Two Years After College: What I’ve Learned

Two Years After College: What I’ve Learned

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Tomorrow marks exactly two years since I walked across the stage at Texas Christian University to accept my diploma for a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication. It’s crazy to think that two years have already passed, but at the same time, college seems like ages ago.

As I was reflecting on the past two years, I realized living life outside of college comes with many challenges, and that it takes a lot of effort to have a happy, successful life outside of the college bubble. Though I am in no way an expert in any of the following areas, here are the top three challenges I’ve encountered since graduating, and how I have learned to put in the effort to navigate them.

1. You Have to Make an Effort to Have a Social Life

As I wrote in this blog post, college was a magical time where all of your friends were within walking distance, and for the most part, nobody had busy schedules apart from going to class and studying. When you graduate, you suddenly realize everyone has their own life and their own social schedule, and you have to try harder to see your friends. Not to mention, most of your college friends live in other places now, so making new friends is essential.

However, as long as you make an effort to make plans with people, while also remembering that everyone is as busy as you are, you can maintain a social life that is just as rich as it was in college. I feel very fortunate to have a lot of amazing friends in my life right now, from old friends I have kept in contact with over the course of many years, to new friends who weren’t even in my life this time last year.

2. You Have to Make an Effort to Continue Learning

As I mentioned in this post, it’s been a bigger adjustment than I had anticipated to get used to not having regular classes. When you graduate, you have to actively seek out ways to continue learning, whether that is by reading, listening to podcasts, attending webinars or networking events with panels and speakers, or some other method.

For me, my preferred methods of education have been a mix of some of the above. I got really into podcasts over the last couple of years, and have also been attending regular networking events with my coworkers. And as you all know, I am a big fan of reading books as well. Though it can be harder to find ways to actively learn in your post grad life, it is definitely doable if you put your mind to it (no pun intended).

3. You Have to Make an Effort to Have Hobbies Outside of Work

One topic I haven’t covered in a blog post yet (but that I definitely can if any of you would like me to expand on it) is the difference between having hobbies in college and having hobbies in the “real world.” In college, you are exposed to hundreds of different clubs and organizations, and though you still have to make an effort to join them, it’s relatively easy to do so. I joined a sorority the first week on campus, started working at the school newspaper the next semester, and tried out various other clubs throughout my four years. And for the most part, I found it easy to join them and was often encouraged to join by classmates and friends.

I struggled for a while after I graduated with finding interests and hobbies outside of work. But I finally got into the swing of things a little over a years ago. As you all know, I joined an improv class for about eight months which was a great experience. After I stopped taking the class, I dove into my blog and started organizing a Meetup group for bloggers in Austin. These activities, along with just spending time with friends and family and trying to exercise regularly, have kept me plenty busy and made me feel more fulfilled in my life.

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What are some of the pitfalls of post-grad life you’ve experienced, and how have you helped yourself move past them? Or, if you’re still in college, what are you most nervous about tackling once you leave and enter the “real world”? Let me know in the comments!

Table Talk Tuesday With Imelda Green

Table Talk Tuesday With Imelda Green

I can’t believe this is already my fourth Table Talk Tuesday interview. I’ve been having so much fun getting to know other bloggers through this blog series! Hopefully you all are enjoying reading these conversations so far.

For today’s interview, I’m very excited to introduce Imelda. I was immediately enchanted by her blog, which features her creative handmade products, as well as step-by-step guides to creating your own masterpieces. She is definitely an inspiration to me, and I’m sure many others, when it comes to following your passions.

Without further adieu, let’s jump into the interview so you can see what I mean:

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Can you tell me the story of how you decided to start your blog, and what your blogging journey has been like so far?

I was nearing the end of my engineering studies when it finally dawned on me that this was not my path in life and that if I wanted to pursue a creative career. Without disrespect for theoretical knowledge, I think that art and design is a profession that you master mainly by doing instead of pouring over books. So I decided that starting a blog about my creative journey would motivate me to do regular work. And so it has, for over a year.

What is the most important thing you think someone should know before starting a blog?

Know your passion. Blogging takes a lot of time and hard work but that all feels like a game when you write about something you are really fascinated with. If you blog about a topic you only choose for market (or whatever other) reasons, you will lose interest in the end.

