You just graduated. Now what?

5 years ago, I graduated from Elon University.

The Timehop app has been rudely reminding me of this – and it’s not rude because it wasn’t a good memory or anything – but rude because of the way I looked in all the pictures.

Allow me to elaborate.

photo 1No….just. Absolutely not.

I need to understand a few things about this photo.  Why am I sweating like a whore in church?  Why hadn’t Vanessa Williams yet introduced me to the wonders of the Proactiv Solutions?  Why hadn’t someone encouraged me to eat a few more salads instead of going to Cookout while drunk?  All questions we may never know the answer to.

photo 3Well folks who graduated this past weekend at Elon, or who graduated anywhere really, I want to first congratulate you on such a huge accomplishment.  All joking aside, college is a really insane and stressful time – not only are you expected to be academically successful, you’re suddenly navigating love, roommates, employment, internships, cover letters, freaking learning how to put a professional email together, all while also going through that awkward process that is the ages of 18-22. It’s a lot.  So seriously, props to you guys.

You graduated, so now what?

graduation

  1. Your parents are going to be in really really really good moods and really proud of you.  They’re going to send an email out to the entire family announcing your graduation.  Cherish that because they’re totally gonna not care in a couple of years what you’re doing. My parents have not always been sure what state I was in, I’m gonna put it to you that way.
  2. Your relatives will hand you wads of money to start your new life with.  Do NOT buy you and your friends shots with it because you will be feeling extra foolish mid-summer when you’re still kinda looking for a job.  Take all of that cash, and put it away, just in case your end up on your butt a few months after graduation.  Trust me.
  3. Make sure you keep in touch with those professors that really stuck out to you.  I have cultivated relationships with two professors in particular who really made my education at Elon special. I’ve made two incredibly smart friends, and as a bonus, I feel as though, at least for those recommendation letters for graduate school, I had some strong folks to choose from.  Make sure you thank them, and keep them close to you – they are always an incredible resource to have.
  4. It’s so tempting to relax by the pool for a month.  Hey, you deserve it, right?  But if you’re not going to travel or take a gap year, and you haven’t yet found a job, it’s really time to start looking.  Even if you’ve got plans to head over to graduate school in the fall, there is nothing wrong with keeping yourself busy and making a little bit of cash until you move onto your next venture.  Even if it’s a typical summer job, like at a camp, I would do it.
  5. Postpartum may set in.  This is completely normal.  4 huge years of your life were building up to this.  And now, it’s just done.  You might be weepy and sad, and really find yourself yearning for any excuse to hang out with your old crew, which is fine.  This is a really, really good time to start working on yourself, especially now that there’s a good chance you might have more free time than you did before.  This definitely happened to me – I was hurting after I graduated for a number of reasons.  It took me too long, but I got into crafting, writing, and eventually began teaching Zumba, running, hiking, lifting, and creating an identify for myself outside of Elon University.
  6. It’s time to create your own identity. You’re now a real grownup.  You no longer have step practice or a cappella practice.  You don’t have to write papers.  Friends are not built into your every day – you have to actually work to begin and maintain friendships, as well as romantic relationships. There is no dining hall, no RA, and generally no free pizza on random nights.  When you graduate is when it really begins.  Who are you going to be?

Okay, that’s my commencement speech for all of you beauties that have graduated over the last few weeks, or are planning to do so.

**One last thing**

Discouraging things may happen over the next few months. You might not get an interview right away.  Your college boyfriend, the one who you thought you might marry?  It might not work out.  The girls you could not be separated from may move to Texas and leave you behind.  You feel like you have no friends.  You’re in a new city.  Whatever.  Keep your head up because it gets better.  Discouraging things can’t happen forever.  Things will look up for you.  So keep it up with the persistence, and make sure you keep your ears open to learn from those who have done it before you.

Ok! Done!

 

You know you went to Elon if….

Elon’s been in the news a good bit.  Remember  the camels out on the yard?  Anyone?  Yep, that was us.

