Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year: A 2010 Retrospective

My personal resolutions and resolutions for other empty pocket grads are on their way but first I wanted to talk about the point of New Year's resolutions beforehand.

The point of resolutions is to reflect on what you've done the last year and write down your goals for the upcoming one. I feel like many people skip the first part and sometime the writing part of the resolutions as well! I don't remember my resolutions from last year, which is bad.

But I'm going to take a moment to reflect on 2010 before the clock strikes 12.

1) I can do push-ups again. I ran my first 5k since high school. I can Down Dog. These may sound like little athletic accomplishments but after a injury ridden last five years, I'm thankful to reach them again.

2) I moved across the country. Something that I worked on for the past year was this move. Between working 40 hours a week while finishing school and trying to find my first car, it was a lot of work but it's one of my biggest accomplishments.

3) I produced a documentary. Our turn around time was pretty quick too.

4) I started this blog and found that permanent job. Unfortunately the latter made this blog slightly less exciting. I was hoping to blog about job hunting from the perspective of the disgruntled, unemployed recent grad a bit longer.

5) I overcame my fear of the oven. Now I can make mean mac n cheese, baked ziti, and other casseroles.

6) I cut my cable. This is terribly saddening but I'm saving about $300 a year and still find time to watch my shows (with friends).

7) I moved in and out of three different apartments. Now I'm living with my best friend and roomskie. Unfortunately, this only happened after some ugly verbal spats in the middle edition.

8) Company Softball Champions. Nuff said.

9) Angry Birds. A late entry in 2010 but a very addictive game. The reason I both want and don't want an IPad.

10) I'm a writer. Maybe I need to write more on Empty Pocket Grad but if you include my other projects, I did a lot and loved every bit of it. It's something I'm really passionate about so don't be surprised if you see a quote from yours truly @advicetowriters someday. Modest--I know.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year's Resolutions For The Soon-To-Be Grad

It's that time of year again--the end and the beginning of the next year. I've seen a lot of cynical tweeters say New Year's Resolutions are just reminders of what you didn't do this year. While this is true, it's still good to sit down and review your goals and the steps to achieve them.

As a result, I'm going to write four posts on resolutions over the next week (Sorry I'm traveling with limited access to internet until 2011). Starting now

New Year's Resolutions--The College Senior

These next few months leading up to graduation are part of a war between two opposing forces: Last Hoorahs and Serious Thinking Moments.

1. Have The (Money and Job) Talk with the Parents
Depending on your parents or your career path, you may have already had a million versions of this conversation: What are you doing after graduation? Where are you working? Where are you living? Who is paying the bills? It's important to have this conversation now if not earlier.

I know many college grads whose parents have had skewed expectations of their post-graduate life. My own included--until I had this conversation for the 10th time and we reached an agreement. The point is that it's better to iron out the wrinkles in your "adult pants" now than risk your relationships later.

2. Consider Relocation
Going with part one, it's time to consider where you are living. Will you move to a big city? Or will you move home? Or does your industry require you to transplant yourself elsewhere? I went to a large university in New York City I loved New York life--but it's not affordable. For various reasons, I can only count a handful of friends who stayed in the city. But many have found other homes--relocating for various reasons. Here are some examples.

-One friend started living in New York working a few part-time jobs while trying to find the one. After her lease expired and she was still jobless, she moved home to Cleveland where she received her first full-time position.

-Another friend also stayed in New York and after a year, she moved to Greece to teach English.

-I moved from New York to Los Angeles to work in "the industry." I work full-time at a great company and was lucky enough to make a super smooth transition.

3. Make A Date With Your Career Center
If you haven't already, it's time to stop into the career center. Though many programs are geared towards recruiting, resume writing and interviews--an individual appointment with a career counselor can put you ahead of your fellow classmates. Even if you already know a lot about job hunting.

For example, I met with my career counselor in February and demanded she help me figure out how to move to LA and find a job. She gave me what advice she could--some I knew and some I didn't. She also connected me to a young alumni who wrote an LA Guide for recent grads. This alum was instrumental to my successful LA landing.

4. Go On One Last Adventure
You may be tempted to sit at home and apply to jobs over your spring break but don't. I commend you for your determination but once you are in the working world, you might not have the time or finances for these week long adventures. Personally, I would pick the Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter (but that wasn't open when I was in school).

5. And One Last Bar Crawl
I really am not a bar crawl fan but I think that last one would have been a blast. My friend's did it while I was out of town and it's nice they had this last truly collegiate moment.

6. Start Saving
If you don't have a savings account open one now. Better yet--consider a High Interest Savings account via E-Trade or INGDirect. You can be saving for a car, an apartment, or retirement but it's best to start now.

7. Learn To Boil Water
Because you want to be able to at least make Ramen every night. It's surprising how late night munchies disappear once you move away from campus so being able to cook for yourself will get you far. If you are feeling particularly culinary, look into new dishes on All Recipes and Martha Stewart.

8. Upgrade your Tech
If your laptop is on its last leg, consider purchasing a new one with your student discount before graduation. Some universities let you receive your discount with an alumni card or for up to one year after graduation. This is also a great time to grab software from sites such as if you want the latest photoshop.

9. Get Carded
Find out how to secure a university alumni card and what your alumni programs can do to help you. For example, I know my card gets a 25% discount on insurance and would get me a few free gym visits if I was still in the area.

10. Fit in Fitness
Because the pounds will add up if you don't make a habit now.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weekend Read: 12.17.10

It's literally been a month since I've posted a weekend read but there have been a lot of good articles as we head into the holiday season.

  1. Are Internship the New Entry-Level Jobs [The Huffington Post]
  2. How To Use Party Season To Help Your Career [FruGal]
  3. Budgeting Mistakes Everyone Has Made[FiveCentNickel]
  4. How To Make The Most of Free Shipping Day [Yahoo! Finance]
  5. What Caffeine Actually Does To Your Brain [Gizmodo]

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hot Saturday Night: Working In

Remember in college when finals rolled around? You reserved a study room in LL2 of Bobst with a group of friends while you convinced yourself you wouldn't be distracted? Or when you stayed in the dorms and ordered pigged out on delivery while writing that 20 page paper on Descartes?

I just had one of those nights--as a post grad.

Unfortunately, my friends and I work in a business where homework is still plagues our Sunday nights and like finals week, the homework has added up. In addition to writing some blog posts for this week, I have 4 movies to watch, 2 scripts to read and my own writing to work on.

How do you make time for these things?

For the past few weeks, I've been trying to buckle down and get real work done by isolating myself in my apartment. Ultimately, this leads to watching entire seasons of Bones and the newest Star Trek movie multiple times. So when my friend was stressing over her own workload--we came together in collegiate fashion.

We held a Work-In in her living room. We agreed to work for a few hours, order dinner, work until the Thai food arrived, take a TV & dinner break, then work some more. Best part is--it worked. We held each other accountable and made sure there was no browsing the internet and no watching Bones.

For the first time in a month, I actually got something done and made major progress!

Needless to say I think we will be holding Work-Ins more often.