Tag Archives: college

The Post-Grad Life

Hi.

Even as I’ve finished school, the common thread of “the Tobi Thompson school life” still persists. I’m reflecting a lot more than usual lately just because today I watched a lot of my friends attend graduation on their Snapchat stories. But in reality, I reflect on this every. damn. day.

It’s been nearly 5 months since I’ve graduated and I have yet to land a “real” job. So of course, the woes of an entitled millennial start here, right? I’ll admit, I haven’t been applying every day, or hell, every week. And I haven’t heard back from jobs I expected to hear back from. Granted, my expectations really only got so high out of hope, but I feel qualified enough to land an interview. Yet, the places I’ve applied request not to be contacted again.

I even turned down a job because I knew it wasn’t the right fit. I’m scrambling for anything, but at the same time, if you just know, you know. I can’t exactly describe it, other than I would not have been able to fill the job correctly. Nearly everyone harrowed me about it: “It’s a start though and you can’t be picky with your first job,” or “This will lead to other jobs” or “Think about what it will say on your resume.” I had, of course, considered all of those things. After all, that’s why I even bothered applying and going to the interview in the first place. But when I was asked to do something that was not in my area of expertise, nor could be taught this either, I just couldn’t follow through. So I politely declined, and let me tell you that I still do not regret it.

Instead, I’ve gotten promoted at my “non-real” job. The job at the hotel that I’ve had for three years now. So I continue to work in customer service, patiently being every guest’s personal bitch. And it’s not all that bad, but there’s a lot of things that are changing in my life, and I just wish a new job position would line up with everything else that’s changing as well. I feel stuck here, while everything else is up in the air. Let me explain.

I still live at my mom’s because affording living anywhere else in New Jersey alone seems to be…how do I say this? Impossible. And all of my friends in this state are forced to do the same. My mom has been trying to leave Belmar for the last 10 years. Well guess who finally sold her condo? My mom did this without lining up another place to live in (and I don’t blame her). So as of July 1, we have no idea where we’ll be living.

My friends are all landing jobs or graduating or doing great things or have steady schedules. And yet I feel so behind for once. My schedule is all over the place, which has always been fine in the past, but again, I’m ready for that next stage in my life. I’m ready for a 9-5. I’m ready for an adventure.

I have a boyfriend. An actual boyfriend for once. And that in itself is so new to me. I can say that I feel stable when I’m with him, which is comforting, of course. But I also don’t want it to hold me back from moving to New York City or landing a real job. So in that respect, I’m terrified of what’s to eventually come.

I feel busy every day and I don’t seem to have a ton of time to dedicate to applying to places (right now I’m actually at work). And I don’t even know what I’m doing every day. I feel like I’m in a black hole right now and I know it will pass.

Sometimes I remind myself that I only just graduated and that something will come my way and it won’t be so bad. This was, after all, the sage wisdom I had given to my friends (and felt justified in giving since I took that year and a half off from school. This feeling is similar, but I can say that it is not the same) after they graduated. But sometimes I’m like, It’s already five months and it’s gone by so fast. Next thing you’ll know, you’re 25 and everything’s the same.

And while some people relish in continuity and repeated sameness, I just don’t feel happy feeling stuck or no room to grow. It’s probably part of the reason why I travel so much.

And even though I just went to Atlanta last month, and going to Puerto Rico for a wedding in June, I’m already getting an itch to get out of here.

So that post-grad life has a lot and nothing for me all in the same package. Where to next? And when? The eternal post-grad questions.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under School, travel

Pros & Cons of Community College

I’ve thought about writing this post for years now. Ever since I started community college, I knew I wanted to weigh the pros and cons of community college versus four year institutions. I thought by graduation, I’d have answer as to which way is “the” way to go. But it turns out all I can say is that as my college life is officially over (I received my degree yesterday) that all these experiences make up my weird college life that brought the inconsistent blog ramblings of a late-teen/early-twenties girl just trying to find stability and tranquil in a difficult time.

