Tag Archives: College

Cruising is a Girl’s Best Friend

I spent last week cruising the Caribbean with one of my best friends. I’m not sure what I was more excited about: my unlimited drink package or being able to lay in the sunlight for hours at end. I just couldn’t wait to get away and unwind.

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman

One thing we didn’t plan for on the cruise was spring break. Being a bit removed from the college life, we completely forgot that the March is when most colleges have their spring break. Lucky us! Our ship was filled with college seniors letting loose and partying one more time before graduation. Most would be annoyed by this rowdy bunch but I was intrigued. I never went away on spring break during college. I wondered if I was ever as carefree as the group of girls we made friends with. Maybe..?

One thing about being on a cruise: If you’re remotely friendly or social, you will have an entourage following you by the end of the vacation. We literally had all sorts of people hanging out with us throughout the cruise. What can I say; we’re a good time!

At one point during the trip, I believe our new friends referred to me as Oprah. What an honor! I was talking to them about life after graduation. There’s advice people beat into your head, mostly around finding a job, being financially responsible and not burning bridges. What they don’t tell you is that the hardest part about graduating college and becoming adults is transitioning your friendships. In college, everyone has the same goal: to make it out alive (aka to graduate). After college, those goals and priorities shift and look different for each person. You’re going to have friends who get married right after college, choose to go to graduate school and some who might be a little lost. I said this to my new friends from UGA and the reaction I

Some of our friends from dinner

Some of our friends from dinner

got was priceless. No one had ever said that to them. Admittedly, they are worried about their friendships, people moving away and life changing. As I talked to them with one of my college best friends next to me, I was honest: it’s hard, you’ll argue, breakdown, freak out and cry..a lot. But just remember, not everyone grows up at the same time. No one’s dreams should look the same. Understanding and respecting that is the key to holding on to those friendships post college.

I love vacations because it gives me a chance to reflect about life. If I didn’t meet these girls, I don’t know if I would have thought about how graduating impacted my friendships. I might not have realized how blessed I am to have friends who respect each other’s decisions and understand one another’s journeys. It wasn’t a vacation of a lifetime, but I got to push pause on reality, let my thoughts unravel, dance until the sun rose and unplug from technology.

Tell me about your most recent vacation! Any big revelations or did you make any new friends?

My favorite picture of Haiti

My favorite picture of Haiti

Reflections: 365 Days Later

gradHappy 100th blog post to me! I can’t believe this is my 100th post OR that I graduated college a little over a year ago. As I walked through Manhattan yesterday, I saw crowds of new alumni, taking pictures and waving their tassels in the air. I was instantly taken back to my graduation only one short year ago. Two of my friends and fellow bloggers already revisited their graduations through detailed and touching blog posts. Lauren gave a recap of her last year that did in fact bring me to tears while Jess provided solid advice for recent graduates. Their posts have inspired me to reflect on my last 365 days instead of crying about them.

Within the last year, I’ve divided my life into four major areas, listed below, in order of their current importance. While I strive for balance, I recognize that life will never be perfectly balanced; there will always be competing priorities. Here is my synopsis of the last year and the lessons I’ve learned within each of the following areas:

  • Career: Perhaps the most important part of your postgraduate life, my career still doesn’t seem steve martinreal most days. I am not in the industry I studied in school nor do I get to write as often as I expected. However, I am learning more each day while enjoying new projects, like building social media sites, something I never thought I could do. I also work with amazing people who challenge me, respect me and help me better myself. In reality, there is no such thing as the perfect job. You must be passionate about what you do but it’s ok to admit if your passions have changed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Personal: This is probably the hardest area of my life and where the most change has occurred. My family faced some challenges in the last year, battles that weren’t mine to fight. I’ve seen a new side to family members I thought I knew best. My family doesn’t feel as close as it once was and that’s hard for me to accept. BUT, I also have the extended family known as my friends, who have been the best support system. My friends are always there if I need them, but physically seeing each other and coordinating schedules can be, at times, a nightmare. I am SO proud of my friends, their own accomplishments and our ability to make it work. Truth be told though, I miss the close proximity a lot. I’ve also learned to let go of relationships that aren’t healthy anymore. People should add value to your life not continuously stress you out.
  • Self: The last year has been a journey of self-discovery and soul-searching. I know that sounds like a giant cliché but it’s true. I’ve figured out a lot about myself: my interests, my dislikes, how to manage my emotions as well as my relationships. The biggest lesson? I can change my path if I want to (or need to) as long as I am constantly bettering myself. I’m also trying to push myself outside of my comfort zone more. Example #1: Running a 5K in July.

be-in-love-with-your-life-every-minute-of-it

  • Community: In college, there were so many opportunities to give back to the community. In the last year, I haven’t volunteered or mentored as much as I would like to. I’ve always enjoyed mentoring younger people and would love to find a program close by to do that. My goal for the next year is to volunteer at least once a month.

