Standing Still

This weekend I said goodbye to my boyfriend who will be in Cincinnati for two months for an internship. I had this weird sensation as I was watching him drive away and realized that for the first time in years, I was the one staying behind while someone else said goodbye.

In college we are always the ones saying goodbye. We get to drive away, or hop on a plane or bus, and head back to school. While we are sad to leave our families and old friends behind, it's generally softened by the fact that tons of new experiences are just around the corner for us.

This weekend, I felt what it's like to be the one left behind, and I can tell these next months will really be a growing experience. Nothing will be changing in my life (much) in the next two months while he's away. I'll be going about my same 9-5 routine, same workout schedule, seeing friends etc, etc. I have to say, I don't really mind that things are slowing down for me right now. It's actually kind of relaxing.

I've realized it's a matter of taking turns, you can't always be the one on the move. Sometimes you've got to be the one that stands still, and for right now, I'm okay with that.

One Less Option

Sorry I've been MIA for a little while. It's been a crazy week at work, and when I finally came out from under my employment rock I discovered a lot has been happening in the world. There has been an uproar this week about federal funding for Planned Parenthood and the ethics surrounding the organization.

I do not want to get into the politics or ethics of abortion in this post. Everyone can have their own opinion and I don't think that is what this is about.

As a Post Grad without health insurance, Planned Parenthood has been an option for affordable health care if I need it. Annual pap smear? Planned Parenthood. Prescription for birth control? Planned Parenthood. STI testing? Planned Parenthood.

Regardless of Planned Parenthood providing abortions, they provide a plethora of other services that are important, especially for those who cannot afford health insurance. I would like to point out that the debate began over a video that was released showing a nurse from Planned Parenthood giving unsound advise. The video was created by a pro-life group called Live Action and did not mention abortion in the least.

They also provide information about sexual health. Information is the most power we can have and Planned Parenthood makes it available to everyone. Conservatives get upset because they don't want teenagers to be exposed to any of this, but I would like to point out that Planned Parenthood provides information about abstinence in their birth control section, as well as the more controversial options.

Planned Parenthood is currently funded by Title X of the US government. The money is meant for Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs. The House did not vote to de-fund Planned Parenthood directly, they voted to eliminate the Program that provides its funding, Title X.

In trying to balance the budget and get rid of mounting debt, the government is taking away options. Something has to get cut, or money needs to be more wisely spent, but do we really want to take it away from health and planning?


Hi readers, we have an awesome giveaway offer for you today. Who here has heard of vinyl wall decorations before? You haven't?!? Well, check out the photo above!
Are you living in an apartment where you can't paint the walls? Looking for some unique art to fill your space? The etsy shop Wiwicoco has the answer!

We are giving one reader the chance to win this 90 inch wide lovely vinyl decoration, courtesy of Wiwicoco. This piece is normally sold for $48.95!

Wiwicoco has requested is that the winner help pay for shipping, which they have discounted to $7.50. (Shipping is normally 15+ dollars for these delicate pieces -they are shipped from China!- so this is a deal anyway you look at it). We would take it if it wasn't completely unethical for us to enter ;). If you win and can't afford the $7.50 shipping let us know, we will help you out!

Here's how to enter!

1. If you aren't following The Real Post Grad, follow us, and then leave us a comment telling us that you did. Also let us know where you'd use the decal!

2. If you're already a follower- that's awesome! We love you! Just leave us a comment letting us know what room you would spice up with this adorable decal!

One entry per person (open to U.S. Residents only this time). Winner will be chosen at random!

The giveaway ends on Wednesday, March 2st at 5pm EST. Check back here then to see if you've won and we'll put you in contact with Wiwicoco to claim your prize!

Staying Healthy

In keeping with our more personalized entries, I'd like to share with you a little bit about how my body has changed since becoming a post grad.

As a college student I was on my feet all the time. Anyone who has ever stepped foot onto SUNY Geneseo's campus knows that walking anywhere is fairly strenuous hike. Double that in the winter time when you are fighting against snow drifts and icy sidewalks.

My current job requires lots of mental work and typing, but I could literally not move the entire day. The first few months I worked here, I didn't adjust my diet at all. I would eat the same type of lunch/ snacks that I was eating during my last year in college. It's so easy to forget about weight during the summertime when your wardrobe consists of forgiving dresses and flowy skirts.

