When the Loser Moves Out of Crown Town

Post Grad Frolicking

From the moment I graduated, and quite honestly before then too, I had no tangible plans for how to handle post grad life. For the first 6 months I stayed at my college job and, without too much worry, decided to enjoy life beyond the restrictions of school schedules and assignments. My friends and I went on camping trips, went out on Saturday nights, went to Vegas and enjoyed the freedom of making travel plans without having to worry about class.

Yet when those first six months were up, I began to feel uneasy. What was I going to do from there? I had no internship experience and every job I wanted needed experience. Feelings of being utterly lost began to creep up. It was exactly at that six month mark that I created this blog, started my internship at the magazine I now freelance for and tried to really start a plan for myself.

There’s a whole lot of pressure to jump from that graduation stage and stick the perfect landing on a full time job. Reality is, it’s pretty damn hard to do even if you plan ahead. Post graduation is going to look extremely different for everyone. “That’s what they all say, Kiara.” Well yah, because it’s true!

I can only think of two people in my circle who didn’t move back in to their parents’ home. One went to grad school and the other was already living out of state. Post grad will most definitely have you hide in a cave, while everyone around you seems to be accomplishing the things you want for yourself.

Let’s be real, a lot of us are frontin’.

And that’s not to say people are faking their accomplishments, but they aren’t always going to highlight the struggle of getting there.

I graduated June of 2016. Only now in January of 2018, two and a half years later, have I landed a full time job and been able to move out and afford rent on my own (barely may I add). I have been handed a unique situation in which I have the ability to afford cost of living and bills when my yearly salary still isn’t very ideal.

I guess my point for this post is to reflect. I had major insecurities for the last two and a half years that all centered around not finding that full time job. I had setbacks so overwhelming, they further hindered my ability to find the independence I so desperately wanted. And then, truly as if it fell from the sky and placed itself in my lap, a new job appeared that shifted my life into one I had been praying for.

It by no means is my dream job, but it is the perfect opportunity and just the thing I needed to shake my life up.

I say all of this with a big breath of relief. I was worried I wouldn’t get here to be honest. 25 is around the corner and to be at that age with a dead end, part time is pretty scary when you don’t see the finish. Having to wait through these two and a half years was near torture, so I won’t dare say to you that things happen in their own time and that you just need to be patient (because that’s bullshit advice).

Instead I will say to you that I know the wait and the unknown are excruciating.  I can’t give you much help to make it any easier. I could tell you to be nice to yourself, but I know that it won’t work. I wasn’t nice to myself. You want to be mean to yourself in hopes it will push you out of the situation you’re in. I guess all I can tell you is that sometimes you do have to suffer and keep working through your days until one day the suffering is over. Because eventually, it will end.

I can finally say that because I am officially moved out, I am no longer a resident or a Loser of Crown Town. That’s pretty amazing. Maybe now I can be the loser of something else until I overcome that barrier next. But as it stands, the rocky waters of my life have finally evened out to a peaceful flow and I’ll happily rest here for now.

Read a Book That’s Cheesy Yet Insightful

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is where you should go. Yes I’m aware, it’s a well-known book. Most readers have already read it. Well, read it again then! Dang. For those who don’t know, it’s a short read (that somehow took me four months to read), BUT it did give me some food for thought.

The first few pages into the book there’s the introduction of the book’s major theme which is the Personal Legend. This is the super cheesy part. When I first read the page that brought this phrase to page I thought, “Oh great, this is some cliche, soul-searching novel, isn’t it?” And why yes, yes it was.

But considering my awkward placement in life, it might have been just what I needed. A personal legend is the idea that everyone on this Earth has a set path they are supposed to live out. Everyone is meant to do something and reach this amazing, self-fulfilling place. The kicker is, just because it is meant for you, doesn’t guarantee it will happen. It’s a two-way street. You gotta acknowledge it and then work for it. You can buy into it or not.

I for one will say the novel does a great job at saying one thing to the reader, if you have a gut feeling, something inside you that is pulling you a certain direction, go for it! It will usually be the deep desire or dream you have that scares you shitless. I think most times we tend to push those feelings away because they seem impractical, impossible and scary. If something seems too far out of our reach, we often tend to not even bother. I’m constantly trying not to fall into the temptation of not even trying because the “it” seems too far to reach. Therefore, reminders like The Alchemist can be the small jolt you need to continue pushing forward. So yeah it’s cliche but get over it! Some of life’s best secrets “are hidden behind the word cliche.”

Hobbies for the 20-something

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You know what question I fucking hate other than, “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” It’s, “What do you like to do for fun?”

My inner dialogue then goes off on this internal panic:

UM excuse me, sir. Why are you all up in my grill, asking me things like you want to get to know me? Stop it. We both know I will be heavily evaluated based on my response. You are prying into my (very uneventful) personal life and I do not appreciate it.

