Thursday, June 29, 2017


Well, my college diploma finally arrived. If it wasn't official before, it's official: I am a college graduate. Although I'm in my 4th week at my first full-time job, it doesn't seem possible. How am I really not returning to campus the day after Labor Day?

I watched this amazing video by a Priest the other day that was talking about times of transition. He said that people who just graduated college are in this state of transition and they don't quite know how to handle it, but that it was okay because it was something that you've never had to do before.

Let me repeat that: This is something you've never had to do before. It's okay to be afraid. It's okay to admit that you don't know what you're doing.

And I love that. I have no idea what I'm doing. For the first 22 years of my life, I had someone else telling me what to do. My parents, my teachers, my coaches, my professors... they were all guiding me.

I always had a place that I had to be. There was structure. And now, I have to create my own structure.

Sure, now my job dictates my schedule for the most part. But for the first time, my schedule isn't laid out on a grid--filled with times I have to be to certain buildings or take exams. That terrifies me.

One of my younger cousins is heading to college in the fall, and she actually chose UW-Madison as well. So she's been asking me some questions about dorms, classes, etc. And there's a little twinge in my heart just thinking about it--because I am a little envious of her getting to go on this amazing roller-coaster of an adventure.

Yes, she will she have ups and downs. College wasn't all hanging out with your friends and eating pizza at 3 in the morning. It's a lot of hard work, and it's confusing time trying to figure out what comes next.

However, what comes next isn't nearly as exciting. I wish I could say that being an adult was everything I hoped and more. After all, I spent 22 years preparing for it. But to be honest, I would give anything to do four more years of that confusing crazy time, because I'm starting to feel homesick for it.

All that I have now to hang onto is that I'm heading toward making all those "dreams" I have come true. I'm clinging onto the fact that maybe all these overnight weekend shifts and nights spent alone will be worth it in the long run. I have to.

Maybe being an adult isn't everything I ever hoped it would be. Maybe it's naive to think that it still could be, but I want to stay naive enough to believe that someday it could be for as long as I can... because I still believe that one day everything I'm working toward could work out.

Until then? Well, you can find me sitting on the beach, sipping on something cold (that I probably overpaid for at Starbucks), denying that I am now boring officially an adult.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Note to readers: read this first paragraph in your head to the tone of one of those commercials that claims you may be "entitled to" something if you had x, y, or z happen to you.

As a child, were you often told things like, "you can be anything you want when you grow up" or "you can do anything you set your mind to?" Did your grandma constantly overwhelm you with love and tell you just how *special* you are? Were you in any way mislead by your parents to believe that you really were one of a kind? If so, you may be entitled to--wait, wait, wait.

This is just what they want. They want us to admit that we are "entitled." Everyone in our generation clearly believes that the world owes them something and that they should be handed free money while they galavant around Europe, yearning to "find themselves" post graduation.

Or at least that's how certain people have described my generation to me.

Now, I'm not off to start a war with my elders. I agree with you--you may be wiser and more experienced than me. But I wish that I would stop hearing people refer to my entire generation as lazy and entitled narcissists.

I reject this notion that technology and social media has made everyone Google-crazed robots who only care about how many likes they got on their latest selfie.

The fact of the matter is social media is here to stay, and we will always have these fancy devices that know way too much about us and track our every move--literally. But I believe that we can use these things to our advantage. 

When we were little, many of us were repeatedly told that we could do or be anything that we wanted. We were given basic ideas at a young age: teacher, doctor, lawyer, police officer. But as we got older, new professions and ways of earning a living started emerging. We started to see ways of living that previous generations never considered.

Now, we can choose from a myriad of paths to go down. You don't have to be a salesman or a dentist. You can be a food blogger, social media strategist, founder/developer of a new popular app, YouTube star, Uber/Lyft driver, and the list goes on and on.

The thing is not everyone accepts these new professions as serious means of making a living. Suddenly, all the 'dream big's become 'think realistically's. Some might not see these unconventional career paths as legitimate.

