It’s been one year since I graduated college.
It’s really hard to fathom how much has changed and how quickly time has passed. A year ago, I was 21, unemployed (career-wise, anyway), three hours away, blog-free, and completely terrified for the future. A year later, I am 22, a full-time teacher and blogger, living on my own three hours away, and still fairly anxious and worried about the future. Things are a lot more complicated than I could have ever predicted, but as my friend Will put it, I’m “evolving” and have one year of life experience behind me that I didn’t have before.
If I could give any advice to new graduates it would be this . . .
- You deserve to relish in your successes and your failures. You have made it through some really challenging times and you are equipped to handle the problems that will come your way during this transition. Don’t forget to measure your success in more than just your GPA and the number of cords around your neck; count your blessings in memories and friendships.
- Take a risk. Do something you never had the courage to do before. I started a blog. Do something that scares you, but something that you really want to do.
- Use your resources to network. You never know when someone will be the key factor in getting a new job or discovering a new opportunity. Talk to friends’ parents and employers, created a LinkedIn account, read blogs in your field, pass out business cards to friends and family.
- Only apply for jobs you are willing to do. Don’t apply for jobs that you aren’t willing to relocate for. This is especially important for teachers!
- It’s okay to buy (some) things. Once you start making some money, don’t be afraid to buy bigger items that you would never have the confidence to do so before. Budget and plan accordingly, but don’t deprive yourself of something you’d really love or need.
- Pay yourself first. Do all of those intimidating, scary financial things that get you ahead. Open a savings account, start a Roth IRA, invest in your company’s 401k program, sell old items you no longer want, create a budget tracker, download the Mint app, read Ramit Sethi’s book I Will Teach You to Be Rich.
- The real world starts now. While this thought can be petrifying, don’t give up and don’t waste it away. Your “real world” may not be anything like you expected and it may not be nearly as comfortable as your college years, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be full of fun and memories and life-changing moments. Read The Defining Decade to gain a better perspective of your 20s.
- Take the time to thank people who have shaped you. Over the past year, I have learned how precious life is and that it’s important to say “Thanks for all you have done for me . . .” (This could lead back to #3!)
- Have confidence. I know this is easier said than done, but you’ve worked hard to get here and you are worthwhile to someone, to a company, to a lifestyle. You are worth knowing. You have so much to offer. Show the world how great you are.
- Prepare to learn and grow more than you can possibly realize. The work has just begun. You may think you know everything you need to know, but it’s simply not true. This can be either exciting or overwhelming–probably both most of the time. Soak up as much as you can learn and put your pride aside. Experience will teach you what you need to know.
Congratulations to new graduates! You are entering into a scary, exciting, worrisome time of your life. I am proud to have made it through a year of post-graduation life already. I wouldn’t ever go through it again, but I know that keeping the list above in mind has made it easier. It’s not over yet…
This past weekend I had the opportunity to chaperone Senior Ball/Prom. I jumped at the chance because I love to dance and enjoy seeing the kids dress up and have a good time. I had SUCH a good time and ended up dancing all night long because I was paired up with such a fun teacher and her little 5-year-old breakdancing son and I proved to myself that I’m not so much of a grandma as I have felt this year! I woke up the next day with a huge headache, which was puzzling considering I only drank water and lemonade all night (so maybe I am still a bit of a grandma after all…)
I spent quite a bit of time trying to decide what to wear because it was a formal event, but teachers don’t usually dress up as much as the kids. I also wanted to stay appropriate, so that ruled out some of my shorter cocktail dresses. I decided on this lace dress that I wore MY senior year of high school to Homecoming! It’s nice to know that it still fits (actually I think even better than 6 years ago) and I felt comfortable all night long.
I paired it with simple silver drop earrings from NY & Company, silver pumps from Goodwill, and a homemade updo (sorry no pictures of the back). I got my nails done and had a great time feeling like a giddy girl headed to the school dance.
I think the students were really happy to see me and the other teachers in a more relaxed atmosphere and loved the fact that I danced among them! It’s those kind of moments that prove that you’re still a real human being.
Anyway, did you check out my wardrobe wish list? Did you make yours? I’d love to hear about it!
Oh–and wish me luck! I’m chaperoning the senior class trip to Six Flags tomorrow…should be interesting! (Especially considering I don’t ride roller coasters…)
Linking up to: The Pleated Poppy’s WIWW, Style Elixir’s Style Sessions, Rolled up Pretty’s Whatever Whenever Wednesday, Get Your Pretty On, Transatlantic’s WIWW
You guys, I have a problem.
I have too many clothes.
I have always had too many clothes, but I really actually believe it this time. Two weekends ago, I spent some time switching out my winter and fall clothes with my spring and summer clothes. Even though I set aside a huge pile of clothes to sell and to donate (more about this later!), I was still left with a lot of clothes! I am really happy with most of the wardrobe I have built up to this point and I think I really should take advantage of the pieces I do already have instead of constantly searching for something new. Trust me–this is difficult for me to say! I love to shop and to find things that inspire me (and for a great price)!
When I unpacked my summer clothes, I organized it in my closet by type and then by color. When I saw all of the items displayed this way, I was able to see how many casual blue shirts I have or how many dressy black tops I have. I have a lot of separates that are just waiting to be remixed. (Look at Whitney’s amazing closet inventory!)
I WAS going to declare May a no-shopping month (I know, ambitious…), but I already bought a few things at Goodwill. That being said, I am definitely going to keep my purchases at the minimum.
I think seeing the clothes I DO have, I want to start a wardrobe wish list to fill the holes that I am missing, like Fran and Kate.
Here’s what’s on my list so far:
- Closed-toe nude heels
- Dressier sandals
- Silver dress heels
- Nude/tan flats (replacement)
- Khaki/tan fitted blazer
- Navy cardigan
- Red cardigan (replacement)
- white cardigan
- THE perfect white tee (not see-through!)
- Dark wash chambray pop-over
- Polka dot button down shirt
- Nerdy, literary tee
- Khaki dress pants
- Black cropped dress pants
- Striped skirt
- Winter dress shorts
- Dressier red dress
- Casual work dress(es)
- Classic bathing suit
- Awesome sports bra
- Activewear shorts
I feel like this is a solid list with a lot of classic items. I’m looking forward to filling the gaps! This wish list may grow in the coming seasons, too.
What’s on your wishlist?
Tee: T.J. Maxx
Skirt: T. J. Maxx
Flats: Famous Footwear
Necklace: NY & Co.
Is my post title awkward? Because when I brought up “maxi skirts” at school, one of my male students said he hates that word because all he can think about is a maxi pad. Gotta love teaching high school!
Anyway, the real question is whether or not maxi skirts are meant for me. I have tried on a few here and there and because my hips are a totally different proportion from my waist (yay pear-shaped!), I have not had any luck. But this one I felt I could pull off. When I got home and tried it on again, I had second thoughts. For awhile, I thought I would return it. Once I got the coral tee, I thought “What the heck?” and wore it to school. I felt very comfortable, but I’m still on the fence. It’s a bit intimidating leaving the question out to all of you, but there are some really stylish and wonderful readers out there whose opinions I would value!
On another note, I feel like things have kind of slowed down on the blog front since the Pantone challenge. I’ve posted, but I haven’t had my whole heart into everything because life has been absolutely crazy. With the end of the school year on its way and all of the senior activities going on, it is crunch time. All of you teachers out there, how are you balancing everything at this time of the year?
Hope you are all having a good start to your week! I’ll be sharing the dress I wore to chaperone prom soon!