What am I doing?! Where am I going?!

“What am I doing?! Where am I going?!”-Post grad as described by one of my best friends, Aime. Even though she has a clear idea of her destination, she is still uneasy about getting there.

The best kind of phone calls these days are the ones where we laugh about how daunting this whole process is and marvel at how unprepared we feel.

Aime then asked me, “How is it possible that I have a bachelor’s degree, but I still have to work two jobs?! Why don’t I just have one, nice job with decent pay?”

That question spelled out everything I’ve been feeling but somehow never could see as plainly as I did in that moment. What she said about her situation was so ridiculous we were both hysterical about how unfortunate her life sounded. Funny thing is, what she described is pretty normal.

It’s crazy to think that no matter how much someone may have planned out their future steps, they might still feel uneasy. I know it’s because we often give ourselves little credit; we aren’t ever satisfied with the process of success and much more concerned about the end product of our journey. Working two jobs with a bachelor’s degree will help her get to where she wants to be. Working two jobs makes life challenging and therefore the success more valuable. Not to mention, we can’t all expect to have it simply made for us the second we step out of college. She is actually one of four friends I know with multiple jobs. All of them are determined to get the most out of what they can in this first year graduated from school. They have jobs in their field, side jobs to help the bills and even jobs that cater to their hobbies.

While all these jobs may cause you to feel like you’re all over the place, I think it sustains our movement forward. All these jobs that kick our asses and wear us out are actively building up to something greater.

As my slightly wiser friend, Sheila, told me, “You’re supposed to be unhappy with where you are right now. It keeps you motivated.”

True and it keeps us pushing harder.

In short, asking, “where am I going?” keeps you going.

Battle of the Dishes

Life with mom and dad can tend to be mundane, especially if you’re living in suburbia. It can become so mundane that each of you begin to nitpick the other for the tiniest, insignificant domestic issues. Of course, it doesn’t feel tiny and insignificant. Being at home can make your world feel shrunken back to high school size. The pace and flow of your life takes a beat after college. It slows down and tries to catch its breath after four years of hustle and bustle.

When your world feels smaller, small problems seem bigger. You come from your day at work or job hunting, you walk through the threshold, and there is mom or dad pestering you about something.

In my case it is household chores. At my mother’s house it has become a battle of the dishes.

I come home from a full day at my job; a job I wake up for at 4am. I drive an hour in traffic to get back to Crown Town and I walk in the doors around 3 or 4. I take some time to relax, maybe I take a nap.

Shortly after, in comes mother. Wondering why I haven’t cleaned the kitchen. A mess that I haven’t contributed to on my own in this three-person household. Now, I have no issues with cleaning up after a mess I’ve made. However, there’s always someone who doesn’t bother cleaning or maybe they feel like they have done their share already. Next thing you know you’re debating about the most inane topic. It feels like 17 all over again. Except now you have less of that rebel fire in you and you quickly give up just to get the rest of the family to shut up.

Whether your parents are on you for chores, not spending enough quality time, your personal organization, or life choices, I guarantee that it will make you insane given enough of a push.

You will think to yourself, when did my life become this? How much longer until I can have my own place again? How did I think coming back would be so easy?

Then you remember, you haven’t much of a choice. You’re living there to save money, and you’re parents are giving you a roof for free. This is their territory so no matter what, they win. This is THE most difficult pill to swallow, but you do it because you need shelter and they’re family.

Hang in there, kid. Because even though you are over the legal age, that’s all you are to them, a kid. Their kid. Their kid who has come crawling back to them. You basically have no power. The sooner you accept this, the better.

What Fun Is Life If You Don’t Rag On Yourself A Little?

Friends, I begin today’s post with social media’s preferred medium of entertainment:

the Meme.

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Some of you may wonder why I have chosen this to particular image as my choice meme of the day…

Sarcasm. Surely you must understand why I have plastered this onto my blog.

I AM EMBER SWEENEY (cue the cries.)

This meme embodies all that I am in my postgrad affairs. Look at her dopey smile. It screams, “Sorry mom and dad, this is the best I can do right now, heh.” I feel you Ember, I do.

My losers friends and I laughed at this when I shared it our group chat. Although we aren’t complete bums doing nothing at home (more like partial bums), we often find self-deprecation amusing.

I am here to tell the rest of you that it’s okay to have an Ember Sweeney phase in your life. Laugh it off, move on, and move out (as soon as you can!)

Lying Low and Avoiding Everyone You Want To

The byproduct of your postgrad funk  (see previous post) will be the desire to avoid any and all situations in which your current situation and future plans might be brought up in conversation. No one wants to catch up with others if they have nothing of value to update the others on. Of course, “value” is subject to each person’s own definition. In my case “value” is not working part time at Chick-fil-A and instead swapping it out for a nice, shiny (ANY OTHER KIND OF) job, but I digress.

I’m not so dramatic as to avoid all my close friends and relatives. (Definitely can’t avoid the relatives because I’m living at home). However, I find myself updating social media less and less. Part of the reason is due to the fact that I really don’t have interesting things going on anyway, all anyone would see would be me frowning in my work uniform, complaining about my annoying-ass customers. “NO our food is not gluten free, this is a FAST-FOOD CHICKEN restaurant!” “Yes, I will tell the kitchen workers to cut your sandwich into fourths, right after I tell you to go fuck yourself.”

Okay, a little harsh. Don’t worry I said that last part in my head and have long since mastered the art of being a fake bitch (Grin and bare it.)

I don’t particularly enjoy running into friends and acquaintances from college, especially those who are still in college and have yet to be hit with the harsh reality of postgrad life.

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Weeks before graduation. As one can see, my eyes are full with the sparkles of hope.

