Tag Archives: student loans

Post-grad on the Move


By Nicole Hosette

I cried at my graduation. The ceremony was horrible – last year the school sprung for Tom Brokaw as a speaker, but this year we were stuck with an English professor who seemed to have simply adjusted one of his class lectures for his speech. There was a brief moment of excitement when a student, with a flower in his hair, ran through the seated graduates and threw rolls of toilet paper before eventually being tackled by security, tased, and arrested. Besides that, the ceremony consisted of two hours of 2,000 students hearing their names called, walking across the stage, and shaking the hand of some University official. I texted my mom throughout most of it.

I felt silly for crying when I hugged my parents after the ceremony was over. But in retrospect, I would have felt worse for not crying. My four years at the University of Iowa were exactly what I wanted them to be.

Knowing that my years of formal education are over, and that for the first time in 18 years I won’t be going back to school this August, is breaking my heart.

But I’m sure most post-grads in my situation feel the same way.

Back in March, when I started making my first major post-graduation plans, I didn’t quite expect I’d feel like this – instead I was excited about all of the possibilities that came with graduation. At that time, my boyfriend and I were sitting down and discussing where he wanted to go to grad school, which equated to where we wanted to live for the next 4+ years while he worked towards his PhD. I had no plans of going to grad school – I graduated with a BA in Journalism and American Studies, and I didn’t think the general career path I was aiming for required that extra bit of schooling. I was already looking at a good bit of student debt and didn’t see the point in adding more if I didn’t have to. And so I decided I would just go with him.

The decision to move to Massachusetts didn’t come easy (more on that in a later post). But he had gotten into Harvard and really liked the work they were doing there in his field. He was also very interested in the idea of moving to a new place while we had the chance, and at the time, I agreed with him. You have to admit, there is something romantically appealing about picking up and moving halfway across the country just because you can.

So this past month has been full of packing, making preparations, and spending as much time with friends as possible. Finally, last week, we made the move. It was a mess – so many things went wrong, and I found myself wishing I was still in Iowa. But now we are set up in Massachusetts, in a great community 20 minutes from downtown Boston, and I have done my best to forget my horrible first impression of this city.

I miss my friends, my family, the Midwest landscape, my favorite Iowa City bar, and having my own vehicle. But this is what life after college is supposed to be – new experiences.

So this is my situation as a post-grad; trying to adjust to a new place, setting up an apartment, looking for a job, and making new friends. It’s exciting and terrifying. But I really am looking forward to figuring it all out.

Post Grad by Day, Gamer by Night


By bowski477
(Bowski477 is a guest writer, from aesthetically-pleezin.com)

You can’t always get what you want.

That seems to be the theme song to my post-grad life. I graduated with a degree in English from Salem State University in 2010, and I currently work for a hospice care facility in Massachusetts. It’s not the field I went to school for, but it’s a job. More importantly, it’s a paying job.

With the economy being as tough at it is, and jobs being scarce in most fields, I am lucky enough to have a stable job with benefits. I know that many of my former classmates cannot say the same thing. But just because I work in a different field doesn’t mean my degree is being wasted. When my work day is done, I’m a different person. I’m a gamer and a blogger; and while neither of them pays, they’re still classified as jobs.

Gaming is more than a hobby for me. It’s a passion. Two years ago I decided to spread the word about my passion for gaming. I started my very first blog, Aesthetically-Pleezin.com. It was somewhere that I could put all of my thoughts about the gaming world and show them to other gamers. I made new friends with similar gaming interests, and I got their take on the things I was writing. I wasn’t afraid to make my opinions known to the gaming community.

Soon I found myself in Los Angeles listening to the top men at Treyarch debut their then up and coming game Call of Duty: Black Ops. I thought, I am just a goldfish in the giant ocean that is the gaming community, yet there I was listening to actual developers show off their new game. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

The trip went by so fast, and I had to return to the “real world” where no one called me by my Xbox Live gamer tag, and no one knew what the hell a “noob” was. But a new opportunity came knocking a few months later. A new gaming site was just getting off the ground, and the fact that I had a degree in English made me a good candidate for the position of Editor-in-Chief.

