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Advice for New College Graduates

As of lately every time I open my Instagram or Facebook app, I'm showered with photos of graduations and cap and gowns. It's crazy to me that three years ago I walked across the stage, well, more like waddled. I should have known my first year after graduation would me a mess. The sign? Oh nothing big, I just got my period in the middle of the my graduation ceremony.

No big deal. I didn't work four years to walk across the stage while bleeding through my dress. Whatever

To be honest, my entire graduation was a mess. Family drama ruined the day, I spent the night with a guy I kinda couldn't stand, and I'm almost sure I cried myself to sleep. The entire experience was not what I had imagined, but it was what came after that was even more unplanned. 

If you're a recent college grad or a few years out, it's always nice to hear how other people manage to figure their shit out. I may not be at my end goal, but hey, I make my rent, have a job I love and managed to find a pretty good guy in a pool of weirdos. Okay, let's get into the advice!

Life after college can be hard, which is why I wanted to share the 10 pieces of advice I wish someone had told me when I graduated college. New grad advice from where to live to how to write the perfect resume.

You will break down

I don't think I ever cried so much as I did during my first year out of college. Whether it was stress from graduate school, paying my bills or finding new friends, it was all a lot. Don't think you're any different because you get overwhelmed by all the new responsibilities thrown at you. Just because no one talks about sometimes hating their life doesn't mean they're not feeling the same way. Break down, wipe your tears and get back to being the badass you are.

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The best years are not over

Just like high school was not the best years of your life, neither was college! Yeah college had its fun moments, but being able to control my life fully beats college parties, nonstop exams and worrying about how I was gonna feed myself. Being a twenty something isn't always fun and games, but there are definitely moments when I stop and appreciate all that I now have because of how hard I worked in college.

Related Post: A 10 Step Plan on How to Have Your Best Year Ever

Avoid comparison

Social media makes this so hard to do, but don't feel any worse about yourself because someone online looks to have it all. I have old classmates on my feed with seemingly perfect boyfriends, jobs that take them on trips, and parents who pay off their loans. Meanwhile I'm at home yelling at my boyfriend for eating my snacks, with no trips booked for the year, and I avoid answering calls from my loan adviser. 

Most people only post the highlights of their life online, which is why you can't believe everything you see. If you follow me on Instagram you might know that I made it a goal this year to post the good and the bad, meaning I want to authentically show what it's like to be a twenty something living in the city. If you want someone on your feed to totally relate to, you can follow me on Instagram @whenlifegivesyourubi

Move somewhere new

While this isn't necessary, it's what helped me figure everything out on my own, all at once! By moving from California toWashington DC I had to find a job, make friends, figure out the city and really define who I was without the help of others. Moving away from home helped me enter adulthood without the crutches my friends had, plus it gave me the sense of starting new after college. 

Work a job you hate

I know, this sucks, but we all do it at one point. For me, it was a minimum wage position at a nonprofit in the city. The job was great, it was my coworkers who made each day feel like an eternity. The year I spent here motivated me like crazy to job hunt the next summer, both increasing the level of responsibility I wanted to take and the wages. Trust me, a job you hate will give you the kick in the butt you need to make your next position one you'll thrive in. 

Don't rush to graduate school

My initial reason for choosing to live in Washington DC was because of graduate school, although I think I would have come back at some point anyways. Thankfully I've always known what I wanted to do with my life, which made graduate school an easy decision for me. If you're not sure of what to do next, don't go to grad school just for the sake of going. 

Make sure you apply and attend a graduate program when you're sure of he career path you want to take, and you can balance the extra responsibilities that come with being in school.

You might also like: 5 Reasons Why You Should Wait Before Going to Grad School + Why I Didn't

Perfect your resume

If you can avoid it, don't leave your college campus without having the career center look over your resume. If you've already graduated, I have a resume writing post that has helped tons of people create a resume that gets them actual interviews! Ignore what everyone is saying and stick to these basic rules; one page, with relevant job experiences, and skills that will benefit the organization. That's it! For more advice, click on over to my resume writing post. 

