Tag Archives: college

Another Millennial Wants More – But Its Not What You Think

12 Feb

Hundreds, if not thousands, of arguments exist out there that millennials are spoiled, egocentric and lazy. We want too much, expect too much and ultimately get too much. Blah. Blah. Blah. Well you know what, world? I want more and I’m not sorry for it.

Is it more money? No. More time off? I’ll pass. More work-life balance? What life…

What I want – brace yourselves – is something more. Something more than earning a degree and getting a job. Something more than a paycheck. Something more than a nice desk. Something more than my boss’s acceptance. And I’m not alone. 

The problem is that our society isn’t built to support these kinds of “outlandish” dreams all in one lifetime. Seriously, how many 20-somethings can start an awesome company, travel to India, meet Bono and get invited to the Oscars all in one lifetime? Probably about seven. While some lucky folks get the opportunity to fulfill these desires, most do not. Unless your dad’s coworker’s aunt’s daughter’s best friend’s sister-in-law is planning to open a start-up company, you’re pretty much bound to societal expectations: get a degree, get a job, and shut up! There’s intimidating competition, limited time, and yes, inadequate amounts of money. I know, “GREAT! Another millennial complaining about money.”  Well you ain’t about this life so please continue reading. 

With that being said, you should know that I did graduate college, I did move away from home, I did get a job in the field I wish to pursue, and I do plan on being successful. And maybe I am the typical millennial but it is just not enough. While sitting at my desk all day, every day, I can’t help but dream about who I want to be. The torturous question, “Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?” haunts me because the answer is nowhere to be found. Besides becoming Beyonce’s personal assistant, obviously. If only!

This is an honest confession, if you will, where I admit that I want more but I don’t know where to start and doubt my desires. Ultimately, I struggle with who I am and where I’m going. But I’ve learned that that’s okay! So, here’s a [working] list of the dreams I have and the doubts that come along with them. I welcome your feedback! Please, feel free to offer suggestions, rebuttals, comments and the like. Here goes nothing…

 I want to:

♦Start a business, but what business?

Make a difference in someone’s life, but in what way? 

Advocate for change, but what’s a good, trustworthy cause?

Organize and host a 5K run/walk, but for what and who?

Learn accounting and bookkeeping, but where to find the time? 

Meet inspiring, educated people, but how and where?

Design a mass-produced invitation, ad, or brochure, but for who? 

Become popular on Twitter, but for what?

Play a significant role on a team, but what team? Athletic? Work-related? Volunteer?

Teach someone something meaningful, but I’m no teacher or expert, am I?

Donate a gift to my alma mater, but what would actually make a difference?

Create a useful, life-changing mobile app, but do I have any good ideas?

Be a role model, but for doing what and for who?

These are silly dreams, maybe. Attainable dreams, probably. Some of you might encourage me to just go for it! But like a true millennial, I want it all…and fast. However, I shouldn’t be sorry for wanting success, service, and education. Either way, the road is not yet paved and it should be an interesting journey.

Free College Stuff You’d NEVER Buy Today

18 Dec

Leaving the old stomping grounds behind for a shot at the real world meant letting go of all the beautiful things our college years provided: friends, education, memories…and tons of free stuff.

These things, these precious gifts from departments desperately seeking attention, we took for granted. Career fairs, awareness events, involvement fairs and the like made available useless novelties that we now yearn for. Now that our checking accounts are down and our penny-pinching skills have been put to the test, we would never be caught dead spending money on these 7 things.

Streetside Cupcakes

The signature fundraiser – a bake sale! When I was rushing off to class I’d pass a beat up old folding table topped with colorful homemade cupcakes and other goodies. Delta Nu is raising funds so they don’t have to switch from Charmin to generic! Donate and receive a cupcake. Today, however, while rushing into the building after sitting in 8:00 a.m. traffic, I’d never stop for a free cupcake from some rando sitting on the side of the street. For all I know, they could be the town’s serial cat-skinner. No thank you. I’ll stick to my trusted friend Little Debbie.

Printing Services

It was awesome having a certain amount of tuition allotted for printing services. Sure I was paying for it, technically (and still will be for upwards of ten years) but I used every damn cent. 20-page paper? No problem. Design an advertisement and print in color? Cake. Student org. needs flyers? I got you, dog. Walking into a Kinkos is completely out of the question now. Not only is it totally barbaric to have to drive somewhere to print something, but if I need something I can print it at work. It’s called being resourceful. Joking, guys! Relax..