I'm here to argue that technology has afforded us with new opportunities, so why wouldn't we take advantage of them to their fullest extent? A few years ago, naysayers claimed that all these social media strategist-type jobs were going to be short lived because they never believed in the power of these little apps on our phones.  Now, social media is one of the top priorities of companies when deciding how to market their brand in a digital age. Many taxi companies are literally going out of business because of these ride-sharing services powered by our smartphones. And some YouTube stars are now earning millions of dollars from ad services.

So, maybe it wasn't a complete lie. Maybe the sky is the limit, and the lie was that these people might not have believed it when they were saying it to us. 

When I was little, I secretly wanted to be an actress. I knew I couldn't be anything because what I really wanted was to be Hannah Montana--can you blame me? She was an eleven-year-old secret Popstar who doubled as a regular kid at school. But I digress... I wanted to be an actress, but I told everyone for years and years that I wanted to be a doctor. Because even as a little kid, I fed into the baloney that the only way I would be successful in life was if I chose one of the five career options they offer to elementary school kids. 

Maybe your Grandma was right and you are the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg of your generation. Maybe you really are one of a kind. But on the off chance that you are just like the rest of us--hopelessly trying to be anything but mediocre--don't despair. You have two choices: you can work a little harder to prove to your friends and family that your life choices are valid and meaningful or you can accept that despite no matter how much something means to you, some people might not always get it.

Hoping to find success or land a job after spending thousands of dollars on education, doesn't make you entitled. It makes you reasonable. You want a return on an investment. It doesn't mean that you are expecting a job to be handed to you. But it means that after years of hard work, whatever you end up doing with your life--whether you become a world renowned scientist or a vegan mommy blogger--you want to know that what you are doing matters because, once upon a time, when you were told that the sky was the limit, you believed them. 

Now is that such a crime?

TLDR: You can be anything you want to be--as you long as you really believe that.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


In Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance, he says that there is a fairly new stage in becoming an adult in the modern age. This is a person who is post-college but not yet settled down with a family. They are not a teenager, but they are not really a full-fledged adult either. It's this awkward transition phase. Aziz says Psychologist Jeffery Arnett calls this stage “emerging adulthood.”

EMERGING. I am emerging into being an adult. Gross. 

So, this term was coined to describe this new stage of life that young people are experiencing due to more people pursuing careers and getting married later than previous generations.

Arnett says emerging adulthood particularly applies to young adults in developed countries that don't have children, don't live in their own home, and don't have sufficient income to become fully independent in their early or late 20s. 

This person was previously viewed much more negatively. If you were post-college, single, still living at home and didn't have a stable income, you had somehow failed. Now... you're just average. 

Still, looks like us single young adults, wandering aimlessly into unknown territory, have some work to do. Much to our chagrin, we didn't come out of college with diamond rings or six-figure incomes. Lousy let downs, right? Must be because we're all self-absorbed, entitled millennials. 

In all seriousness, every generation faces the challenge of trying to get older generations to take them seriously. Generation after generation, the older people will always think "Ugh, kids these days" while shaking their heads. And young people will continue to push back against what that they believe is outdated and irrelevant. Some people like to think everyone my age is lazy, entitled and narcissistic. 

I don't buy that for a second. But that's for another day.

For now, just know that we're not all like that. We're just stuck in this weird phase of not totally knowing what we're doing. It's no wonder we turned out like this. We were fed lines like, "You can be anything you want when you grow up" our entire lives. And now that we're here, everyone's like "Oh... yeah, uh, forget that. We're were just saying that so you'd go to college. Now, be realistic, and good luck surviving in the real world with all those 'dreams.' Oh, and social security probably won't be a thing by the time you're a senior; guess you should have started saving for retirement when you were in diapers." Cool. 

As I journey into this awkward transition phase of trying to prove myself as a "real adult," you can join me each week as I attempt to describe the rollercoaster ride that is emerging adulthood. I'm starting the "Emerging Adulthood Series."

Week by week, I'll have a new tale of navigating through things like living on your own for the first time, having to sit at a desk for nine straight hours, and trying not to crawl under said desk to hide from your responsibilities. 

Up Next Week: The Sky's the Limit--and Other Lies from my Childhood. 
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