Don't force friendships

No one warned me that after graduation I would lose touch with over half of the people I spoke to in college. And I'm not talking casual acquaintances, I mean best friends who I would spend all my hours with. New jobs and cross country moves will do that, plus friendships are a lot easier to maintain when you live on the same college campus. It's not that anything is wrong between the two of you, life just gets in the way and you make new friends as you enter new stages of your life. 
Life after college can be hard, which is why I wanted to share the 10 pieces of advice I wish someone had told me when I graduated college. New grad advice from where to live to how to write the perfect resume.

Travel if you can

I'm gonna be honest, due to working full time and going to grad school, I haven't been traveling as much as I would like. But even if you're situation is similar to mine, there is always room to travel just a bit. Take advantage of the years where your income is disposable and you don't have to worry about buying a ticket for your children. Go abroad, travel your own country, just get out of your regular routine at least once a year. You can even reconnect with those old college friends on a yearly trip.

You might also like: 10 Reasons You Should Travel Abroad

Figure out what you don't want

As a new therapist, it's hard for me to ask clients what they want out of life, cause who really knows the answer to such a big question? You know what we do know. What we don't want. Take a few minutes and think about what you don't want, whether it's in a new boyfriend or new job. Such a small exercise can help you avoid giving something a chance that is totally wrong for you, and it helps you avoid wasting time. Try the exercise out, then keep the list somewhere next time you're making a big decision. 

How to Work Full Time and Go to Grad School

This August marks three years since I uprooted my life, moved to the East Coast, with nothing more than a few hundred dollars and an acceptance letter into grad school. I don't know how I did it, but within two months I managed to start my graduate program, find two jobs and start building a life in a new city.

No one warned me how hard it would be, especially when it came to feeling like I was in control of my life. Making friends was hard, and even with the few I had, finding the energy to spend time with them was even harder. Working and attending graduate school full time is one of those things that you can't fully relate to until you're in that position, but you can prepare.

As someone who had never even had a job, entering the workforce at the same time I was going to school full time was a bit of a shock. If you're considering going to school full time while working full time, or doing both part time, keep reading to see how you can prepare to better balance both responsibilities.

You might also like: The 8 Important Lessons My 2nd Year of Grad School Taught Me

Learn how to balance working and going to school full time, from someone who has managed to do it all the past three years. Tips and advice to working hard and still enjoying your life.

Plan your courses ahead of time

If possible, plan your course schedule ahead of time to anticipate changes in your work schedule and intensity of schoolwork. Unfortunately with my graduate school I was not able to plan my courses more than a semester ahead of time, which made it difficult to anticipate the types of hours I could commit to and the number of classes I would be taking.

By planning your classes ahead of time, it gives you the opportunity to collaborate with your employer and control the amount of work you'll have throughout the year.
Learn how to balance working and going to school full time, from someone who has managed to do it all the past three years. Tips and advice to working hard and still enjoying your life.

One will have to be the priority

For the first two years of my graduate degree I was in complete denial about the type of life I was living. My life revolved around work and school, constantly stressing about one or the other. It wasn't until the end of my second year that I came to terms that I couldn't do both full time, so I decided work needed to be a priority. Your situation may be different, especially if your program keeps in mind people's work responsibilities when creating a course schedule.

This didn't mean I took a break from school, instead I went to school part time for a few semesters and worked as much as possible. By doing this I eventually saved enough money to quit my job for my last semester of school. For more on how I did this and why, you can read this post.

Related Post: 11 Things to Do In Between Your College Classes

Find a program with evening courses

When I started attending my graduate school the majority of my classes were offered in the evening. What I didn't realize, or think to ask, were the hours that more advanced courses would be offered. Because of this mistake, I later realized all my courses would be offered during the daytime, meaning I would have to leave work.

When talking to admissions counselor, don't be shy to ask for a current course offering, including the hours courses are offered. Having the option of evening and night courses could make the difference between being able to balance both work and school full time.

Draw boundaries at work

Because very few things are negotiable when attending graduate school, you most likely will need to set boundaries in the workplace. By boundaries I mean committing to a certain amount of hours and no more, or clearly stating the days you are unavailable. This may be more difficult at certain types of jobs, but with enough notice, it shouldn't be something that's impossible.