When September rolled around I slid on my favorite pair of jeans and realized I could barely button them. I just didn't understand. I wasn't eating things that were horrible for me.. I was even taking walks and jogging occasionally after work.. what was the deal?

The next week, I joined a gym and stopped buying bread.

Like most girls, I've always had those "problem areas". My hips, thighs, and bottom are where all of my weight collects. I am not necessarily unhealthy now weight-wise, my weight falls within the healthy parameters for my height- but before I started consistently working out, I just didn't feel great.

I like to tackle problems full force, doing everything possible to knock them out of the park. If I had no commitments, I would go to the gym for 8 hours a day, Biggest Loser style, and have the weight off in a week. Unfortunately I have one major commitment that prevents this from happening..... my job. Motivating myself to workout after work is one of the toughest things I've had to do. I so understand how people who work full time can fall into the couch potato mentality. My brain is just tired after working all day and I have to literally drag myself to the gym so that my body doesn't follow suit.

So how have my eating habits and workout schedule changed since the fateful jeans experience of September? I eat more vegetables and fruit, instead of packing processed snacks like granola bars in my lunches. I go to the gym four times a week, and have recently started circuit training in addition to my cardio. The circuit training has really started to show me results- I highly recommend it! It's not easy keeping up with this schedule, but I do feel like I'm becoming a healthier, post grad me.

All of this being said, every body is different. How do you stay fit when working a 9-5?

Rep. Jackie Speier, Who Revealed Her Abortion On House Floor, Is Our Hero

Most political debates are either boring or ludicrous. This one tore at my heart strings and made me proud that there are still some Representatives who aren't afraid to speak their minds. So many are tied up in the political rhetoric and worried about re-election that they won't say what Ms. Speier said. I appreciate her honesty.

Rep. Jackie Speier, Who Revealed Her Abortion On House Floor, Is Our Hero

Why Blog? Chapter 1

Blogging is all the rage these days and I don't just mean for personal use. Everyday more businesses take their ideas off paper and into the online universe. This being said, I am going to give you the most valuable piece of advice I can at this stage in my career. Ready?

Start a blog!

My blogging experience is one of the major reasons why I landed my current job. Not because the content aligned with the company I was applying for, but because it showed that I have a thirst for knowledge and a flair for creativity.

Blogs, great blogs anyway (more on that in Chapter 2), also show commitment and dedication to a subject. Whether that subject is birdwatching, photography, or classic cars, you take it upon yourself to seek out this information and write about it for the entire Internet world to read. If you can commit to a blog, potential employers will see that you have the ability to commit to their company

My last tip for this installment is to make sure the subject you choose is unique, or at least includes your own unique spin on a topic. I know writers out there who have blatantly stolen ideas from me before, but I've never really worried. Why? I knew their writing wouldn't be authentic. When you are blogging, your voice shows through. If you are trying to portray a voice or interests that really aren't your own, your readers will be able to tell.

Blogs are personal, so let your voice shine through and commit to writing about something you are actually passionate about. I'll see you next week for Chapter 2 of this series!

Insufficient Funds

I just watched a really informative documentary on Netflix called Maxed Out. It highlights some of the ways banks, lenders, credit card companies and everything like them are manipulating American citizens into paying them more than they already owe. Debt is a huge problem in America right now.

One thing that I have experienced first hand is that Credit Card companies prey on college students. Do you remember freshman orientation when there were tables all over campus that offered you a free t-shirt to sign up for a credit card with them? I do. The credit card companies want to lend to the young and naive who think it's okay to just make the minimum payment; it gets the company more money.

The other group of people credit companies target are those who have just filed for bankruptcy. There are 2 reasons they do this: they can't file for bankruptcy again and they have a "taste for credit."

Lenders get your money four main ways
  1. Interest on your debt
  2. Late fees
  3. Over Limit Fees
  4. Raising your interest rate if you are ever late or over the limit.
Who can afford all this? We just graduated. Several of us don't have jobs. Student Loans have just entered repayment. Debt is mounting, higher and higher. It's a very scary and real situation.

There is another phenomena that is hindering our generation from having acceptable credit. More and more often parents are asking their children to co-sign loans. Yes, Post Grads, that would be us.

