A Potential Chapter: Graduate School?

As I pass my first month of unemployment my mom has once again started ‘lightly’ hammering the notion of graduate school.

Now as someone who used to plan for the next “chapter” of their life; I had three potential tracks I was floating for after graduation: (a) work for two years then go to grad school (b) work for a year, teach in South Korea for a year, then go to grad school (c) work for a year or two then move to Chicago.

If you remember my posts from a few months back; I actually applied and got accepted to teach in South Korea, but ultimately rescinded my application. I know my mom didn’t agree with the decision because she felt it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I think since then she’s wary that I’ve maybe become complacent and won’t see things through anymore- i.e. applying to graduate school.

When it came to rescinding it really boiled down to me having to do some pesky introspection and accepting I just wasn’t in the right mind set for it. Does that mean I still feel the same way now? Yes and no. Ultimately, I won’t be able to reapply for two semesters anyway due to restrictions, but by then who knows? Spring of 2021 isn’t as far away as it may seem.

But back to graduate school. Because I have concerns.

In the year I’ve been working since graduation I’ve managed to save up enough for my full tuition (with discounts) and around a semester of housing. My initial worry with was that since I’ve been unemployed and haven’t been able to continue saving; I wasn’t sure I’d be able to save the rest. My mom’s response was to remind me she already said she’d help me with housing given how much I’ve managed on my own- I just don’t want to feel like I’m leaching off her. My second issue was deciding whether to choose a one or two year program where the difference is a twelve month internship at the end. Fortunately, tuition for the second year is extremely affordable, but unfortunately that means I’d need to cough up an extra year’s worth of housing funds…My mom’s response was whether I felt it’d be worth it or not.

In the end I came to the conclusion it would be so long as I was able to secure housing because just in case you didn’t know: the school is in “totally affordable” London, England. My mom agreed hands down since so there’d be no way for me to manage without university housing and that same day I started the application process.

Side Note: Applying to this university is so easy breezy and the best part is that it’s FREE. That’s right! No application fees! (sorry I just have a big hang up about application fees)

So, after putting the issue to rest with mom I knew the next step was bringing this up to my boyfriend. Being the great guy he is, he admitted he wouldn’t be happy with it, but would never try to hold me back from something. He explained that instead of using his PTO for cosplay conventions he would instead use it to see me which definitely made my heart warm.

As we continued to talk over dinner another concern surprisingly surfaced which had to do with work load. For the one year program you’re taking five classes both semesters with a thesis due at the end. For the two year program your thesis is due at the end of second year which you spend in an internship. I think if I was only doing school then the one year wouldn’t be an issue, but I know I’m going to have to work and make money to support myself and I don’t want to fuck up such a large investment.

I know. I know. It probably seems like a lot of overthinking on my part.

There’s this idea of “if you want it then you’ll try your best and go for it” with the undercurrent being “you only live once and if you don’t try then you’ll never know” and while I enjoy the sentiment I think there’s also that protectionist mindset in a lot of us where we need to weigh the options and then struggle with the question of “am I holding myself back? am I too scared to take a risk? will I have regrets?“.

A part of me does regret not going to South Korea (especially since I’m currently unemployed), but I’m still doing things I really wanted to do. I mean, I’m going to Chicago for New Years to see if I can hack the winter; I’m going to cosplay as Princess Kida; I’m visiting my family more. I even went to New York for the first time!

So maybe there’s something to be said in accepting the decisions we make and then making the most of it. I’ve made the decision to apply to graduate school. Are there concerns? Yes. Can I boil it down without stressing myself out? Yes: In the one year program my biggest fear would be burnout. In the two year program my biggest fear would be conjuring up the funds.

Now I just need to on that good old personal statement!

Photo by Jordan Encarnacao on Unsplash

And…We’re Back!

I know this post is BEYOND late (since I got back from New York City a little over two weeks ago– my bad!), but I said I’d do an update so I’m doing the dang update because accountability is key, folks!

I’ll get this started by being upfront in saying I unfortunately didn’t end up going to any of the bug restaurants…Was it the only thing I said I really wanted to do while in the city? Why yes it was and thanks for remembering. In the end though the timing just didn’t work out with everyone else arriving from out of town and group dinner plans before the party, so it has been shelved for next time.

Side Note: I may or may not be looking into bug restaurants in Chicago for our New Years trip.

Anyway, we did go to Times Square and Central Park which was way different from what I was expecting as someone who’s only ever seen it on the screen.

Let’s start with Times Square which is somehow both smaller and larger than I expected. I’d say it’s smaller in the sense that I always thought it was one slab of concrete encompassing everything with cars only driving on the very edges. Turns out there are multiple intersections/roads running through it which definitely made it feel larger walking-wise.