Anyone who has graduated can empathize with the struggle. Undergrads still have stars in their eyes about what life looks like after 16 years of school. I’d rather not deal with bursting the bubble. I also hate feeling the need to over-explain exactly what I’ve been up to in the last 6 months. Who knew 6 months could go by so fast? If you want a quick summary, here’s what I’ve been up to: indeed.com and myfedloan.org

That’s it. TaDa. Exciting stuff, folks.

So what do I prefer to do instead of catching up with people and posting bits of my life on social media? Job hunt for one. Two, job hunt. Three, job hunt. Four, Netflix. Five, job hunt.

There you have it, a “how to lie low” guide. In other words: focus, focus, focus on what you really want. Ignore the outside world (in moderation) so that you may get to where you want to be. Of course don’t cast everyone aside, reply to a text if you must every once and a while, but lying low in a sense IS how to figure shit out. Take some time for yourself, girl!

What To Do When You Hit Your Postgrad Funk

Enact the position of the above photo, otherwise…

The hell would I know. I’M in a postgrad funk. It has been a reluctant acceptance. A slow on-coming, creeping in one step at a time. It would poke its head inside the door, change its mind, walk away, and then it ran back into my life, full force as of yesterday. It likes to sleep next to me, keeping me up at night with his internal pillow talk. I should give him a name. Yes it’s a he.

Every college graduate hits a postgrad funk. If you haven’t yet, just wait for it. Or maybe instead, you had a senior year meltdown. I’m not sure which is worse. Unlike the common panic that plagues students in their fourth year, postgrad funk likes to play a bit cooler. He doesn’t send you into hysterics, he doesn’t have you flustering about. He’s the bitch that makes you front with your peers. You act like you’re more or less fine on the outside, but he’s nagging at you inside your head.

“Look at that, your best friend just got hired in her intended career field”

“Wow, he’s applied to so many graduate schools. And he’s been accepted!”

“Do you even know what you’re doing?! Or are you just lying to yourself?”

Postgrad funk keeps you thinking. Postgrad funk might make you cry one day out of the blue, for no particular reason you can see. The only good thing about postgrad funk is that at least you’re away from a lot of your college friends, so they don’t have to know. Postgrad funk will make you want to keep a low profile until you have your shit figured out. Postgrad funk, in my case, has been caused my self-comparison to others and the need for things to move faster. Impatience is holding hands with Insecurity.

Nothing seems to be good enough when you are in a postgrad funk. Sure, you’re living on your own, but you struggle with rent. Big deal you graduated, but now you worry about grad school. You have an internship, but it doesn’t even pay. There’s always a “but.” There’s never satisfaction. You’re always searching for more.

You’ve gained maybe a bit more maturity these last four years, so you recognize that this is temporary and it happens. However, it doesn’t keep the experience from sucking.

So what do you do when you feel stuck? Keep pushing yourself in the direction you think is best for yourself. Do small things that make you happy in your free time. Try your best not to fall into that downward spiral. Wait it out. Keep yourself busy as best you can and one day, you’ll be out of it. Onward and Upward to better things. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The New Townies

I always assigned the word “townie” to those who never made it past high school, who never made past the driveway of their mom’s house, let alone past the town line of the city they grew up in. It has been an identity given to those who just didn’t make it out. They didn’t try hard enough; or maybe were never presented the opportunity to leave. Something kept them back and left them to a tiny, limited world with tiny, limited views and life experience. All their other classmates moved out of town, out of state, found big jobs, big opportunities, traveled, and lived. Meanwhile, the townies sat in their parents’ backyard at 19 or 20-something with all their townie friends. Sucks to suck.

Then I graduated college. Moved back home for a “temporary” amount of time. I’d be out within the year, definitely. I reconnected with my oldest friends. And we met up at the local Yogurtland on a weekly basis to discuss the drastic yet familiar change of pace: living at home, in search of a full time job, broke as fuck. And suddenly, we became the new kind of townie. Because there is not just one type of townie, but rather two. One never leaves, the other leaves but then ends up at square one. This second definition has become a scary limbo with no certain end date. It all depends on how much you work your ass off and the sheer, dumb luck of someone (ANYONE) throwing a job your way.

Once I realized my newfound identity, I had to share with the rest of the club. This “club” currently consists of a whopping three members. We so affectionately and laughingly have deemed ourselves The Losers of Crown Town. Thus came the inspiration for the name of this blog. I don’t think the “Losers” part of the title needs any explanation. Hello, living at home with no full time career in the foreseeable future. “Crown Town” is the nickname of our little, suburban bubble that we grew up in and then came running back to after the University of California, Irvine spit us out with that lovely student debt all of us American graduates are so familiar with. My fellow losers went to the same high school and university as myself, and we were all given the same fate. One is currently working on applying to graduate school for a teaching credential, the other just finished her last necessary course to be counted as officially graduated, and I am still stuck at my part-time food service job I had while at UCI.

While we are in this awkward position, an arm’s reach (hopefully) away from true adulthood. I have decided to document our circumstances in hopes that one day, when we are all successful and established, we may look back and be glad that we are no longer broke postgrads living off their parents. And so, in the words of my favorite daily vloggers:

“Are you ready?! Because this might get boring”

The Perks of Starting Out

It can be incredibly easy to freak out about how behind in life you feel. It’s tempting to spend your day in a constant worry that you may not be taking the right steps towards the life you have so carefully planned out. However, there is a plus to not being certain.

Possibilities!

There’s an entire stretch of life with several different avenues. It’s both an ominous abyss and a million opportunities asking you to try them out. Anything could happen. Scary or exciting? More than likely, it’s both. Take a few deep breaths and refrain from hitting the panic button just yet. Appreciate that life can take you anywhere; it can give you things you didn’t even know you wanted. Cheesy? I’ll stop now.

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