Yoga/Pilates Classes

Wasn’t it cute how the recreation centers always tried to get students to come “relax” during finals at their free yoga sesh? And if I bought the semester pass it was what, maybe $30 for four months? Well done, rec center, the only cost appropriate expense around here. Needless to say, I haven’t done yoga since graduating. Yoga classes are insanely expensive to just be standing around in loungewear breathing slowly. I do that every morning for free.

T-shirts

College was a years-long free t-shirt bonanza. I could make a quilt for Paul Bunyan’s bed with all the t-shirts I got from school. I even struggled to find storage space for all of these bad boys. The thought of spending $10+ on a t-shirt today provides utter disgust. Not to mention, I still have nowhere to put a new t-shirt  in my cramped downtown apartment with a sorry excuse for a closet. Instead, I’ll hang on to every last bit of those memory-filled pieces of cheap cotton and wear them proudly, pit stains and all. 

Movie Screenings

In an effort to gain a followership and member base, student orgs all over campus would find ways to host free movie screenings complete with cheese pizza (cheapskates) and soda. I almost never went, but now I realize that I’d have to sell my grandmother’s watch to be able to afford a Carmike Cinemas feature presentation. Now I’ll NEVER see Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas. Netflix it is.

Women’s Basketball Tickets

Occasionally, probably only once, I reluctantly got up off my ass to go to a women’s basketball game…to get a free t-shirt. Sometimes the arena gave students free pizza. Why is it always pizza? Sometimes, on Greek Night, it was THE place to be because heaven forbid you miss a social opportunity to “network” with the other Greeks. After the season ended, though, and especially upon walking across that stage, women’s basketball has been nothing but a mere portion of a grain of sand in my cerebral cortex. The WNBA isn’t a real thing, right? It’s probably a no-tickets-necessary kind of thing because otherwise, I’d rather listen to Nickelback Radio.

SWAG

Little did I know when I first left for school I wouldn’t need those two bags of Bic pens and that 40-pack of Ticonderogas (obviously the best pencils ever). SWAG – Stuff We All Get – was everywhere: cups, pens, buttons, ID holders, pencils, magnets – I was a ninja in the fruit aisle. Although the endless amount of shit never seems to go away like that “Dorsey Hall 2009” keychain that always turns up somewhere, I’ll never walk into Office Depot with a significant need for desktop necessities.

The bright side is you get free stuff at work too! It isn’t all so bad. Who wouldn’t want contributions from their employer to a 401(k), annual holiday parties with dry sugar cookies, and unlimited amounts of room temperature fountain water?

The Countdown to Student Loan Repayment

11 Dec

Let’s be honest, for most college grads, student loan repayment is the first big payment obligation. Some of us have purchased cars since graduating (me!), and some maybe even a home or a motorcycle. However, a certain stigma exists around the topic of student loans and the process of repayment. It is an agonizing phrase that when uttered brings sharp pains to many. I should have known what to expect when choosing that big out-of-state university, right? Trust me, it was worth every penny. And every painful penny I shall spend…

15 days until first payment

Confirm that mom and/or dad will be contributing and to what extent. Despite the country’s slow economic recovery and a proven decrease in parent contributions, some lucky students have the luxury of wealthy parents who plan to completely cover their child’s higher education investment. According to Sallie Mae’s annual “How America Pays for College” study, 27 percent of college costs were paid by parent income and savings this year, although this number has significantly decreased since its peak in 2010 when 37 percent of parents paid out of pocket. Others, like me, have parents who choose to contribute a portion either because that’s what they can afford or because they want to reinforce the importance of money, bills, and investments. And many students across the nation, about three in 10 students in 2012-2013, have no choice but to take on student loan debt in order to make an attempt at The American Dream. Keyword being “attempt.”

13 days until first payment

Awkwardly bring up how I’ll receive funds from mom and/or dad – set up a reminder in my phone. I use the word “awkwardly” because in this financial climate, the topic of spending money brings stress and discomfort to most. Marist College released a poll which said 59% of United States residents feel that talking about money problems with their children adds to family stress. Contributing parents are doing what they can to provide for their children because it is American culture to do so. Our parents bought us toys, video games, cell phones, and our first cars. No parent wants to be the bearer of bad news to a struggling new grad. Most new grads, unfortunately not all, understand that it is asking a lot to request help with student loans so they tread lightly when discussing the painful subject.

12 days until first payment

Completely rethink my loose monthly budget. Since I graduated, I’ve moved to another state and purchased a brand new car so a budget was absolutely necessary. Fidelity Investments, an online financial services company, says only about half of recent grads have a plan in place to meet their financial goals and 63 percent of that group have created a budget. To me, the control freak, this is not good news for the financial future of our country. The possibility of ruining my credit is not one I want to gamble with so determining a strict budget and monthly, quarterly and yearly goals is incredibly important and should be to all recent grads.