Overall, I’d say it’s been a great first year in the real world. There were (and will always be) moments of uncertainty, doubt, fear and resentment. You can’t prevent these types of moments, though I’ve tried. I can’t go back to college no matter how many times I cry about it. Embracing this monumental change still challenges me.

For the first time in a while, I am extremely proud of myself for taking chances, being honest with myself and others and living my life for me. It’s been a year of change and adjustment but it’s also been the most trilling ride of my life.

Calling All College Seniors!

Colleges around the country officially ended their semesters this week. My alma mater, Temple University, finished classes for the spring 2013 semester on Monday. Most students are now locked in the library preparing for finals. For college seniors, this is both an exciting and terrifying time.

temple graduationIt feels like yesterday that I graduated from Temple University. It will be officially a year on Friday and don’t worry, there will be a reflections blog post all about that. This post is dedicated to college seniors who have graduation quickly creeping up on them. The week(s) before graduation were the best and most stressful time of my life. I wish someone would have given me a few pointers beforehand. So college seniors, here’s my advice for your final days as a student.

DON’T: 

1. Slack Off:  You will absolutely regret not studying for that last final. If you worked hard in the class all year, blowing the final will cause all that hard work to go to waste. Finish strong so you’re proud of all of your accomplishments, including the last semester.

2. Burn Bridges: While you might not like all your professors, some will be very helpful during college and beyond. Foster those relationships with professors, colleagues and other professionals during college and continue them after you graduate. Talk with these people and get their contact information so you can keep in touch. I’ve done this with multiple people from college. They have proven to be good sounding boards and helped me land my first job.

DO: 

1. Plan Ahead: You should probably start applying for jobs over spring break. If you didn’t, that’s not a problem but you should get on that. Attend professional networking events and hold informational interviews during your final semester. It is okay to graduate without a job (most of us do!) but be as proactive as possible during your senior year.

2. Enjoy it: The month and week before I graduated was the best time of my life. My friends and I

One of our awesome Rockstar caps. Photo credit my friend Lauren

My two best friends and I made Rockstar caps for graduation. Note the “L.A.N.” at the bottom! Photo credit to Lauren.

worked hard but also remembered to enjoy our final days as undergraduates. Go to all the senior events on campus, celebrate every milestone and make your graduation about you. It’s true there are people who helped you: your parents, relatives, friends and professors. But, at the end of the day, it is about YOU and your college career. Embrace it and enjoy every single moment!

I hope these tips will guide all college seniors through their final days. It is scary but don’t forget to see the big picture. Congratulations! You made it through all four years! Now your life really begins!

To The Moon & Back

Today’s post has two purposes: celebrate my very first college friend’s birthday and continue on with the 30 Days of Truth Challenge. Let me first take you back five years ago to August 2008. I happened to get lucky and land the single room at the end of the 4th floor short side hallway in Peabody Residence Hall. The single was nice but the hall itself wasn’t. Yet, I created the absolute best memories there and made a lifelong friend in the process.

trishbdPoor Trish was the girl who lived next to me freshman year. I honestly think we became friends because I was so loud and she heard all of my conversations through the super thin Peabody walls. Thank God for those walls. She was my first real friend at Temple and five years later, she is one of my best friends and the most level-headed person I know. I often wonder how someone who is so calm and laid back could be a friend with someone as high-strung and insane as me. But she is and for that, I am very grateful. This leads me to the next Truth Challenge prompts:

Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Part one: While Trish and I have pretty much been friends for our entire college careers, there was a time when our relationship wasn’t as strong as it is today. This was due to a lot of things that have subsequently changed for a variety of reasons. That being said, I don’t ever want our friendship to go back to that place. I know I couldn’t live without Trish, her perspective on life that helps to keep me calm and grounded. In broader terms, I know I couldn’t live without my friends – maybe not the exact same people but an inner circle that I rely on for support and advice. My friends keep me going; without them, I don’t make sense.

Part two: There’s a laundry list of things (even people) I could live without. However, one thing I know I could live without is drama. That is one of the many things my friendship with Trish has taught me. The drama is just not worth it. Life is simply too short, as cliché as that sounds. Trish has the patience of a saint and is happy just being with people. She’s not high maintenance and reminds me that friendships (or any relationship really) shouldn’t be. There’s no need for drama; talk it and hug it out and things will be just fine.

moonMy life has changed more than ever since I started college. The one constant has been my friendship with Trish. She has consistently and happily shown up during the last five years. There’s no way I could ever express how grateful I am for that. I know I say that about all my friends but in reality, she has been the only there, on the ground with me at Temple for the entire time. The memories we have are priceless and hysterical. I know the future only holds more great things for us. Happy Birthday Trish!

From Friendemies to Bridesmaids

Niki & I at Honors Convocation this past spring

I am probably one of the few people who isn’t directly writing about the election today. I have a more important story to tell. Though, the message I am sharing with you might actually have some relevance in regards to the election.