So after my senior year of high school ended, I believed I was going to a four year institution, Suffolk University. This expectation stemmed from the fact that all of my sisters went to whatever schools they wanted to, on top of the support from my mother, speechlessly expressing that I could do anything I wanted to if I put my mind to it. But as the complication of family life, money problems, and school insecurities from my mother all boiled from one pot, I volunteered to go to community college. Instantly my mom was relieved and I could tell how much this meant to her. I felt that I was forced to, and that suddenly my entire life’s expectations crumbled into that one, pathetic moment of changing plans in front of everyone on social media. But it didn’t seem all that bad because a lot of my close friends were also going to the same community college.

I had higher expectations for myself in terms of an education and an experience, but the truth is that I got an experience that students at higher institutions could never experience. Nearly all the students I interacted with at Brookdale Community College had full time jobs–or close to it. And while students in other schools had jobs, it never compared to the work-workload (rather than school-workload) that these CC students worked. Most of the students who attended Brookdale had to work for their education per semester, compared to others who immediately got loans and often got financial help from parents. But when you live at home, your parents expect you to be the adult you need to be post-college. So here were all of these students working as hard as they would post-college, but while in college. And while the coursework was honestly easier than my coursework at Syracuse, it gave most of my friends a better work ethic and more drive. It helped me to deal with budgeting, scheduling (though I’m a very good planner to begin with), and balancing life. All while living from home. Which is never easy, despite the possibility of free rent.

But the coursework didn’t prepare me for how difficult Syracuse would be.

Especially since because all of my general education core requirement courses were all knocked out within my first two years at Brookdale, that meant that I only had room to take all of my majors and harder classes all at once for the remaining two years at Syracuse.

So I do feel that although my first two years were “easy” in terms of school work, I do feel strongly when I say that my two years at Syracuse were much harder than most of the other juniors and seniors I was classmates with. Trying to cram all of my requirements into four semesters proved to be difficult, but again, I’m good with planning.

So the question is, is community college worth it?

I absolutely loved every semester at Syracuse, no matter how hard it got. I loved the people I met. The activities and clubs that my school offered. I loved what I learned in most of my classes. I felt like I could have even practiced more and gotten better internships and opportunities had I attended Syracuse all four years. I would have made more friends and been closer with them had I had that my freshman year.

All of those things that I got from SU and wish I had more time with doesn’t negate my money saved and lessons learned from community college, though. Additionally, obtaining my Associates from Brookdale actually helped my transfer process into Syracuse. ALL of my credits were accepted from Brookdale at Syracuse and the Associates degree actually waived me of other SU requirements such as more science classes (my weakest subject). So not only did I get away with getting a Syracuse degree with only two years to show for it, but I also got away with only taking one lab science course and two math courses, and I spent less money getting all that.

So while I brag, I’m also pensive and slightly melancholic over those who got to attend schools such as Syracuse for all four years. The bonds I could have made with others would be stronger and over a longer period of time. The internships I could have had would show more of my worth and experience (and thus making me more hireable). The knowledge I would have gained from a variety of choice electives would have given me more liberty to explore. But I didn’t have any wiggle room aside from required skill classes since all of my general ed courses/electives were filled from Brookdale.

But I don’t resent the fact that I went to Brookdale. My whole college career was a journey–including the year and a half that I spent not in college. I gained that work ethic. I practiced “true” adulthood*. I am where I am because of where I was and I saved money in the meantime doing so.

So, again, the question was is community college worth it?

My answer comes down to a matter of privilege. If you have the opportunity and the expenditures for a four year institution, by all means, go. Get the “real” college experience. Make those friends, join those clubs, get those internships, create those bonds, cry those coursework-related stress tears.

But if you’re not so fortunate, community college is honestly a fine option. The counselors won’t work out your schedule for you. Know how to finish in 2 years. Get that good GPA to move forward. Know how to get out and explore on your own. Don’t get stuck. After that, you’re set. It’s a stepping stone. It’s independence. It’s still college. It’s still an accomplishment. And it’s still worth it since it gets you somewhere else next. Also–join. those. clubs.