In order to stay on top of your credit and debt and payments, I, as well as most financial experts, suggest looking at your credit score. There are several agencies that will give you your score for free. BE CAREFUL though. I used one of these once. They will give you your score for free, but then they also automatically sign you up for their service. You may cancel at any time, or so they tell you, but they make you jump through hoops to do so. Often you are not even aware that you are signed up until you credit card bill shows a charge the next month.

Don't worry too much though, if ever you are feeling overwhelmed by your personal debt, check out the national debt.

*UPDATE: Unpaid parking and speeding tickets associated with your license plate also show up on your credit report if they have been handed over to collection. Thank you DouchBag for getting a ticket in my car, never telling me, and never paying it. I REALLY appreciate it.

Digg Us!

Hello lovely readers! Do you Digg? We Digg. Go follow us please! Or just Digg some stories.

Post Grad and In a Relationship

Shikole and I have written articles about relationships before on this blog, but they've always been in a non personal sense. We've given you tips for date nights, ideas on how to meet guys once out of college, and some insight into why relationships are different after graduation. But what about our OWN experiences? Shikole shares some of hers in the previous article, and here are some of mine.

I am not jaded when it comes to relationships. Aside from one or two complete jerks, my romantic life has consisted of a few guys that actually cared about me. I feel very lucky for this fact, but it was never an easy road to find someone I was compatible with. I don't date just for the fun of it, believe me, I've tried. If I don't want to be with a guy romantically 100%, then we are just friends. I've found (for me) that there is no use in dating and complicating things unless I really want to pursue a strong connection.

I am currently in a relationship that has lasted for almost one year, and it's definitely my most mature relationship so far. We started dating when I was still in college. He had just graduated and was working a job that made it so easy for us to spend time together... then I graduated and got a job.

All of a sudden, those random weekday visits were non existent. He was working nights and weekends, I was working days. I kept telling myself that things would change soon and become easier. But due to a long change of career plans, they haven't, and now he is preparing to leave for a two month long internship opportunity.

Do you want to know honestly what my first thoughts were about this change of plans? I thought first about myself. I thought, "he is going to miss our one year anniversary, my birthday, my moving day!!" In my mind, I was furious. I moved to Rochester partly because I wanted to further my relationship with him, and here he was leaving me. After months of being in a relationship with schedules that only overlap once in a while, and hoping that things would get better soon, he is now going to leave for months, and is showing no remorse at all.

After brooding for a while, I stepped back a little bit and thought about things. The situation he put himself in wasn't about me at all, yet most of my concerns began with the word "my" or "me". It was about him, and furthering his career goals. This is the time in our lives when we need to do things like this for ourselves...before we have family and children and mortgages. Instead of being bitter about the "me" related things we'll miss, I just have to keep moving ahead.

I've come to the conclusion that my relationship is not going to become simpler. In the post grad world, relationships just aren't easy. Much like friendships, they require consistent mutual effort and support, or else they crumble.

My boyfriend and I are still trying. We have a lot of fun together, and genuinely enjoy being with each other. The thought of ending things over a career tears me up inside. Although we've hit a few bumps along the way, I know we'll continue to try and make things work.

I'm tired of sugarcoating things on this website about my fantasy post grad love life. I'm sick of giving bulleted lists of relationship advice. Our blog is called The Real Post Grad after all.

I've only got one tip for you in this post. If you value your post grad relationship, but things aren't easy, sometimes you just have to suck it up. Keep moving forward, keep being there for each other as much as possible, and keep looking towards the future. In one way or another, things will work themselves out.

So readers, welcome to my real post grad relationship.

Post Grad and Single

Have you ever seen a shadow and automatically thought that it was of something scary? Your mind is convinced that there is a murderer outside your window. It’s hovering right out of your sight. You can see that it’s holding something sharp. And then there is a noise. In any other situation you would think nothing of the completely natural sound outside, but because your mind is already in a place of fear it associates the scraping with the imaginary murderer that is plotting a way to get in and harm you. Your heart is beating faster. Your blood pressure rises. All your senses are on high alert.

You walk outside with a flashlight and a bat yelling at the shadow that it better run away or you’re going to hurt it. Then you see the tree branch that has always been there. You were just seeing it from a different point of view.

The same principle can apply to a relationship.

Think about it. When you are in a relationship you see it in one way, usually positively or you wouldn’t be in it. And then when it’s over and you look back on it, you realize it wasn’t how you thought it was at all. The shadow you were seeing was just that, a shadow. You were seeing your mind’s interpretation of the real thing.