10 days until first payment

Confirm total amounts for each separate loan and decide against buying a new sweater for the ugly sweater Christmas party. I’ll whip out last year’s classic. Its all about making justifiable purchases, right? The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Craze has reached an all-time and embarrassing high according to ABC News and the cost of these sweaters has followed suit. Justin Bieber sported a $1,650 monstrosity this year. Instead, I need coffee-mate and baby carrots this weekend so a one-time gig complete with dancing reindeer and jingle bells just didn’t make the cut. Having a handful of student loans is no secret to most borrowers. According to Sallie Mae, student borrowing has slightly decreased over recent years but the amount has greatly increased. Students now owe private and federal loans so keeping track of all these debts has put a great pressure on recent grads.

9 days until first payment

Pregame at home with that dusty bottle of Burnett’s and buy one (okay, three) domestic draft beers at the bar knowing I’m about to drop a couple hundo. I’m so responsible. While my younger student friends spend carelessly at the bar and my older, successful friends feel confident in their purchasing decisions, I have to be strategic about getting drunk. What a buzz kill. Like a true college student would, I scrounged up my last bit of alcohol to save a few bucks and decided my bar tab was my Christmas present to myself.

7 days until first payment

Consider grad school for the sake of loan deferment and nothing else. As if the pressure of entering the real world wasn’t already enough, banks are now encouraging recent undergrads to attend graduate school, although their reasoning only has one ultimate goal in mind: money. They make it sound so tempting, “Sometimes it may seem impossible to make your student loan payment,” they say. “You are so right,” I respond as I think, “wow they really know my personal life.” But the cost of graduate school is a hefty one beginning with the $150 GRE test, not to mention books (again), housing (again), and more! In an effort to postpone payments, recent undergrads actually might struggle more later! A graduate degree should only be sought for all the right reasons, not driven by financial insecurity.

6 days until first payment

Google “how to make money while working full-time” and when the results come up short, Google “cute puppies” to feel better. The sad truth is that it is common practice for most young graduates to work multiple jobs, according to Carl E. Van Horn, director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. While I let go of the dreams I had of a yearly salary, I work my hourly job because it’s what pays the bills and hope my Etsy shop takes off.

3 days until first payment

Finish the Burnett’s from last week and sit on the couch watching ABC Family’s 25 days of Christmas because it’s all the fun I can afford. Just me and my friend Cheap Vodka chilling on a Saturday night. With my upcoming payment, another night out was not in the cards so like a true 90’s baby, I choose Home Alone and The Santa Clause.

1 day until first payment

Make the payment early because I’m a boss. Also, because I can no longer prolong the agony of anticipation. The control freak in me pays early because at any second my bank could crash and I could become totally poor and then my interest rate would skyrocket even more and that would literally be the end of the world. Instead, I choose punctuality because making debt payments on time is the largest factor to building good credit.

Debt, credit, deadlines…they’re no walk in the park. If this is what it takes to achieve financial success and happiness, I’m willing to walk the walk. Now that I’ve released nearly $1k into thin air, it is time to write my Christmas List filled with all the joyful essentials: hand soap, toilet paper, dryer sheets, ramen, and more Christmasy fun!

(a 2nd version of this post can be found under my columns with PostGradProblems.com)

Who is the Average Honey?

29 Oct

Many of us read blog after blog after blog without knowing the expertise or personal background of the authors. I decided to open my book just a little bit more! Feel free to ask more questions!

What is the best job you ever had?

Server! During summer breaks as a college student I worked at this small mom-and-pop seafood restaurant built from the ground up by my boss and his wife. Their son, my manager, was an excellent leader who really knew how to brand the restaurant and make it a great experience for the employees and the patrons. Those were awesome summers full of great food, cheap beer, and lots of laughs!

What is your aim for this year?

That’s easy! Become a better blogger! I realize my blog seems a bit scattered in topic so I really want to zero in on a few major ideas and develop my thoughts on those while also developing and engaging with my audience.

What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?

When a group of my friends decided to rent a beach house in North Carolina for a week, I was devastated to find out the week they reserved was the week AFTER my spring break from college. Spontaneity got the best of me and I skipped a week of classes and work to hang out by the beach in an enormous house with awesome people. I didn’t miss much.

Who in your family are you most like?

I am my father’s daughter. Just like him, I am a people-person, I love telling stories and am very money conscious. We also share our loud laugh and inner control freak. He is my best friend, my biggest fan and an all-around great person.

How did you rebel as a child?