I will never stop talking about what a fantastic school Elon University was/continues to be.  If you’re reading and you’re thinking of attending or sending your kids, do NOT pass go, just do it.  I’m literally not even kidding.  DO ITTTT.  And now, here is my incredible list!

elon-is-incredible-campus

  • You can’t think of a single ugly person you went to school with.  Even that girl that shows up to your 8am in dirty sweatpants who smells like cigarettes and alcohol?  Have you seen her all cleaned up?  She looks amazing.
  • You know what SURF day is. 
  • Winter Term.  You go to class all day for a month, then go to the bar at night and practice your dance moves for spring break with the help of most of the football team.
  • Instead of being a responsible, global citizen, you spent a SURF Day or a reading day eve out until 4am.  Then you went to a presentation really early. 
  • You had a job on-campus.  In fact, you had like 3.  
  • Overcommitted was your middle name.  You went from meeting to meeting, then to a training and then to dinner with friends.
  • Speaking of dinner, despite the fact that you and all of your friends were disgustingly attractive, you gained like 40 pounds from eating constantly.  Food you ate was not limited to Cookout, Chic-Fil-A sandwiches, and sketchy food from Red Bowl place that’s on special.
  • You’ve been in the line at Cookout at 3am and seen like 40 friends there. 
  • You side-eye High Point University.  It may look like a resort, but we are a botanical garden, dammit!
  • You once (or twice) skipped class to lay out on the “boobs” in a bikini and yet…
  • Somehow, your grades are amazing…
  • Even though the weekend starts on Wednesday night.
  • Ain’t no party like a PiKapp party cause a PiKapp party don’t stop!  Now someone pass the Busch Light!
  • Nike shorts + Big nasty t-shirt + boat shoe = your new uniform.  This will only change on days that you have a presentation.
  • Global citizen?  Thaaat’s me!  Seriously, you studied abroad and found your new outlook on life like three times while you were here.

  • And finally.  You, like everyone else entered college as kind of an asswipe.  Until some amazing professor bitch-slapped you into reality with your first 79 on a paper.  You’re now a successfully working adult because of it.

Thanks, Elon ❤ !!!

Also, just cause I’m nosy, where’d you go to school?

-I went to Elon, my sister went to Duke, and my other sister went to Auburn.  My brother is gearing up for his first year at NC State which means he will be over at our house doing laundry for the next 4 years.

Engagement anxiety – a wedding post.

I was, and am thrilled to be getting married.  Absolutely thrilled.  I’m still in disbelief that someone wants to marry me, but that’s another discussion for another day.

We finally put a deposit down on the venue, and I feel like such a huge weight is lifted.   I literally, to the chagrin of me darling neighbors, did a Rockettes-styled dance when I hung up the phone with Jeremy, my point person at the venue.  The search for a venue was a frustrating one – especially because there’s no real indication of whats in your price range and what’s not until you visit a place.  And then they tell you it’s a $20,000 food minimum.  And then you die kinda.

Meadow
Here it is, the beautiful place where we will be getting married August 23, 2014.

Kudos to all you brides that make it look like you spent a year to a year-and-a-half enjoying making wedding plans over a bubbly pedicure with little flutes of champagne, and your wedding binder in your lap, but whatever.  I am SO not that bride.  Well, not yet.

There’s a little bit of anxiety that comes with being engaged, anxiety about the fact that you’re in this state of limbo, not a girlfriend, but not yet a wife, and you’re expected to run around with clouds around your feet, singing songs, and spreading your arms wide when you hit the high notes.  And any shred of anxiety is supposed to mean that you’re making a huge mistake, right?  Wrong.

Yes, I’m wearing a beautiful diamond ring, and I literally cannot wait to walk down the aisle and become an official family with Austin.  But the diamond doesn’t transcend all, and daily things and logistics about the wedding will create anxiety.  In the span of time since I’ve gotten engaged, I lost my grandmother, moved apartments suddenly, and started a new job, so arrest me for being a little off-kilter.

Additionally, the pressure from other people adds to this.  People making demands as far as their invites, worries about money, logistics of getting 150 folks into your city and housed, fed, and drinked for a night, complaints from family members about your choice of dress, hairstyle, the venue – these all will add to some of your anxiety.

So brides-to-belisten here.  If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, and you’re worried that your worry is a sure sign that you’re a freak, destined to be alone forever, chill out.  You’re not the only one and your worry is normal.  Relax and remember that in a few months, you’re about to throw the party of the dang century.  Cheers!