Avoid procrastination

We all do it, I even still fall into the trap, but it will cause you more stress than necessary. I'm not saying keep up with all your class readings and respond to every email as you get it, but generally don't leave big projects until the last moment. Whether the assignment is for work or school, having to balance both means you might not have a lot of extra time to do it at the last minute. Avoid this unnecessary problem by doing small chunks of work at a time than all of it the night before it's due.

You might also like: The 10 Most Effective Ways to Help You Study Last Minute

Communicate with your employer

If you're currently employed and thinking of starting graduate school then you are at an advantage. Hopefully your employers sees the value you bring to the organization and will be willing to be flexible with your schedule. If you are applying to new jobs, my biggest advice is to be honest about your circumstance.

When applying to my last job, I was 100% honest about my involvement in graduate school, including the hours I would likely never be available. While this may prevent some job opportunities, in the long run, you wouldn't be able to manage both anyways.

Build a support system

You can't do this alone. Well, actually, you can, but you shouldn't. I balanced working full time and going to grad school full time for the first year and a half, and I was absolutely miserable. I was dating a guy who didn't work or go to school, so venting to him about my stress levels was pointless.

Find others in a similar situation, or better yet, people who've been through it. If you can, form a relationship with peers in your graduate program. Most likely the people in your classes are dealing with the same stressors, so who better to try to relate to?

Related Post: 20 Things Only People with Office Jobs Will Understand

Be realistic with time

If I learned anything in the past three years, it's that comparison really is the thief of joy. When I started my graduate program I was going to school full time and working full time. I quickly realized this was not something I could do long term, especially since my masters requires me to complete an internship. Accepting the fact that there would be semesters that I took less courses took time, especially since it took me off track to graduate in two years.

Whether you get your masters in two or three years doesn't matter, your everyday quality of life does. It will be difficult to see other friends graduating or progressively moving forward, but you'll thank yourself on a daily basis for not allowing going to school and work full time take over your life.

Are you currently balancing work and school? How are you managing? Also, if you have any additional questions, feel free to ask below!

PS You can now sign up for the weekly newsletter, where you'll get tips, resources and motivation to help you make each week of 2017 better than the last. Signing up takes seconds so make sure you're on the list!!

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What It's Like to Date an Introvert

Ever wonder if a guy is introverted or just shy? Click to read the traits that most introverted guys share.

Just as I was about to start writing this post I realized the last time I took an assessment on extroversion and introversion was the 9th grade. I distinctly remember there being a poster on the wall that had the words extrovert and introvert written in blue and purple marker, and underneath were positive traits of each type.

Back in the 9th grade we were all convinced it was better to be an extrovert. I mean, who wouldn't wanna be the type of person who has a million friends and an active social life? I'll tell you who, an overworked, midtwenties female who rather stay at home and watch Netflix than stay at the party till it's long past over.

Since I probably faked a bunch of answers the last time I took the assessment, I decided to retake one that had a little more credibility to it. Within seconds I found an 81 question assessment on Psychology Today, seemed legit. A few minutes later I had my score, I was basically in the middle.

Looking at my snapshot report, it makes sense. I like to have friends but I don't feel the need to see them all the time. My upbringing has greatly influenced my personality, with a mom who didn't believe in sleepovers and a habit of moving towns faster than I could get close to people in my twenties. Along the way though I've managed to pair up with someone who is 100% an introvert, which gave me my first lesson in just how different we are even though I fall in the middle of the scale.

Introverts are known to enjoy having time for themselves, lose energy easily when in social situations, and seen as others as quiet and difficult to get to know. Each person varies in their level of introversion, yet after having dated multiple introverts, I've noticed a pattern in the traits each seemed to have to a certain extent.

Personal time is necessary

It's true what they say, introverts needs time to themselves to recharge and most of all, have some fun. As an in the middle person, it's sometimes hard to deal with dating someone who rather stay at home and do nothing. Before an argument starts, consider whether you can go with someone else, how you would feel being dragged somewhere, and alternate ways you can spend time together without invading each other's space.

Social gatherings are a battle

I totally understand not wanting to be the last to leave a party, but turning down every invitation seems a little harsh to me. Introverts are much happier staying home or spending time with people who are close to them. Having to go somewhere full of strangers and endless small talk already sounds exhausting enough, so cut them some slack and choose smaller outings.