And now I feel like I need to prove to you that I have fun. For the record, I do have fun. I just can’t think of any examples right now. Hmpf!

In all honesty, for me the normal person response should be “spending time with the people you enjoy, that way the fun just happens by being with them.” Fun isn’t dictated by specific activities for me. I don’t even find hobbies that fun. Hobbies just pass the time, okay? Okay?!?!

Anyways…

This blog is the sad result of an embarrassing amount of free time. If you convert all of your old study/homework/napping time from college into only Netflix time, you may quickly develop a problem. Therefore, hobbies actually become necessary at this point in life. Even if all they do is “pass the time.”

In college I hardly studied. As an English major I only had to write papers on material I sometimes read. In my free time I volunteered at an elementary school, napped, went out and committed myself to all those “mandatory” sorority-sisterhood-yadayadayada-events.

So how do I use my abundance of free time as a graduate (not including my job or my internship)? Well, my friends, I volunteer as a mentor for high school students. I slap some thoughts onto this here lovely blog. I watch  A LOT of telenovelas, maybe too many. Buuuuut I feel like I need to do more. Maybe something more active? More outside-sy? Maybe something less lame and more fun.

So I’m trying to compile a list of shit to do and skills to master as I slowly descend into adult life.

I figured that by this point into writing this post, some ideas would have popped into my head for me to list out for you guys. But I got nothin’. What a disappointment. Just like the these last 9 months of being graduated. lol

That’s postgrad for ya.

A Letter For My Little Sisters

I wrote this for my little sis in my sorority and my younger sister who are both hitting 20 this year. I thought it would be fitting to share since I’m constantly yapping away about life here

Happy Birthday and welcome to the scariest decade of your life!

I think there are about a thousand articles on the internet about what to expect from your twenties (really, there’s a shit ton) and all of them say pretty much the same thing: it’s a massive feeling of uncertainty that never goes away. I’ve only lived three years of it myself, and I don’t think I have much down just yet lmao.

At 20 I didn’t feel much different, I felt like my age sounded older, but that was it. I will say that a lot began to change once I hit 20. Me at 18 vs me at 20 were almost two different people now that I look back. You’ve already changed since graduating high school, but expect a lot more shit to go down. Prepare yourself because some of it’s fun and some of it’s not.

My biggest advice: If you have a gut feeling about what you want to do, where you want to go, who you want to be, go with it! Your gut feeling is what will get you places. 20 is when I joined Alpha Chi and when I started planning for Spain, two hugely important decisions for my college career. Don’t let fear or “what ifs” keep you from following your gut. I literally had to be convinced by two people the night of the rush week registration deadline because I let my hesitation and fear get to me; dumb. And don’t ever let people talk you out of doing something when you know deep down it will be something that makes you happy. Unless it’s hard drugs or criminal activity, of course, in which case you have some other issues to discuss.

My biggest hope for you is to live out these last two years of college as loudly as possible. Take yourself into new environments. Expose yourself to all the people you can, study all you can, explore all you can. If you’re decided on your career look for internships and volunteer opportunities that will give you the experience you need when you graduate. Because, oh my god, that will save you SO much trouble once you hit postgrad. Keeping balance in college is hard, but I hope you do your best. Relationships with friends and a social life are just as important as academic success and career preparation, both aspects of college will develop you in different ways.

If you ever need help, I can practically provide a three-year preview on whatever you have concerns about. I’ll be your life cheat sheet if you will.

Enjoy your day (and your decade) because it’s going to be a hell of a ride.

 

Postgrad Life is Too Damn Quiet!

In college we were always looking for some privacy and some god damn peace and quiet. Privacy from the kids talking to below you, quiet from the drunk girls yelling in the middle of the night outside, solitude instead of your roommate bringing over everyone she knew into your room, and definitely silence from whoever was boning in the room directly above yours.

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My last year was spent living in a sorority house with almost 30 other girls so I know about loud. Privacy did not exist. Yet for some odd reason after graduation, I began to miss the noise. You no longer get to hear about your roomie’s awful day when she swings open the door and lets out a huge groan. Your office job can seem dead still at times when compared to how much you laughed with your old coworkers in retail. There are no more doors to be heard opening and closing from down the hall, letting you know you’re not the only one who decided to stay during the 3-day weekend.

This is why getting out becomes so important after college. I now understand why adults take their weekends so seriously after a 40 hour week. It’s your time to make noise, let loose, talk up a storm, stretch your legs and explore. When I come from my internship where I’ve more than likely spent 6 or 7 hours in silence, I’m craving loudness. Music is on full blast, tv gets turned on, several phone calls need to be made in order to make up for the deafening roar of silence.

It’s a very odd change to notice; but once you realize it, you can’t ignore it.

 

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.

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!

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”

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