My rebellious attitude toward my mother began at an early age when I used to slam my door in order to make a statement. As a teenager, I used to sneak out just to hang out with my friends who were allowed to stay out later than I was. We never did anything mischievous, it was enough of an adrenaline rush just to have made it out without getting caught! Those days are over and my mom and I are closer than ever.

Which was the last restaurant you went to?

Pizza Hut! Pepperoni pan pizza is the usual!

What’s something that can always make you feel better?

This is an easy one. Cozy pajamas, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and hot vegetable soup!

5 things I learned in my first job out of college

8 Oct

For all of you soon-to-be grads out there, please read carefully! While my personal situation may be very different, it is so important to be evaluative of yourself and your circumstances in order to properly succeed and also prepare for your future. And for you seasoned employees giggling at my entry-level naivete…enjoy!

1. I don’t know it all

•It occured to me on my first day that I didn’t know squat. When I was a senior in college there was a sense of confidence and security. But college can be a bubble; a false sense of reality. Transitioning into a corporate setting was a smack in the face reminding me, “you’re just getting started, kid!” Instead of sulking about being the newb, I asked questions about computer programs I’d never used, acronyms that didn’t sound familiar and the hierarchical organizational structure that seemed so foreign to me.

Advice → Don’t be too shy to ask questions. Accept the bountiful knowledge your superiors have, even if they don’t know how to copy/paste on Word.

2. I have a lot to offer

•Although I don’t know it all, I know something. Because of the era in which I grew up, I have knowledge that seems brilliant to some of my coworkers. Although I was never boastful about my skills, I made sure they were known at the right time. If a coworker was struggling with a spreadsheet, I casually offered advice or help. Soon, when someone was having trouble with Microsoft Office, I was the go-to gal. Things I never thought would set me apart, really benefited me here.

Advice → Make sure your confidence is not cockiness. No one wants help from the know-it-all. After all, they could Google it. Take pride in the skills you have, even if they seem like second nature to you.

3. Everyone wastes time at work

•Spending eight or more hours in front of a computer can be hard on the eyes, painful on the tush, and bad for the brain! Once the excitement of a new job died down, I found myself thinking about other things while at work – laundry, bills, weekend plans, that new movie coming out. I overheard recreational conversations, noticed people huddling around the copier, and could almost hear the Candy Crush Saga theme on phones. But the productivity wasn’t down. In fact, we were doing quite well. Everyone needs a little bit of an outlet. Read up on the interesting history of the 8-hour work day!

Advide → Don’t WASTE time. Use that extra five minutes before beginning a task to make a list of groceries or to make dinner plans. Be productive!

4. Drama did not end in high school

•The workplace just might have even more drama than high school did. Can you believe it? With all the different personalities coming from different educational backgrounds, drama is bound to work its way in and infect the office.

Advice → Remain neutral. Try not to get involved. Try not to contribute to drama.

5. A smile goes a long wayone-happy-face

•I’m not exactly the most chipper person around but I do smile often, even when I’m having an off day. I realized smiling helps when a coworker asked me “Did you finish that contact list?” I replied, “Not yet but I’m almost done.” His silence was unnerving…but he followed with, “I’ll let you get away with it this once because you’re the only person who smiles at everyone in the hallway.”

Advice → Smile…even when it hurts. A smile says a lot about your attitude as an employee, a coworker, a subordinate, a leader. You can also get a raise for it!

post-graduation return

6 Aug

Greetings! My apologies for the lack of content from your Average Honey. Post-graduation life has been hectic and mundane all at the same time. How even…?

Let me explain.

Never in one million years did I think that I’d miss college as much as I do just three months after graduation. The stress, the crazy hours, the lazy classmates, the occasional careless professor…I’d take it all back in a heartbeat over my Monday-Friday, 9-5.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my job. I am so thankful for the opportunity and the doors it has opened and so grateful to have a well-paid, full-time job right out of college. But it was a harsh slap in the face from reality.

Now that the post-graduation depression has passed, I’m now accepting the lifestyle of a typical 22-year-old recent grad. I’m getting quite comfortable, too! I recently purchased a brand new car solely in my name, acquired car insurance, and have been looking at apartments (affordable ones, of course. AKA cheap). I built a monthly budget based on my salary and even planned for those dreadful student loans quickly approaching like dark horses. november, NOVember, NOVEMBER!

Since life has become so routine, I find myself thinking, constantly thinking. My brain runs miles a minute like flash cards in fast-motion. I think about my future, my family, money, pets, shopping, my career goals, everything! It is hard to keep up.

Know what that means?

I’m back!

Cheers!

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