I joined the staff of IRBGamer.com. It doesn’t pay, but like my personal blog, I love working on it. It’s another place I can use the talent I learned in college and mix it with the passion I have for the gaming community.

What are my hopes for the future? Well, ideally I would hope to someday get paid to write about games, so that I could pour all of my potential into what I love to do. But until that time, I do have bills and plenty of student loans to pay. Being jobless is not an option for me. Not having a job in my chosen field is a small sacrifice I have to make at this point in my life. But that doesn’t mean things have to stay this way. I’m getting my name out in the gaming community and trying to get noticed. Life maybe short, but I’m not really in a big rush. My opportunity will come, and I’ll be ready to grab it when it does.

Have questions for bowski477?  Feel free to comment!

They’ll Get You, When You Least Expect It


By sendmeonmyway101

I can honestly look back on my college experience with fond memories; trivia nights at Uno’s, meetings for the school’s e-zine, ice skating, going downtown during the peak tourist season, all of my fun classes (and even the ones that were so boring the mold was sleeping).

But there is one thing I don’t miss: the start of the school year hassle to get a loan. The annoying emails and letters reminding me that my bill is due by a certain date or the school will not hold my classes for me (even though that certain date would come and go without procuring a student loan, and if I wanted I could go until signing up for the next semester’s classes before suffering real damage from being locked out).

This time last year I was spending every day reminding myself to fill out an application for a loan – because classes start in a month and the sooner it was taken care of, the sooner I would get my refund check (which almost always went to living expenses rather than anything fun).

Following my graduation ceremony, I knew I could hold my head high and be absolutely certain that the only PAY US FOR YOUR COLLEGE EXPERIENCE letters I would receive would be from my student loans.

I didn’t account for damage charges.

I suppose it seems silly to assume (when the only time I spent in my apartment on campus was in my bedroom, sitting on my bed or at my desk and rarely venturing to any other part of the six-person apartment) that I would not be stuck with a bill for damages to the common area/our apartment.

No, it’s not sarcasm (although would anyone blame me if it was?). I lived on campus for three years, and each year we were notified that, if someone did not step forward and admit to causing whatever damage that was
found following move-out, then everyone would be charged. It makes sense, sort of. Was I a little upset when I received the email? Who wouldn’t be?

This Better Not be the Damage

Was I responsible? Unless I’m a sleepwalker and all those times I thought I was fighting monsters in my dreams, I was really damaging things, then NO. But how is the school supposed to know all that? They had to do what they consider fair, since no one stepped forward. I was caught off guard, but I accept the twenty dollar charge.

Eh … I just have no idea what I’m paying for. Was there paint peeled off the wall? Surely I’m not receiving a twenty dollar fee over some paint chips. Did someone break a window? But I feel like I would have noticed that. Was the wall blown out? Someone could have built a spaceship and set it off in the living room, for all I know.

Not to sound paranoid, but without being told exactly what I’m paying for, how do I know the school isn’t just trying to suck a little more of my future finances from my pocket?

Have any other students/grads out there encountered this problem? I suppose my only solution is to call the school and ask for details, but really – shouldn’t a receipt tell me all that?

Can A Parent Be Too Supportive?


By sendmeonmyway101

My dad graduated from University when I was eight. I can still remember being crowded into stadium seating for what felt like four hours, watching parades of people I’d never seen before crossing the stage, all dressed in bulky black robes and looking like penguins from our nose-bleed seats.

He was hired in October of that same year. By Michael’s birthday in November, our family had packed up and moved halfway across state. Kyle and I were already in elementary school. Kyle prospered in our new school, but it took me much longer to adjust. This new school expected more of students than our previous school, and I had a difficult time keeping up during my first few years. Since then I have only reflected on how that move affected me, and I never thought to ask what was going through my dad’s head at the time.

Following my first failed interview, my dad and I sat down and talked about his own experience post-college.