(Note: I had every intention of making the comparison to that of The Cave in Plato's Republic but decided I would spare you all my love of philosophy.)

Having said that, I am a Post Grad and single. While I am not adamantly against dating, I also would like to keep the shadows out of my now drama-less life.

My opinion of romantic entanglements is jaded to say the least. I expect the worst in men because I've seen the worst. I will give a new guy a chance, but only until I'm bored or find a fatal flaw in his personality that I deem a deal breaker.

Doesn't like sports; deal breaker.

Pretentious; deal breaker.

Can't hold down a job; deal breaker.

Doesn't have his own place; deal breaker.

Some people tell me that I'm just looking for an excuse to stop seeing someone. This may be true. But if I'm not feeling it, I'm not putting in more effort.

This principle makes it necessary to meet new men in order to have any chance of finding someone I actually like. This would be easy enough, however work always prevents me from making happy hour. And alcohol itself makes those shadows I'm avoiding more prominent. Both things complicate my quest even further.

And so goes the tale of my life being a Post Grad and single.

Ice Cream Stereotypes

Ice Cream flavors have stereotypes that go with them. People who prefer vanilla are assumed to be boring. Those who like chocolate are assumed to be more outgoing. Strawberry, prissy. You get the idea.

I beg to differ, though. I think those who like vanilla are the most adventurous. Why, you ask? Well, vanilla ice cream has the most versatility. You can add any topping to it. Caramel, chocolate, sprinkles, peanut butter sauce, whipped cream, M & Ms; all good on vanilla ice cream. You can also use it for smoothies. Vanilla ice cream, fruit, blender, perfection.

Can you do that with chocolate chip cookie dough? No you cannot.

While fancy flavors can be fantastic, they are only good for one thing. You get what you buy and that is all.

I am now craving every one of these flavors and toppings. But the one I am craving most, which also sparked the idea for this post, is the Special Edition Girl Scout Cookie Tagalong Ice Cream.

Workout Songs

After sitting at my desk all day, exercising makes me feel great! Sometimes I'm pretty grumbly about heading to the gym, but thankfully my Ipod is loaded with workout music that motivates me. I'm going to take a cue from Shikole here are give you some of my workout favorites!

Cee Lo Green- F*ck You (the clean version is called "Forget You"). Since I want to keep things clean here on this blog, here's a video of how Glee covered this awesome song. For all of you who aren't offended by a little cursing, check out the original song on your own :).

The White Stripes- Hotel Yorba

Lil Mama- G Slide

For Minor- Remember the Name (Just a warning before listening, there are a few profanities in this one!)

What are some of your favorite pump up songs?

Top 5 Guilty Pleasure Songs

We all have them. Songs that are so bad that they are good. Or ones that are so catchy you can't help it. We sing along in the car when we think no one is watching. Our heads bob along when it comes on the radio in the grocery store. And when you're at the bar Saturday night there is no holding back.

My top 5 guilty pleasure songs are as follows:

  1. Ke$ha - Tik Tok. She had a water bottle full of whisky in her handbag. Remind you of freshman year in college much?
  2. LMFAO - Shots. Patron's on the rocks. 'Nuff said.
  3. Taylor Swift - Love Story. It gets me every time. So catchy I can't help but sing along.
  4. 3OH!3 - Don't Trust Me. So clever. "You tell your boyfriend, if he says he's got beef, that I'm a vegetarian and I ain't F*^#$%^ scared of him."
  5. Metro Station - Shake It. Totally had this song as my text tone for about a year.
What are you favorite guilty pleasure songs?

Guest Post by Lauren of Lauren's Thoughts

Hey readers, today we bring to you a guest post from Lauren over at Lauren's Thoughts. Her website is a great read- we highly suggest you check it out! Lauren recently left her job, and we asked her to share some insight into what helped her make this tough decision that many post grads agonize over.

In this economy, being a post grad is tougher than ever. So when I tell you I not only got a job right before graduation, then quit a month later, you might think I'm crazy, brave, or even stupid. But I truly believe in that quote from the movie "What Happens in Vegas": "I'd rather do nothing and be happy than do something I know I don't love."

So when I realized that I was not happy, I had to weigh my options. Yes, I had a job and was lucky to say so being a recent college grad. Yes, it paid well and I liked doing some of it. I realized this wasn't the job I wanted or the work I really wanted to do.