You mention on the About section of your blog that blogging helped you not fall into the trap of laziness, because it pushed you to keep creating things. What are some other ways you stay productive and motivated?

The beauty of the creative field is that there are many different aspects of the work I do, so I don’t have to be productive in the same field all the time. Fed up with writing blog posts? No problem, time to illustrate! Been painting for days on end? It’s okay, I can spend my energy on building a community around my blog. But I also allow myself to be unproductive at times, those are the moments when I re-charge my batteries, which is crucial when you are a creative. 

You also talked how you realized during your time at university that you didn’t want to spend all of your life doing architecture/engineering, when your true passions were in design and beauty. What made you finally decide to pursue your passions? 

I think that creativity is something that bursts out of you; it finds its way to the surface, unless you repress it. For the moment I am doing engineering as well as designing, which is demanding but I find I’m really lucky because I have a comfortable job, which I am choosing to do as well as a designing career, which comes naturally, and which I will eventually do full-time. So I guess I never made a very conscious decision to pursue my passion, I just acted on the natural impulse. 

“I think that creativity is something that bursts out of you; it finds its way to the surface, unless you repress it.”

What three things are at the top of your gratitude list right now?

That is definitely a hard one, as I have a very long gratitude list and I don’t normally rank them, but here it goes: I am incredibly grateful to my grandmother for introducing art to me from a very early age, to my blogger friends who keep encouraging me even when blogging seems pointless and to Mr Mozart for his genius music, which cheers me up in every situation.

What is one of your favorite inspirational quotes?

There is a quote above my desk that I learned from Thomas Frank’s youtube channel: “’I don’t feel like it’ is a matter of choice”. It is very tempting – especially in the creative field – to only do work when you ‘feel inspired’. But inspiration is something you can actually control and the difference between amateur and professional artists is that professionals don’t wait for the perfect moment, they do it anyway. It might not be perfect, but a first draft is always better than an empty piece of paper.

Who is your biggest “girl crush” in terms of female entrepreneurs, celebrities, or any other woman you look up to, and why?

Uh, that’s another difficult one, I have so many. I’m really thankful for all the things I learned about running an online business from Melyssa Griffin, she is amazing, and I always find artistic motivation when I watch the youtube channel of Holly Exley.   

What is the best advice you have ever received from someone?

Better done than perfect. I have seen/heard this advice so many times and I honestly think that perfectionism sabotages our actions just too many times. It won’t be perfect, but it will get better with time. And better and better…

What is your greatest achievement so far in life, and what is one thing you still hope to accomplish?

I’m really proud of getting over the world constantly telling me I am not good enough and following my own path in the artistic field. I am hoping to continue this journey until I can run my business full time.    

“I’m really proud of getting over the world constantly telling me I am not good enough and following my own path in the artistic field.”

I have to throw a fun one in here to wrap this up. If you could have one super power, which would you choose?

Well, I would definitely be grateful for the ability to teleport. Travelling can sometimes be stressful in a big city, especially when it’s cold and dark outside (hello February :). I also have some good friends abroad whom I’d love to see more often at slightly less expense.

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I just loved everything Imelda had t0 say about creativity and how she got to where she is today. My favorite part about these interviews is hearing everyone’s stories. Please be sure to check out Imelda’s blog and follow her on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/imeldagreens

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/imeldagreens/

Pinterest: https://hu.pinterest.com/imeldagreens/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/imeldagreens

Tumblr: http://imeldagreens.tumblr.com

Tips for Surviving Sorority Recruitment 

Tips for Surviving Sorority Recruitment 

Judging from all of the posts I’m seeing on social media, this week is Recruitment Week (aka Rush Week) at the college I went to, so I’m guessing lots of other colleges are having it this week as well. Since I went through recruitment myself about five years ago, (wow times flies), I thought I’d share a few tips for surviving the week. It can definitely be an overwhelming process, but hopefully these tips will make it easier.

Be Yourself

I know this is cliche and might seem like a no-brainer, but I really think it is one of the most important things to remember. If you act like someone you’re not, you’re not giving the women the chance to truly get to know you, and you’re also running the risk of ending up in a sorority that isn’t the right fit for you.