I may not have a job 2 months after graduation, but I still made it because it was hard and I learned how to do (and pay) for it all on my own**. It’s still something I’m proud of even if I never get a job…..But please hire me.

 

*This morning I went out for breakfast and stacked coffee creamers into a pyramid because apparently I’m still 4 years old.

**with help.

Leave a comment

Filed under School, Uncategorized

Studying Abroad in Madrid

13417425_10208325371364156_6674648044918318039_n

As independent and courageous studying abroad can make you feel, there’s a flip side to that, in which you find your moments of childish nature coming to play. Just before your turn to order a meal in a language in which you only grasp basics, those outgrown emotions of fear, helplessness, and anxiety come to play. Of course these are feelings that are natural in growth and help push us to adulthood and help us live and learn in cultural society and significance. It might sound like gibberish, but I mean to say that our acts and moments of insecurity lead us from concerned tourists to well-lived/experienced travelers. We are a society and culture, whether we stay in those moments of fear or gravitate towards independence.

We are nurtured by the school and our host families. For the first time since I was 9, I don’t have to do my own laundry. Someone is cooking my meals every night. I don’t get a choice in what I want to eat for dinner. There is a cleaning lady every Wednesday. I don’t even wash my own dishes when I finish a meal. It’s a lifestyle of luxury and–although a little strange that I don’t get to pitch in at all– admittedly satisfying.

12991108_10208325375524260_2519651214695608957_n

Lost in Valencia with some new friends.

I’m trying to pick up on things as a culture, trying to absorb and understand or differentiate social cues. Part of me thinks that Spain isn’t really too different after all. And another part of me notes the contrasts as a little tally in my mind. I honestly feel like a childish adult, constantly looking around me to see and pick up norms. The only part of me that makes me feel like an adult is the actual loneliness (not used in a negative or bitter sense though) in taking the metro to class…

 

 

I originally had a comma after the word “class,” but I honestly came up with nothing. I’m not working here in Spain, so there’s no sense of adulthood in spending my saved money from previous hours of work in the US. Any side trips or excursions thus far have been completely planned by someone else. And yeah, I’m not necessarily doing any work myself.

I went to see Paul McCartney by myself and even then, I felt myself people watching and tip-toeing throughout the show, because my section never stood up for any songs, hardly sang along, and not to mention, the ruptured ear drum and hearing loss in one ear made singing by myself at a very large concert VERY uncomfortable.

These moments in which you feel helpless or lost though doesn’t mean that you are. I think it just means that you’re learning as long as you’re aware of your surroundings. It might sound obvious, but when you sink into a new culture–even if its one that’s not terribly different from your own*–I think those feelings of confusion and social excitement, and perhaps a tad bit of anxiety, only means that you’re doing things differently and it’s like growing up all over again. Rarely do we get those moments once you’re on your own, because you’re forced to just thrust yourself into whatever routine you need to do in your home country, even if you like that routine and lifestyle. And no matter how good at adapting you are, such as myself, I believe this struggle is bound to happen–as it should. And this isn’t to negate your home life nor to say “TRAVEL MORE TO BROADEN YOUR MINDS.” 13418907_10208325398804842_5343032056785349519_n

It’s purely observational that these fresh-minded, clean-slated, child-like ignorant moments only come in a fashion of memory and nostalgia. Unless you’re studying abroad and doing the best you can.  Typically a 23-year-old usually learns by building blocks on top of a city you/he/she have/has already created. Because you’re building on top of social norms, politics, cultural rules, routines, etc. that you’ve already come to understand and experience. Studying abroad is a new city, literally and figuratively. You have to start nearly completely fresh. Sure you might know how to communicate, plus there’s body language, and universal signs and cues in which most can dictate and decipher and get through easily.

But that first day of meeting your host parents for the next 6 weeks (or in some cases 4 months or longer) is just one of those moments where you take a breath and crawl.

13269292_10208325442965946_718469695138384832_n.jpg

*Although I will say that the requirement to wear shoes around the house AND to only eat food in JUST the kitchen still weirds me out.