He was a chemistry major in a time before chemistry was a cool thing (i.e., before forensic-fueled shows like CSI came onto the scene). He had also been out of his mother’s home for close to nine years. He was independent, in a rather non-competitive market, and he had a wife and children to support. Bills were piling up, and the job that he had wouldn’t do much good once student loans hit. He had a reason to find a job.

I told my dad about the questions the interviewers asked, and the answers I gave (and then I told him about the better answers I had come up with on my drive back home). He told me about the four interviews he had prior to being hired, and how he had bombed his first with poor answers; how he had been promised a job on his second, only to have the company declare bankruptcy before he could get started; and how he had been unable to impress a key member during his third interview. But he learned from each interview, and by the time he landed his fourth, he was ready for them.

After telling me all this, my dad said, “You watch any newborn first learning to walk, and they fall down, and they fall down, and they fall down. But they have the natural instinct to keep trying until they’re successful. Every person has that natural instinct, but somewhere along the way life beats it out of them. The thing that you have to do is find that drive that you had as an infant.”

It’s great advice, and it does make me feel less harried about the whole job thing (which I suppose was his intention). But at the same time I’m afraid he’s too supportive. He had a family to maintain post-graduation. I live at home, and living at home isn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. I suppose I’m afraid that knowing I have such a soft cushion to fall back on will hinder my interest in job hunting. I don’t have the same motivation that he had. His advice, which would be brilliant if I was in the same spot he’d been in at my age, only reminds me that failure is OK.

It is, but failure is really only OK if you learn from your mistakes and keep trying. Any infant keeps trying to walk because they’re motivated to get somewhere on their own. I have a roof over my head, my bills are paid, I get paid for doing housework (something that I quickly realized I love to do), and I have freelance activities to keep my mind occupied. The only goal I’ve held my whole life that has motivated me is graduating from college. Without that, how do I figure out what to do next?

The Obvious Downside


By sendmeonmyway101

I had hoped to get a few more postings about the positives of being a Stay at Home Daughter – Constantly clean house, free time, energy, and there are more, sure – but I have once again come face to face with the obvious downside.

I don’t get paid. Well, aside from the allowance my parents give me (which I earn from keeping up on the housework). This hasn’t been too much of a problem lately, because I had money left over from graduation and tax returns. But I realized my car is up for inspection, and it is NOT going to pass. Why? Funny story.

When I was at school there was a big winter storm, and the stress of snow on my car windshield one night left a very vibrant scar. Long, and in the absolutely wrong place, my car will not pass inspection until it’s repaired; repairs that will cost who knows how much (I’ll get an estimate tomorrow); repairs that this chick-y cannot afford, which shamefully means borrowing more money from the ‘rents.

Suddenly, being a Stay at Home Daughter blows. But before PGP (Post-Graduation Panic) could kick in, I met up with an old high school friend today, and she’s given me hope. OK, so she hasn’t led me in the right direction for a job, but her tale of carrying on five jobs at once with no days off for over two months has motivated me.

It’s not that I haven’t been trying to find a job. Since graduation in May (and even before), I’ve probably sent out resumes, cover letters and applications to fifty places (honestly, I stopped keeping track after twenty-five). I’ve only had two job interviews, and both have been at least three hours from home, and unsuccessful. Following my last interview, I was so certain that the call-back would be positive, that I didn’t bother applying anywhere else. I did get a call, but it was nowhere near positive and I was back to Square One. This was last Friday, and I would have started looking again, but a visit from a friend this past week has taken up most of my time and energy, and when I did think about job hunting, my mind said – he’ll be gone in a week. Then it will be OK.

I returned from my coffee break today determined. I essentially have four months to find a job, before my student loans kick in. Worst comes to worst, I can do some tutoring at the local colleges, as well as continue mooching off my parents while keeping up on housework. But let’s be realistic – it wouldn’t hurt to have a steady pay check. My current internships are nice, but they don’t pay the bills – or car repairs.

So, now I’m off to once again search for a job! Hopefully with some success this time.

On the plus side, USA Today promises a better year in job hunting for college grads, so I guess I have that to look forward to when I go to sleep at night.

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