Avoid Snap Judgements

While first impressions mean a lot, they aren’t everything. I actually didn’t like my sorority very much the first few days of recruitment. Luckily they liked me and kept inviting me back, and each day I started liking them more and more and really connecting with the people I was talking to. The point is, the houses that are your favorites on the first day may not be your favorite by the end of the week, and vice versa. Try to keep an open mind towards every single sorority you visit.

Ignore Other People’s Opinions

Inevitably you will overhear other PNMs (Potential New Members) talking about the sororities with their friends, and sometimes with you as well. Everyone is different, so you might hear them making rude comments about a house you liked, or saying they loved one that you hated. Don’t let this get in your head. Stick to your gut and how you truly feel about each of the houses, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Trust the Process

Again, this is extremely cheesy and you are probably rolling your eyes right now. But it’s such an important thing to remember! Like I mentioned, I initially didn’t like my sorority but now looking back I can’t imagine ending up anywhere else. I met all of my best friends there, and I really felt like I belonged in that group of girls. It obviously happened for a reason!

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Whether you’re in the middle of your recruitment week right now, gearing up to start in the next few weeks, or just looking forward to joining a sorority when you get to college, I hope these four tips will help you feel more comfortable, and bring you some much-needed clarity during the difficult process. Best of luck!

College Grad Ramblings: No More Classes

College Grad Ramblings: No More Classes

It’s been almost 14 months since I graduated college, and somehow it took me this long to realize something. I miss learning. I miss going to classes five days a week. I’m sure that seems weird to some who are still in college and are so happy to be on summer break right now, but it’s true. College is a very unique time when you have all of this knowledge handed to you.

Now, that’s not to say that I don’t learn new things now. I am learning new things every day at my job, in my free time when I listen to podcasts, and even just chatting with friends and family. I believe that we never stop learning. But there is something so special about sitting in a classroom and learning from a professor that I really do miss.

How did I make this realization about missing classes, you might be wondering? Well, my sister and I attended a seminar/workshop thing last week that opened my eyes to a lot, including the fact that I miss learning. The event was called Quantum Leap for Young Adults, and it gave participants the chance to sit and listen to a presentation by Gary Keller. He covered everything from setting goals, to managing finances. I took notes the whole time and really felt like I was back in the classroom again. It was awesome.

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It made me think a lot, not just about the topics he covered (which I could probably write a whole blog about if you all would be interested), but about why exactly that type of learning feels so different than everyday learning. What I mean by that is, why do I miss sitting in a classroom and having a professor lecture to me, when I am getting so much “real world” experience now that I am out of college? I haven’t quite figured it out yet, honestly. There’s just something distinctly different about the two types of learning.

It’s made me think that I want to try to emulate going to class more in my life, whether that is by going to networking events, attending webinars, or something else. I haven’t decided how it will play out yet, but all I know is that I miss being taught, and I love learning.

Let me know in the comments if any of you have experienced similar feelings since graduating college, and if you’ve managed to keep the element of taking classes in your life somehow. I’d also love to hear from current college or even high school students; what do you love about your classes?

College Grad Ramblings: Social Life

College Grad Ramblings: Social Life

I have officially been a college graduate for one year (and three weeks), so I thought I would start a little series where I share some of the big lessons I learned this year.

For the first post, I want to talk about my social life since graduating. Hopefully some of you can relate to this, and those of you who are still in college can get an idea of what to expect.

College is so great because you have all of your friends in one place; you can walk to each other’s dorms, meet up in the cafeteria, or say hi to each other on the way to class. After freshman year you will probably even live with your friends. Hanging out is an effortless task.

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My sophomore roommates and me, the day we moved in
Post-college life is much different. Not only are you most likely not living in the same city as your college friends anymore, but you’re working a full time job. Finding time to see your friends, much less meeting new friends, can seem almost impossible. I was lucky in that I moved back to my hometown and already had a lot of friends here. But I still had to learn to push myself to invite them to hang out, and also had to get outside my comfort zone to meet new friends. I found that with the stress of starting a new job, I often felt too tired or too busy to hang out with friends, even though I knew I should.

