After I left college, I moved back in with my mom. I had spent my last semester applying to graduate schools instead of looking for a job. All seven of the programs I applied to rejected me. This was bad in that my long term plans blew up in my face, but good in that I wouldn’t have to write essays for a while.
Moving back home has been like trying to put on an old, much loved jacket and discovering that it is now too small. As well as my mom and I usually get along, there are things we do that bug each other. I try to do the dishes when she’s making dinner and end up in her way. She listens to the radio to get to sleep, whereas I like it silent. To minimize the arguments, I have created this list of tips for living together smoothly.
- Do your chores. Yesterday, my mom taught me to use the lawnmower for the first time. I learned there is a vent on the side that sprays out all the grass clippings. If you stand near this vent and the lawnmower has been started on a gravel driveway, then it will shoot gravel at you. Take it from me.
- It’s not personal. Often, parents are upset for reasons that have nothing to do with you. They may have had a bad day at work or an afternoon of printer trouble. (Our printer is evil and should be destroyed.) Go out for a walk and leave them alone for a while.
- Look for a job. Parents are more understanding when they see that you’re trying.
- Find a show on Netflix that you both like. For us, it is FBI/police murder mystery shows. There’s something about wise cracking serial killers and exploding cars that helps us relax at the end of a long day. (If there is a car crash on one of these shows, then the car will It’s automatic.)
- Keep in touch with friends. You’re going to need someone to rant to if things at home aren’t going so great. That’s what friends are for. Preferably, any and all ranting sessions should happen at a place where there is good food. It’s hard to stay angry with a mocha crepe melting in your mouth.
Good luck and remember that the food thing works with parents too. If all else fails, force feed them an omelet and some sweet potato fries. Assuming you can cook an omelet. Otherwise go with tea.
Yesterday I waited two hours to take a ten second walk across a stage. It was my graduation ceremony and that’s what you do for your graduation ceremony. You sit on small metal chairs, listen to speeches, and clap for your friends. Afterwards, you give everyone hugs.
The ceremony felt like the period at the end of a sentence. I had finished my bachelor’s degree and it was time to leave the nest. I still have no long term plans, but after graduating I feel better about having no long term plans. Either that or my head has inflated three sizes too large from all the congratulations I received. Something will come along to deflate it again. Another literary magazine will reject me, or I’ll forget to put the top down on the hot tub. I only hope it doesn’t happen too soon
We had a good speaker for graduation, Representative David Kilmer. He gave us some worthwhile advice and he didn’t use a monotone. Monotones at graduation are the kiss of death. He put a lot of movie references in his speech and told us to take part in civic engagement. His words of wisdom boiled down to not trusting anyone named Draco Malfoy and remembering to vote. Voting is important. If we don’t vote, we may end up with a government run entirely by crazy people, and not nice, funny crazy people, mean crazy people.
So far, I believe I’ve done well with that. I’ve been engaged. I work for Forcechange.com, writing petitions for environmental causes. One of my petitions received 558 signatures. I’m trying to build a writing career and 558 people reading something I wrote is amazing to me. Leaving University of Puget Sound has been like taking off in a plane when there’s turbulence. It’s a bit bumpy, but eventually it will smooth out and someone will offer me a beverage.
I’m grateful for the education I’ve received at University of Puget Sound, but now it’s time to take the next step. It’s time to start a new sentence.
After a semester’s hard work of scouring the internet for writing positions, I landed an internship at Forcechange.com. The first thing I did when I heard the news was fill out the online acceptance form. The second thing I did was to leap up from my chair and do a happy dance. This happy dance was a disco with a lot of bouncing. If my sister could have seen it, she would have teased me mercilessly. Because that’s what sisters do.
Forcechange.com is a site that publishes petitions for progressive causes like social justice, animal welfare, and the environment. My first petition was an appeal to the mayor of the City of Victoria, trying to get them to stop dumping their raw sewage into the ocean. As you can imagine, raw sewage does not mix well with marine ecosystems. And Victoria currently dumps over 34 million gallons of it into the ocean every day. Not good.
This internship is something I’m excited about doing for its own sake. Even if I wasn’t trying to build up a writing career, I would still want to do it because the causes it works for are important. What I’ve discovered about myself through my semester of job searching is that I don’t want to be in it just for the paycheck. Don’t get me wrong. The paycheck is important. Right now, I’m saving up for my independence. I live with my mother and I’d like to get my own place. But eight hours a day five days a week is a long time to spend on something I don’t care about.
So my advice to all you new graduates heading out into the world is to try and find something that interests you. That and don’t get too discouraged, it may take a few months but eventually you will land something. And when you do, it’s okay to cut loose and do a happy dance.