Leave a comment

Filed under travel, Uncategorized

Weird, Circling State of Events

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey…Stuff

Stuck in Los Angeles for nearly four weeks, I’ve had my ups, downs, thoughts, re-thoughts, backtracking thoughts, and clearly way too much time with and in my own head. The troubles with our transportation has put our entire road trip on a long hold, which is frustrating and restricting to say the least. My money situation is tight and strictly for the journey, and dwindling down the longer I stay in widespread LA. Now I’m worried if I have enough for gas and such, but I suppose we’ll see!

Regardless of my worries, crises, and wasted time in LA, I had a funny realization last night.

So my good friend Ali invited me and her two friends to a Hollywood bar, Loaded. Whilst Ali and Emily whisked off to the bathroom, I got the chance to meet Jack, one on one. The typical meet-n-greet conversation held: Where we’re from, what we’re doing, interests, etc.

Jack, a 26-year-old man of many talents and several jobs, soon learned I was only 21 and blessed with a long road ahead of me (literally and figuratively). After learning my short term goals: road trip and my bachelor’s degree, he asked me a very common and simple question.

“So what do you want to do for a living?”

I blanked. In fact, I didn’t respond right away. It was like I was just hearing this question for the first time. I had been so caught up in my current life and state of things, that I was only chasing what I wanted for the moment. Because, in truth, I only want something that will make me happy. That’s been my whole predicament for the past year: just doing what I want.

“Oh, ummm…I guess I want to write?” I finally replied after too long of a pause. Jack nodded. I continued, “I don’t know, actually. I don’t have just one job that I’m set for, because I know there’s more jobs out there than I actually know. I’m open to the chance of something else coming along.”

It was Jack’s lack of judgement that made me like him: “That’s smart. I mean, I like 15 different things, I’ve been able to explore a lot of my interests, so it’s not bad!”

There’s no equation to life. In my opinion, the secret to success is passion (has been and always will be my key word to everything, as well as my clearly successful college application essays). Everyone has their own path: some are clear cut and thoroughly kept, while others are more winding. Just because one is cleaner, doesn’t mean the path was any more or less beautiful. Because as I’m not breaking this news to you, that’s just life.

Even mine–a weird, circling state of events–even Garth’s. Love you, brother, every day and forever.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It’s O.K., I’ll Just Fail Community College

Is that an option?

While to most higher educated students, spring break seems like the perfect getaway, spring break to me only seems to get in my way. Ditching the community college realm for a solid week is just like ditching all responsibilities altogether. Because classes here at ‘the Dale’ seem to take up little hours out of an entire week, locals joke that school is spring break. My current status of cramming in an essay and tedious math homework seems to differ from this statement.

If there were an organized chart on the similarities and differences between spring break and school, it’d look [better but] something like this:

 

Similarities:
-After getting out of class, everyone goes back home. So unless us cheap and poor students suddenly found a large sum of money for vacation, we’re all going back to the same place we would be regardless of classes.

-Some professors are nice and give no homework. No homework means no thought. So shouldn’t this be in the differences? I wish I put some more thought into this.

-Actual school work

Differences:

-Actual school work

-No school work

-No physical act of going to school…except for that one day where I had to go to school for some newspaper articles.

 

But boy did my spring break really take a lot out of me. It’s hard to pick my favorite part. Let’s see there was Free Movie Tuesday…oh wait, I do that every week. (Project X is the best film for college students. And college students only). And there was laundry. Sleep. Wow, the similarities are suddenly uncanny.

It’s possible that a Venn diagram or hand-written constructed list on a piece of torn lined paper would be a more explainable source, but after so long (you know, fifteen seconds), this is what was easiest. Look Ma, I think I got the hang of this college thing!

So while I should be doing English or Math right now, I’m currently typing away, fiddling between answers of if Spring Break was really a good relief or not. By my indecision and procrastination, I want to vote for no. But hey, maybe when my work returns and is covered in a single, large, dripping bloody “F”, I’ll let you decide.

Leave a comment

Filed under School