Not very confrontational

Dare I say this is my favorite quality? To be honest, I'm a very confrontational person. Whether it's a random lurker on the street or my best friend, I have no problem telling people how I feel, and loudly too. Introverts are much more reflective, less impulsive with their words, and overall much kinder in relationships. At least in my experience! If you're a loudmouth like me, keep this in mind next time you have a disagreement.

Friends are important

It's a total myth that introverts don't have any friends, the difference is that they don't feel the desire to constantly be meeting and connecting with new people. If you're dating an introvert, impressing the friends is super important. These are the few people your partner has decided to open up to, so make sure you make a good first impression and avoid trashing them later down the line.

Have you ever dated an introvert? If so, how did it blend with your personality type? 

PS You can now sign up for the weekly newsletter, where you'll get tips, resources and motivation to help you make each week of 2017 better than the last. Signing up takes seconds so make sure you're on the list!!

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How to Celebrate a Pet's Birthday + Max Turns 3!

This is your warning: I am a crazy cat/dog/hamster/whatever fluffy animal is in front of me lady. If it has fur, I have love for it. Which is why when I had the opportunity to adopt a cat almost three years ago, I jumped at the opportunity. I seriously put more thought and effort into adopting Max than I did into purchasing a bed and mattress. So yeah, he's kind of my life.

Every year I do something small to celebrate his life, because cmon, he doesn't have forever. The other day my boyfriend was looking at me like I was crazy for wanting to buy Max a birthday gift, which is when I pointed out to him that at best Max will have 15 years on this earth, making each birthday that much more special. I don't know if he fully got it, but whatever, the package is on it's way here anyways.

If you love your pet as much as I do, here's how to celebrate their birthday without getting yourself a one way ticket to a psych evaluation. Also, enjoy the photos of Max throughout the years.

1. Prepare a special meal

Typically on Max's birthday I make sure to buy his favorite wet organic food from this fancy pet store outside the city. Because I spend so much time near the water nowadays, the plan is to go purchase some freshly caught fish for him and his buddy to feast on together.

If you have a dog, you can do the same or shower them with a basket of new bones or treats to chew on. Some people have even managed to create birthday cake that is safe for dogs to eat, or wine that's infused with catnip for the cat lovers out there.

2. Invite over their pals

This is probably easier if you have a dog, but friendly cats can also mingle if you do it right. Because Max isn't fully into the whole being leashed thing, he'll be celebrating his day with his best friend, Lafayette. They have sleepovers to the point where they bounce from his house to mine, I don't think they've been separated since they met.

For dog moms and dads, you can go on a group walk, visit a dog park together, or just invite a bunch over and watch them tear the place apart. It's their birthday, they should be able to get away with a little bit.

3. Buy a gift

I am the first to admit that my cat is very spoiled. He has more toys than he could ever need, he eats a better diet than myself, and probably brushes his hair more often too. This year I decided to get him something he needed rather than wanted, which is why I purchased him a pet water fountain.

Pet water fountains have so many benefits, the first being they can help prevent cat urinary infections, which is what led to Max visiting the vet multiple times last month. If you aren't sure what to purchase your pet, I definitely recommend this gift option!

4. Photograph everything

What's a birthday party without photos to remember it with? Every year we make sure to photograph the big moments, like New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. I warned you I was a crazy cat lady. Because I was so young when I had my last pet, I now have no photos to remember her by, which is why I'm basically Max's personal paparazzi now.

If you wanna go above and beyond, you can build a backdrop or just buy a birthday banner and pin it to the wall. Just make sure to pin it like 10 feet lower than usual so they four legged attendees can enjoy it too.

5. Spoil them rotten

If throwing an actual party is just too much for you, you can go the traditional route and just spoil the hell out of your pets for the day. For dogs I'd recommend buying that fancy food that comes from the refrigerated section, or some raw fish for cats. One day of no scolding or kicking them out of the bathroom while you get ready should be enough to make it special for them.

Do you spoil your pets on their birthday? If so, is is something you do in private or are you loud and proud about it like I am??

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