Four years ago, two overly ambitious freshmen sat in one of their first lectures at Temple University. Both girls were eager to succeed, leave their mark on Temple’s campus. Both did well in the class, participated often and indirectly marked the other as competition. Little did they know what the future had in store for them.

Four years ago, Niki and I were the definition of friendemies. We would say hi to one another, like Facebook statuses and even offer advice on specific classes to take. But we both saw each other as competition. For the first two years of college, this is how we operated. I will be the first to admit I was threatened by Niki; I saw how talented and passionate she was and knew immediately she was going to be one of the top students in our program. It’s also safe to say our personalities in the classroom were a bit different. To this day, Niki openly admits she hated how I was a bit of a suck-up in our Intro to PR class. Sorry Niki!

In the spring of junior year, I joined PRowl Public Relations, mostly thanks to Niki and another mutual friend. Niki promised it would be worth it and that she’d look out for me. We worked together a lot during my first few months with PRowl. I slowly began to realize that us working together would be more powerful and productive than competing with each other. With Niki’s guidance, I became an Account Executive for PRowl and throughout our senior year, our once friendemie relationship turned into a mostly healthy professional one.

During our senior year, Niki and I spent countless days and nights together working, but also developing a friendship. Along with our other friend Lauren, we became an unstoppable trio, accomplishing every goal we set and having other students, professors and professionals admire our work ethic. Niki was there to fight for me, cheer me on and be a shoulder to lean on whenever I needed it. For that, there’s no way I could ever thank her enough.

As young college students, we both wanted to be the best and would have done anything to get there. Four years later, after many disagreements, sleepless nights and vent sessions, we realize we are the best when we unite forces. Of course, we have our arguments and often see things differently. But that’s the beauty of it, we both offer different perspectives and get to share our insights with one another. It makes for a much richer picture of the world.

I hope the story of my friendship with Niki shows you that your competition can become your ally or even your friend. People with different opinions can work together to achieve a common goal. Hopefully, that’s what we will see from President Obama and the members of Congress during the next four years. Two brains are always better than one!

“I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn. And we are lead to those who help us most to grow, if we let them and we help them in return. Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true. But I know I’m who I am today because I knew you. Because I knew you, I have been changed for good” – Wicked

Motivation Mondays: #TempleMade

This weekend, I headed back to Temple for homecoming. I was reunited with my best friends and got to watch our football team win its first Big East game since 2004. I’ve been back to campus a bunch of times since graduation, but this was different.

Recently, Temple unveiled a new campaign called #TempleMade. They held a giant celebration at the Bell Tower and created a video to showcase “Temple Made” students. As I watched this video play on the jumbotron at the football game, I thought about the reasons why I am “Temple Made.”

1. My perspective: Before I went to college, I was exposed to the same type of people with the same type of lifestyle. Going to Temple helped to widen my perspective and appreciate people from all walks of life. I’ve learned about different cultures, seen real life examples of inequality and watched people work through them. I had my mind opened up to so many new, amazing things thanks to Temple.

2. Humility: Temple has taught me to embrace the phrase “Be kind, for everyone is fighting their own battle.” I think part of being “Temple Made” is being empathetic and understanding that everyone struggles equally; no ones is more worse off then the next person.

3. The Ability to Think: Temple professors don’t just lecture, they teach you how to think and problem solve. They expose students to hands-on experiences that make us better students and ultimately better individuals.

4. Crisis Communication 101: At the start of my junior year, I became a Resident Assistant. I was responsible for 5o residents, designed educational programs for them and responded to various issues in the building. This job taught me how to be calm in a crisis and what exactly to say to people during them. It’s proven to be an invaluable skill. Plus, the ResLife crew is a bunch of awesome, inspiring people. They have become my mentors and friends during the last two years.

5. Family is Defined By Who Shows Up: I might have learned this before Temple but it was definitely solidified this past year. First off, Temple Owls are always willing to support one another and come together in times of need. Then there’s my family, a group of girls who consistently show up for me and take care of me when I forget to take care of myself. I am proud to say I’m still friends with my very first college friend, Trish. We met because she heard my extremely loud voice through the wall between our rooms. She has proven to be the most consistent part of my college career and one of the happiest people I know.

I’ve also found my real-life Christina Yang and together with our crazy cat lady, we formed Club Rockstar. Sorry, they are actually known as Lauren and Niki. Niki is my biggest fan, always there when I need to be cheered on. Lauren and I have a friendship that defines anything I’ve ever know. We are just on the same wavelength all the time and she understands me better than I do myself.

I was reminded this weekend that being “Temple Made” is something special. It means defying adversity, supporting fellow Owls and working hard to make dreams come true. All of this has motivated me to stop with my negative attitude and to keep moving forward. My time as an Owl was the best four years of my life with memories that will last a lifetime. I will be proud forever to be #TempleMade.

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