To be completely transparent though; I wasn’t even fully sure when it actually started, so my perception could be off one hundred percent.

Now as for Central Park…I mean, you know it’s big and then you’re in it and you’re just thinking: Yeah, there’s no way we’re seeing all of this today or even half of this.

This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy seeing the sites because I did and I would love to go back with a few days to really explore; it’s just that wild feeling when you finally see something in person and get that reality check.

Back to the most important thing though: food.

Let me just say that my partner’s friends really knew what they were doing when it came to feeding us and I was SO appreciative. We went to an amazing Yakitori spot, Hot Pot, HIDDEN FOOD COURT, and random snack spots that were just so spot on. For being there less than 48 hours I still don’t know how we managed to fit in so much eating, but I’m definitely not complaining. I mean, I got to try macaroni and cheese pizza!

I honestly left New York City realizing just how few options there are where I currently live. Do we have good food? Yes, but we hands down don’t have the range or creativity New York City has.

The Halloween party was also the first house party I think I’ve ever truly enjoyed. Everyone really took the costume theme to heart, there was good food (the pizza!), the drink selection was vast (I found out I’m a Yogurt Soju fan!), the drinking games were wild and intense, people who couldn’t make it in person were on video call with the party…

It was a really fun time. My partners friends are awesome. I plan on going back to New York City at some point. I can’t wait to meet the full group next month and I apologize for taking so long to write this because now I’ve forgotten all the names of the food places (once again, my bad!).

Unemployment: The Waiting Game

As of today I have been unemployed for 18 days.

In that time I’ve gone on two interviews; one last Wednesday and another yesterday morning. Ideally, I’ll receive a call back by the end of this week. Cynically, I’ll remain on the grind of job searching.

It’s strange. In the past my jobs always overlapped with exceptions being when I returned from abroad. This time; however, the business simply closed and I’m not sure if it makes sense to say, but: it feels like a bleak right of passage into adulthood.

Obviously, I don’t want to make it seem “rad” as if it’s a box on the ‘adulthood check list‘ or something, but I’d be lying if I said I’ve never met an adult who hadn’t been unemployed for an extended period.

Now since my current stint is pretty new/short, I want to instead highlight a conversation had with a friend. Turns out she’d been unemployed for six months, found a job, and was then fired a month and a half into it. She explained how she began to feel useless because she wasn’t ‘contributing to society’ and fell into a depression. Being fired was understandably a huge blow after everything and it had taken a lot for her to get to a good place again. Even with all the self progress though, there was still the looming knowledge of her savings running low and her still being unemployed.

So what do you do in that situation? I’m sure there are countless different answers and thankfully she wasn’t asking for advice.

Listening to her purge frustrations and feelings helped put a lot in perspective for me. Truthfully, there was a small voice in the back of my mind asking: is this where I’m headed in the long run?. But mainly it reinforced the reality of what a fortunate spot I’m in with my current living situation.

Do I feel like a loser because I’m not working? Yes, but I’m luckily in a spot where I can wait for a job of equal or higher value to my last position. So long as I’m doing my due diligence in applying to jobs and going to interviews then I should be content…right?

Side Note: There’s this other voice in my head saying, “if you really need a job then get a lower paying one. get a part time one.” and I’m torn.

It’s Time for a Vacation!

Full disclosure it probably isn’t the best time for a vacation given the recent unemployment situation and all, BUT…I already paid for the flights well in advance and considering it’s only a weekend trip- it won’t interfere with possible interview dates.

Anyway! Now that we’ve covered the responsible adult take; we can now look at the fun stuff. such as the main question: Where am I going? Well, it’s none other than The Big Apple also known as; Empire City, The City That Never Sleeps, The Capital of The World, and…uh…New York City!

It’s going to be my first time (whoop whoop!) and I’m literally flying up tonight for a party tomorrow to then fly back Sunday.

My boyfriend told me we’re going out with friends once we land, so I’m honestly not sure how much of NYC I’m about to see in the daytime, but…I’m really all about the food. In fact, I really want to to go to one of the restaurants that serve bugs (I can thank Adam Conover for that!).

Now let’s get this show on the road because I just got my final paycheck and have an interview on Monday!

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

End of a Chapter

Well, guys…it’s happened. After almost a year and a half at my first job post university- my boss called me into his office to inform me he was closing the business.

Honestly, I can’t say I’m surprised.

Working for a start-up comes with certain risks and I was fortunately in a position where I could see the shifts happening in advance. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t already spruced up my resume on job platforms earlier in the same week.

