Monthly Archives: November 2010

“Home” for the Holidays

Home is where the heart is

As a part of my post-graduate transition, one of my main focuses (outside of feeding myself and maintaining adequate transportation) has been to create for myself a home, as opposed to the college crash den I’d kept for the past two years.

“Home” is a tricky thing. About four years ago, one of my more pleasant friends (crooked-smile) pointed out to me the absence of that word  in my vocabulary.

She told me I rarely use that word, “home;” that I never say things like “Let’s go home.” Instead, I say things like “Let’s go ‘to the apartment.'”

Overly critical and analytical?

Maybe.

But I’ve always since thought she was on to something.

My brother moved in with me a couple weeks ago, and whenever it’s time to leave the place we were for the place we dwell, he says “Are you ready to go ‘home’?”

I say, “Yeah, let’s go to the apartment.”

It doesn’t quite feel like home yet.

When my brother and I were in elementary school, my mother moved us either from state-to-state or across the same state or city no less than once a year. As I entered middle school, it slowed to about once every two years, all the way up through when I graduated from high school, where I began to move myself from state-to-state or across the state every year.

Until I went to college, and graduated.

Now I’m Ms. Two-Year Lease because I am so sick of moving and so ready to have a home, and a hometown. I am ready to know my neighbors; to have things like a local mechanic and a guy I go to for my greens (oh, he’s out there, and he has leaves as big as elephant ears).

As much as I’m ready to travel and see the world, I’m also embarking on the greatest unknown experience of my young life: staying somewhere and making it my home.

It’s an interesting experience, being uprooted so often. On the one hand, it leaves you feeling sort of disconnected–I look around at some people who have lived in the same place for their entire lives and I see their ties: parks they played on when they were kids, then drank smuggled beer and smoked oregano/pot mixtures on as teenagers; friends who knew them from when they were tomboys to punk rock to goth back to themselves; addresses and phone numbers that any random ex could remember and call and catch their parents; and I think, “How could you ever feel lost when you know exactly where to go to find your whole life?”

That’s got to be beautiful–and it’s something I don’t really have.

…or do I?

I decided to spend this holiday with my dad, who lives in the city in which I was born (one of the Canadian Border-area places). And let me tell you something: This is one place that my mom, brother and I neh-heh-HEVAR visited when we were growing up. I think I was maybe five when we left, and I’m pretty sure I could count the times on one hand that I’ve been back since.

And yet I get here, and it’s strangely familiar. Cold as all get out, but I look at the streets and I have flashes of half-forgotten memories: Oh, I walked to this bus stop with Mom Bom (my now-deceased great-grandmother); Oh, that’s where Grandma lived; Oh, I remember having a blue snowsuit I wore once to this corner store.

And though they are few, there are people here who have known me, literally, since the crib. I had brunch with my cousin yesterday–my mom’s best friend’s daughter. We were born 10 days apart; Our mothers literally decided that whoever was born first would be named Britney, and the other would be the fabulous, fantabulous, supercalifragelisticexpealidocious, flyy, superfunktastic, enormously talented and tremendously humble bryoneyH (Bryoney for short).

And I think, “This place has continued being my home without me.”

The holidays are always an exercise in diplomacy for me, because I have so many “homes” for my holidays. There’s California, where I made my first adult decision to get the hell out of my mother’s house, and my second adult decision to beg my mother to take me back (real life is hard!). That’s where my aunts and uncle and their families live, and I can’t go there without getting flashes from the memories of the time I spent there. Though I didn’t live there for long, that’s another place that’s filled with memories and people I can always find and food I can only get from there (CRUCIAL ELEMENT FOR CREATING ANY SENSE OF HOME).

There’s North Carolina, where there’s an entire town filled with my cousins, where I spent nearly every summer of my childhood  living on my dad’s dad’s farm learning to cook and pick beans and feed dogs and play dominoes.

There’s Georgia, where I spent my middle school and high school years with friends who have always been my family, during the time in any adolescent girl’s life where it is critical that she spend every waking moment with her best friends or else stay on the phone with them for at least four hours every night while watching TV, painting nails or engaging in the newfangled act of “burning CDs.”

And then I smile when I think about the place where I live now, and how I excited I am to have somewhere else that, rather than being a geographic location, represents the time in my life where I was young and making it and struggling some but laughing through it with more wonderful people who I will plan to visit during the holidays (or whenever).

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What Do You Mean You Thought I was “Different?”

My 19-year-old attempt to unleash my inner wild child

Two things before I start this post.

1) Though it is Thanksgiving and I have so much to be thankful for, this post is not about that.

2) This post is yet another in my apparently recurring theme of sexuality. If you do not wish to know that much about me, I advise you to read no further.

OK.

You know what I hate?

When people (and of course by people I mean boys) look at me all disappointed the moment I start being myself and go “Oh…I thought you were different.”

I have been turning this over in my mind ever since I tried to push up on my friend at that party (see previous post). As he was politely turning down my advances, I seem to remember him saying something along the lines of “Do you know how many girls try to sex me?” (and in this instance, I am only using the quotes to separate that text from the rest of the text–that is not a direct quote).

And though I don’t remember him saying it, I felt like behind those words he was implying how he thought I was different than those other girls, but I had just sadly, sadly disappointed him with my commonness.

This is something I think about a lot in general because I encounter it a lot.

“Oh. I thought you were different.”

The thing about it is I am different, but not in a way that people (and of course by people I mean the only people in the world who truly count: boys) find appealing.

In the two areas that count, sex and emotions, I am exactly like every other damn woman.

So take that!

The thing about it is that I do understand how it would be possible to misread me, unless you’re just very adept at reading what I have been told are subtle signs (even though if you have been following this blog you probably know by now that I am also very capable of being very, very obvious).