If you read my New Years Resolutions blog, you know that one of my resolutions was to make more time for friends. Though I haven’t always lived up to my goal of seeing friends three times a week, I have definitely been pushing myself to jump on any opportunity to be social, no matter how much I feel like just staying home and watching Netflix. A secret I learned is to just say “yes” to any opportunity to go out with friends, before you have time to second guess it or convince yourself you don’t want to go.

I have also been making an effort to meet new friends, which I think is extremely important for anyone who is newly graduated. My improv class has been my main way of making new friends, and I would highly recommend finding a hobby or activity outside of work where you can meet new people. Growing up I always enjoyed having multiple different groups of friends, so this has been a great way for me to find a new group to spend time with.

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My awesome improve class
All in all I think I’ve done a pretty good job of adjusting to my new social life after college, but it is always a work in progress. I still have those days where I don’t feel like being social, and I still feel anxious about meeting new people every now and then. Reminding myself that I will never regret spending time with friends is my main motivation.

Let me know in the comments if you experienced any of these things when you graduated! Also, I’d love to hear ideas for other ramblings I should do about post-grad life.

Life doesn’t always go according to plan

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been really itching to start blogging again, but I just haven’t been able to decide on what to write. Writing about Spain was easy- who doesn’t love writing about travel and adventure? When I got back from Spain I told myself I would keep writing about random things, and I had plenty of ideas, but alas, my senior year began and I just didn’t have the time or energy to make an effort. I also kept telling myself that my life wasn’t interesting enough to write about.

Fast forward to now: I am a proud TCU graduate with a degree in Public Relations and Advertising, and a Spanish minor. However, there are a few things in my life that are not at all how I pictured them. When I was going to TCU, I had this whole plan for what things would look like after graduation: I would have a full-time job that I loved, I would be living in Austin in a cute little apartment all my own, and I would be surrounded by great friends. In reality, I am currently living back at home with my parents, I am still looking for a job, and I suddenly feel as though all of my close friends are elsewhere. This situation, and the fact that I find myself utterly unable to control my own life, has been very difficult for me to handle.

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I have always been a planner. I loved planning fabulous birthday parties for myself when I was growing up. I was always the friend in the group that would get back in contact with everyone from high school and plan group get-togethers whenever we were back in Austin during college. And I used a calendar and planner religiously for my college classes. I just like to feel in control, which I think is a natural desire for most people. I have also always been a dreamer and an optimist. I have thought up countless ideas for books and movies inside my own head, and I am constantly trying to see the brighter side of a situation. This has made the reality of my life even more difficult, because I have had to realize that some things cannot be controlled or planned. I have applied to and interviewed for countless jobs, but in the end have had no real tangible control over whether or not I land the job. The optimist in me keeps telling myself that those jobs just weren’t meant to be. That I will find the right fit eventually. But it’s hard not to start feeling defeated and take things personally.

I suppose all you can do is try your best to reach your goals, while also realizing that sometimes life doesn’t go according to the plan you have laid out for yourself. I always pictured myself getting a job before I graduated, living on my own, and generally living up my post-grad life. But you know what else I pictured myself doing at one point in life? Being a professional ballerina. Starring in a movie. Joining a band. Playing intramural sports in college. Getting my Hogwarts letter. Dating Ashton Kutcher. You get my point.

Thinking about all of those dreams and plans that at one point seemed so important to me makes me realize that sometimes it’s best to just sit back, relax and enjoy life as it unfolds. Without trying to micromanage it or decide your own fate. I didn’t die from not playing sports in college or becoming a famous actress. And I certainly won’t be killed by unemployment.

So if you are in my shoes, and you’ve been feeling down about the seemingly unfair cards you have been dealt lately, just remember that it gets better. Okay that was cheesy. But seriously, remember that not everything in life can be planned, and not everything will happen the way you hope it will. Just take a deep breathe, and keep working towards your goals, without beating yourself up or concentrating on your “failures”. And if you NEED to feel in control over something, try making some small decision that you know will make you happy. For instance, I just cut my hair shorter after having it long for a while now. I’m loving the new haircut, and it weirdly makes me feel very empowered. Like I have a say in the changes in my life. I may not have full control over when I get a job, but I sure as heck have control over when I get a killer new look!

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Comment below if you have gone through what I am going through. I would love to hear any pieces of advice you might have for staying positive and letting go of things that aren’t in my control!