In the end I was second to last to receive the news. As soon he finished the sentence my first thoughts were truly about my coworkers. The sales reps all have families, the specialist lives on his own and had definitely gotten used a used to a certain pay scale…meanwhile I’m still living at home.

This was my first time in a situation like this. Ideally I would of started making moves at the first blatant red flag and maybe already have a job opportunity lined up which just isn’t the case this time around (20/20 hindsight, am I right?).


Now I don’t want to deter anyone from working at a start up because I really do think it’s worth it for a lot of reasons- especially when you’re fresh on the job scene.

After digging through the posts of my old (now deleted) blog, I found the original post I made about working at a start up:

Here’s my advice to anyone fresh into the job search process: don’t rule out start ups.

It’s crazy, I know. The whole start up idea seems to be synonymous with ‘entrepreneur’ and while yeah- there’s obviously an entrepreneur involved…that doesn’t mean it has to be you.

Let me explain. I don’t want to bore anyone with an analysis of the pros and cons of a startup versus an established company, so I’ll focus on what I’ve personally learned and experienced:

~No Bureaucracy.
~You’re new! You have loads of questions and with a general ‘open door policy’ you don’t ever really feel intimidated- even if you’re asking the BOSS BOSS.
~The systems are still being ironed out and since you’re working with them, you can give feedback or suggestions that will actually be taken into account.
~You wear a lot of hats and I mean, A LOT
.

Like I said, the systems aren’t set in stone yet, so you’ll probably be taking on a lot which means you’re going to gain just as much experience. Sure- it might not have been the exact thing you went to university for, but it’ll definitely be a nice edge in your next interview.

I was always the type who wanted to work for a big name company or at least one that was fully established for some sense of security, but after being in a startup I’m really not that worried. I already get paid more than I ever have and get a 90 day review for a raise.

Now I know what you’re thinking: What if the company tanks or you get fired?!

Yep. That’s a possibility, but layoffs happen all the time nowadays in established companies and out of nowhere. Besides, if I do find myself back on the job market I’m confident in my newly earned credentials and it pays to be adaptable. So don’t rule it out guys!!!


Strangely, rereading something I wrote so long ago that directly relates to what I’m going through now is…kind of surreal. I mean, I even had the foresight to address if the company tanked!

I’m grateful for everything I learned at the company, all in all; and will be looking forward to what the next chapter brings.

(Plus my boss was kind enough to pay us for a full 40 hour week which means I’ll be getting one more full pay check!)

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Impromptu Talk with Mom: Future & Relationships

The other night I had a conversation with my mom about the future and relationships. What kicked it off was me asking what she thought of my boyfriend. Her response was along the lines of : if he’s in the same spot six months from now then he’ll just be another chapter in your life

A bit harsh, right? 

My mom is very adamant about living the life you want- specifically standard of living and desire to travel. She’s worked extremely hard to achieve what she has and wants my potential life partner (we’re both not sold on marriage) to have goals that align with mine. In short: she’s against carrying someone through life unless it’s your children; and even then there’s an expiration date.

I don’t necessarily disagree with her because we both have the unfortunate habit of spending money on the people we want in our lives. In fact, it’s because I still live with her that I was able to begin cutting down on it so early in life. 

Never underestimate the power of watching your habits in real time with a glimpse into the future- it starts making you look at your relationships a LOT more objectively a LOT faster

Anyway, it’s weird because I’m entering that phase in life where older relatives are starting to look at the people I date in terms of longevity. Will they make a good husband/life partner? Are they financially stable? Do they have their shit together? Will they make a good addition to the family? Meanwhile the farthest my mind goes is the possibility of vacationing together and moving in. Anything in the sphere of marriage/life partners/etc isn’t even on my radar. Financial stability is. but not in the sense of “will they be able to take care of me?“. Instead it’s more like “will they be able to go with me places and support themselves?” a.k.a. “can they pay to come on the trip or would I need to pay for them?“.

Part of me wonders if I should start looking at it all more seriously, but then I have to remind myself that age aside I don’t need to be so focused on that level of a relationship. Right now I’m more focused on my personal goals and the way I see it; either the person I’m with and I will naturally (or consciously) make the decision to go in the same direction OR we’ll naturally/consciously split off.

I mean, I don’t even want a house. I’m indifferent to marriage. I don’t want kids…What a life partner would mean to me probably varies considerably from not only what those relatives of mine are thinking, but even a lot of my friends and that’s fine because it’s not their “hypothetical future relationship”. 

Plus the family I see most often is generally pretty lax soooo: hooray for family that lets you do you even if they might not get it!

Photo by Prince Akachi on Unsplash