch My Head and Think “..but why?”

I joined the world of smart phones in June 2012 after my trusty, but evidently dumb ENV-3 decided to stop working as a phone, refused to allow certain letters to show in texts, and the screen popped off… thus becoming entirely useless, except for the awesome street-cred I got when showing up to parties with this guy:

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Jokes

Once I was finally united with my baby (otherwise known as my Galaxy Nexus) I began to see the world in a whole new way. AKA I started taking note of the odd, hilarious, and ironic images around me, especially while at college. (I mean, college is a strange concept anyway: Let’s place all of these confused kids together on a block, take away the adults, and see what happens….)

SO, here are the 22 strangest, funniest, or most ironic images I have captured while at this strange institution called college, things that I have noticed and just thought to myself “…but why?”

1. The important staples of any college party: 5 pieces of cheese, a few crackers, brownie crumbs, a solo cup…and a Natty. 

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Clearly they don’t offer a “How to Host a Proper Gathering” course, here. At least you can wash down the half a piece of cheese you manage to acquire with some oh-so-delicious Natty light.

2. I think they’re doing “vegetable” wrong…

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How to get that beefy flavor without having to chew it!

3. Birthday wan-tan.

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The name says it all. For when you want the celebration but not the cake.

4. Birthday Explosion.

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This might be a fire-hazard…

5. College student, or culinary genius?

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Nutella & PB on one piece, mustard and cheese on the other…

I’ll admit this was me…it seemed like a good idea at the time…

6. Lovely and affordable wall decor for the student on a budget.

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Lookin’ like a fool with yo’ pants on the wall.

7. Pants on the wall with a plastic pony in them.

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Because that makes perfect sense…

8. A pair for every room in your tiny college-owned house makes it feel more like home.

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I think we’re really onto a new trend here…

9. Don’t forget your classy table settings.

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Make sure it’s crappy alcohol- the cheapest empty handle of vodka will make the best looking vase.

10. Childhood toys can also be used for decorating your college housing. 

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Check to see if it’s in some weird assortment that will probably fall down soon though- it keeps the suspense high.

11. This…just this… 

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Rollin’ wit da homiez.

12. Closet door removed from the closet can also make a convenient coat rack!

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Or it can be left on the closet and remain a convenient coat rack…

13. Moochers gonna mooch.

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Ladybug drinking my beer….anything for a free drink around here.

14. The mathematical equation proving that God exists?

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Or studying for finals for different classes made everyone a little crazy….

15. That…seems illegal. 

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16. At least we’re all mature here.

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Located conveniently in the bathroom so you can take notes as you do your doodie.

17. Fire pit gone horribly wrong.

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Or amazingly right?

18. Kiddie pool on top of deck? 

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Why not? We have “adult” supervision.

19.  I question my test taking abilities…I question even more how they work out for me…

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But I’m glad they do.

20. My Photo notes.

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Use a filter, and burn the THC? I swear this is about photography and not marijuana in any way….

21. The perfect place for Mr. Potato Head.

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Clearly that dish washer isn’t ever used for its intended purpose…

22. Sudden sleep for women- the new roofie?

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Like…why does this exist?

And there ya have it, 22 things I have seen that have struck me as sharing-worthy to celebrate my 22nd birthday. (Okay, I just threw that in there, the number was a coincidence.)

**Some of these strange things were my own doing…I’m not sorry…Pants are a convenient decoration and I love playing with toys. 

A New Year, A Not-So-New Me

And so we arrive in the year 2013, the year of change as you all make your resolutions to lose weight, be a better person, fall in love, yadda yadda yadda.

My resolution? Keep my sanity as I graduate college and enter the world of “adulthood”. Or should I change that to : Accept the fact that I will be entering the world of “adulthood”? 

I have been attending school for as long as I can remember, from pre-pre school all the way to college. And in May, after 18 years of only knowing how to survive as a student, I will be thrust into the demanding universe of job-finding and paying off all of those student loans.

As I was shopping with mom yesterday, I came to the harsh realization that I am no where near ready to be an adult; not for the stereotypical working-my-life-away-in-order-to-pay-the-bills-lifestyle that I think of when I think of growing older.

We walk into Charlotte Russe where my mom points out a pair of nice dress pants that were on sale. I nod in agreement that they were in fact nice…. and on sale… and without a second glance I run to some brightly colored items hanging on a clearance rack. Needless to say, I walk out of the store with newly purchased leggings and a hot pink bandeau.

Not quite the professional attire that I could wear to the workplace…

Thinking back to all of the things I have bought in the last year, no professional attire, shoes, or accessories were on the list. In fact, I own more tutus than I do dress pants. None of my skirts are length-appropriate, and my shoes are entirely way too high to ever walk into an office.

Is this my way of avoiding the real world? I look more forward to upcoming parties, raves, and festivals than I do graduation day. Graduation is barely even on my radar.

Am I neglecting to purchase or even care about professional attire as some sort of subconscious protest to growing up? I feel as though I am slowly regressing to childhood as opposed to diving in to the excitement that my early twenties can bring.

Or am I simply having an early-twenties-crisis– the common ancestor to the mid-life crisis, but instead is when one is on the brink of their future and they face all of the true potential and opportunities they have, and are so completely overwhelmed and frightened by their own unending possibilities that they refuse to accept or realize them?

It might be a new year, a year of change for all of us, but as of now- I’ll just keep being the same me… dancing around in tutus and colorful bracelets and waiting for the day that I realize where I want to go and who I want to be.

I don’t expect to figure it all out, nor do I expect to have to give up the fun and wonder of my twenties, but I’m excited to go along for the journey as I make mistakes, fail, succeed and learn.