So I played it back and forth and finally decided to quit. I was still in the probationary period and I felt like I didn't want to waste my time anymore or my boss's for that matter. I admit, I may not have handled it that well and she wasn't too happy that I simply quit, but now I feel so relieved that it is over. I don't want to get too personal in this post, so I left out details on things that happened, where I worked, and even what type of job. But I think the real point to this is that everything works out for a reason. You'll get the job you need at the time you need it and it may even bring you to something else. You'll know when to let go of something, even if other people think you're crazy. Your heart guides you to the right choices, especially when it comes to your fabulous career.

So you might be wondering what I'm doing now. I'm not totally unemployed and bored. I have some jobs coming up for previous internship bosses where I'll be able to have some cash. I have an internship that I absolutely love writing and formatting articles for a womens online magazine and working on the SEO (search engine optimization) implementation. I may not have much money now, but I am much happier. That first job taught me to trust my instincts, do what makes you happy, how to handle things better in the future, and that sometimes you just can't please everyone and they may not even give you a real chance.

I wish you all the best of luck in finding a job you love! If you find you get the job and hate it, don't feel bad about quitting and starting over. Something will come to you when you least expect it. For more advice, tips, and more from me, check out my blog, Lauren's Thoughts.

SuperBowl Sunday

It's that time again. One of the biggest sports holidays of the year. People gather in bars and living rooms with beer and pizza and scream at the athletes on television to do better than they are currently doing. Men get aggravated at the women in the room because they tend to talk and ask questions during crucial parts of the game. Women get aggravated at men because they tend to splash beer all over the place in their excitement.

This year the Green Bay Packers face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Songs have been created on the subject, and many a newspaper article has been written. Apparently neither team has cheerleaders, to the dismay of horny men all over the country. I have no stake in either team really, GB knocked the NY Giants out of the running and the Steelers knocked the Jets out. My team choice has nothing to do with team loyalty this year.

Ben Roethlisberger is leading the Steelers into the Superbowl in hopes of adding a seventh victory to their record. Aaron Rodgers will be leading the Packers to a hopeful fourth SuperBowl Victory.

I will be rooting for the Packers today. They are the underdogs and my roommate is a Steelers fan so I feel the need to go against him. In reality, though, I'm just going to enjoy having friends over. That's what football, and all sports, really are to me. An excuse to get everyone in the same room for a couple hours.

Go Packers!

The Truth About Post Grad Friendships

It's so easy to have friends in college. You can visit them by walking down the dorm hallway, driving five minutes to their apartment, or meeting them for food on campus. On a scale of 1 to 10, the amount of effort necessary to spend time with college friends probably falls around a 2.

Then, you all graduate and you promise to stay in touch and visit and chat everyday, but much like high school graduation, this doesn't always happen. When major life changes occur it seems like true friends rise up to the challenge, while other friendships fade.

Sometimes, I feel like I experienced my friendships in a backwards sense. I actually stayed in touch with most of my close high school friends after graduation and through college, which is pretty uncommon. We all see each other every break we can, and I can honestly say that even after months of not seeing these guys, when we're together it's like nothing has changed. I can see myself maintaining friendships with everyone for years to come.

I thought I would be this way with my college friends as well, except I assumed I would come away with a much larger friend base. With some of my close college friends, it is like this. Some of us talk regularly and plan visits and are genuinely interested in each others lives.

Lately though, I've been feeling myself grow away from college friends that sort of lingered on the perimeter of close friend territory. If I were still in school, I would reach out to them. I would be the one offering to literally drive to their door to pick them up to hang out or try to find a time that we could meet for dinner. I would be the one making the effort.

After visiting my college a few weekends ago I had a revelation: I am so done with that! Done with people who consider themselves to be true "friends", when they feel no guilt about walking all over me and are only vaguely interested in what I have to say-even less so when I'm not around them. With so many things swirling around my post grad brain, I need to focus on people that care about me as much as I care about them.

In the post grad world, friendships require mutual effort. My plan for now is to keep myself open, but stop putting in the effort to revive friendships with those who wouldn't put forth the same effort for me. Like so many other aspects of my life right now, I guess we'll just see how it goes.

Guest Post

Hey reads, check out our guest post on coping with post grad life over at the website
Be sure to read some of Amanda's interesting entries while you're there!