“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” ~ Maya Angelou
It’s been officially one year since I graduated from college! I expected to be writing weekly posts, taking aesthetic photos in the trendy neighborhoods, and becoming a famous YouTuber within six months. Just kidding! (I wish I could dream like that.)
My one goal as a postgraduate was to live my life day by day and figure out my true life goals, without the constraints and pressures from student life. In today’s post I will confess my 3 greatest achievements and mistakes of the past 12 months. The intention? To show that life can take you to unexpected places, for better and for worse.
1. I Became a Full-Time Employee
Once it got close to graduation, I chose to remain in Iowa. I talked to my boss and negotiated employment the day after graduation. My intention? To better focus on learning “how to be an adult” (paying bills, shopping, etc.).
I didn’t want to waste time finding a job that I was planning to leave after one year. Even though I wasn’t going to make $60K like I hoped (or $20K), I agree with my past self. I ultimately made the better career decision.
There was no open full-time position at the school, however, we were able to find positions for me subbing in classrooms and being extra staff to the toddler rooms (my preferred age range).
I was surprised when a full-time position opened and I was asked to become an assistant teacher (2nd teacher for Young Two-Year Olds classroom).
If you’d like to read some posts about my year as a teacher this link will be helpful ;0)
My one regret is that I started my job too soon. Seven days before my first day at the school, I was hit by a car. My bike had to be repaired, I needed extensions on my finals, and then I graduated.
Because I failed to attend to my body’s needs, I was left with the repercussions for months. I was scared to cross larger streets, and refused to walk unless the crosswalk signs worked (which not all of them did).
Even now, I have aches and pains from the accident. I was left to deal with the insurance taking forever to cover my medical bills. The trauma found ways to attach itself to every aspect of my life.
When my bike was fixed, I was scared to ride it to work, and ultimately had it taken back home. I wish I gave myself the time to focus on my healing, without working all day, trying to pay bills, etc.
I also forgive myself, because I didn’t have much of a choice.
2. I Secured Housing and Utilities
I had the summer to find my own housing. After graduating, I stayed on campus, as I did every summer (minus 2020).
I am from Chicago, not Iowa, and my family is scattered across the country. Everyone went back to their lives, and I was left all alone.
I was able to walk to and from work from campus, and I was able to go grocery shopping with friends, from time to time.
However, our work schedules varied, and I’ve never been comfortable asking for help. I needed to move so I could be even more independent than I already was.
Apartment hunting was fun. Though this is still Iowa, so I didn’t have many options without a car. Still, I am resourceful and was able to find the place I now call home.
There are problems – mostly feeling like I’m back in my single dorm when my neighbors decide to blast their music when I’m trying to relax – but, there are many pros to living alone too.
Since I will be moving soon, I’m glad I have more insight into finding the right place, and the cost of living.
My utilities took weeks to set up, I had to fight the urge to keep my air on all day, and I had to adapt to being isolated from other twenty-somethings.
Seriously, you get used to everyone around you being your age. For my first place, I did a good job though.
3. I Managed Without a Car
I was lied to about just how different Chicago is from the rest of the Midwest. Yes, it’s crowded, full of noise pollution and air pollutants. Yes, the subway smells like pee.
BUT, at least there is a subway! The buses here only run during “working hours”, for who? The downtown business people?
When I had to work nights while in college, I couldn’t take the bus, because they stop running from 5pm-6pm (they vary).
The worst part is, THEY DON’T RUN ON THE WEEKENDS! How am I supposed to do anything when my ride is so inaccessible?
Oh, you do not want to get me started on the fact that so many stops are just signs in the dirt and grass. When it snowed (which was most of my year) I had to climb over ice mounds.
The sidewalks were NOT shoveled NOR salted, and the street plows would block the entrances with filthy slush piles!
Taking a deep breath. I managed without a car. The pandemic made it a priority for grocery stores and Target to deliver.
Whenever family came to visit, we were able to shop for my necessities all at once. I learned to budget on a monthly basis, and ate A LOT of beans in order to save money.
This is the life I chose, when I decided to not throw away all of my belongings to stay with family until I decided my next life moves. I made the right choice. I just wish it was easier to get around here.
As I write, I imagine this post will be rather long. Hopefully, you made it this far, or at least read the parts that enticed you.
There are so many topics I want to expand on with these posts. I just need to make the time to share them. Make sure to leave a comment down below and let me know if you can relate to these accomplishments and mistakes!
If there’s anything you think I should talk about, don’t hesitate to ask!