This is something I have been struggling with my whole life: to show on the outside who I am on the inside. I have tried all manner of body piercings and wild haircuts and costume jewelry to try to create an image on the outside that communicates who I really am inside: a five-star chick.

Tee hee.

No, but seriously.

For some reason it is very frustratingly natural for me to give most people I meet the impression that I am innocent and reserved–you know, a “good girl.”

And I’m not saying I’m not a “good girl,” but I am definitely not the passive, submissive, lacking any sexual desire outside of pleasing my husband (or maybe a boyfriend, but we have to be seriously in love) girl who being a “good girl” connotes.

No.

I am not her.

I am a young woman who was raised by a single mother, so I am all types of conflicted between my natural womanly inclination to care for you and my upbringing to never, never take care of no DAMN MAN.

…but that was a sort of a tangent.

The thing about it is I’m not even sure what that means, to be different. I’m not sure anyone really is. I mean, of course you have all types of people, but within those types, is anyone really different? We live in a society that actively works to teach us conformity. I am a young, self-actualized, educated woman. Like every other woman I went to school with. How much different from them could I possibly be?

The other night, I was talking to my girl K about this. And this is (one of the many reasons) why I love this chick. She goes, without hesitation, “I don’t know what you’re talking about–I’m special.”

I, on the other hand, am not so sure. I mean sure, I’m unique. I was especially created and designed at the hand of God for a distinct and special purpose in life–just like everybody else.

So when I meet a guy and he loads me with all these expectations of how I’m supposed to be somehow different, I really don’t know how to process that. I doubt I’m whatever difference you’re looking for, and I really can’t take all that pressure anyway. I’m just me. Like every other woman. And if you’re someone who digs that, and can understand that I can’t/won’t play “the game” and am probably waiting just as eagerly (if not more) for “the right time” to get down, then maybe we can kick it.

I guess that’s one way I’m different: I see you as just as much of a sex object as you see me (if not more), and I’m not able to hide it.

But then again, once the deed is done, I’m writing out our childrens’ names and practicing my married signature with your last name. So, again, pretty much just like every other woman.

…You Mean to Tell Me it’s all Because I’m a Virgo??

Samantha, I am not

N.B.: This is another post that you might find yourself feeling like you know too much about me after reading

If you’ve been following my blog fairly regularly, you probably know by now that I am terrible at boys. Because boys is an action word–they’re something you do.

Tee hee.

But seriously.

If you’ve been following this blog, you probably know by now that I am very good at saying single. In the immortal words of my mother, who flippantly threw them out to her friend on the phone one day when I was a teen:

“Bryoney can’t keep a man.”

[SB: Doesn’t that suck about families? Every embarrassing thing you do becomes phone fodder for the girlfriends.]

To tell you the truth, I really don’t know how to interact with boys. Well, not straight ones anyway. I am fabulous at forming friendships with homosexual males (excuse the use of the stereotypical word “fabulous”), but I have this way of systematically destroying the close friendships I form with heterosexual guys through the introduction of sex.

I think it sort of stems from being constantly told as a child that:

1) Men only want one thing

and

2) Good girls do what they’re told and give people what they want.

Does anyone else see how I could find those two thoughts confusing? Although, not to be wholly unfair to my upbringing, I think it also has a lot to do with that b**** confusing me and twisting things to make her case about why it’s totally cool to take your friendships “there.”

I guess for some people it probably is. In fact, I have always pictured myself as the sort of empowered woman who could reverse the roles and use a man for what he wanted to use me for and shift all the paradigms of the universe in the process.

Little did I know about the power of sex–a universe full of paradigms unto itself. And even less did I know about the universe full of paradigms in me that only ever jumps to the forefront of my mind and heart when someone is jumping to the forefront of my physical being.

Last night, I began the process of destroying yet another one of my friendships with one of my heterosexual male friends through the universal paradigm shift that comes with sex.

We didn’t have sex.

We really didn’t, guys. I don’t even want to bang this guy, or any guy unless we’ve arrived at some sort of mutual understanding that I’m his woman and if he bangs some other woman during the time span in which we have made our agreement then it’s within my rights to cut it off.

Kidding!

I’m only kidding, guys!

….I just was kind of drunkenly flirting with my heterosexual male friend, and…OK, OK I may have asked him if I could put my boobs on him.

But that’s it!! Hello?! Harmless!

But he said no because I was drunk and so I of course took that to mean he hated me and thought I was ugly so I immediately told him I wasn’t his friend anymore, 5th grade style.

Yeah! Take that!

…but even in my drunken haze I could think semi-clearly enough to eventually arrive at the conclusion that his rejection of my boobage wasn’t worth throwing away a two-year friendship–and so I tried to make nice with him by telling him that even though I’m not sure I want to be his friend since he thinks I’m ugly and unattractive, I do think it’s probably unhealthy to not be his friend because he didn’t want me to put my boobs on him.

…..I don’t handle rejection well.

Today, my good friend T let me borrow a book of hers called “Sextrology.”

Guess what that was about.

Now, I sort of waffle back and forth on the whole astrology thing. On the one hand, I’m a Christian, so astrology is a pretty big no-no. On the other, though, it’s fascinating, and often times eerily accurate.

Like today.

Let me just quote a few of the phrases that describe my plight in the words I never had the thoughts to use:

“The truth is, these earth girls are easy. And Virgo tries her damnedest to signal sexual interest in a man, even letting herself be ‘caught’ with her eyes alighting upon his crotch. She hangs on a guy’s every word, leaning into the conversation, all ears and heaving cleavage, listening as if in a state of suspended fascination. She thinks she’s sending out a clear message of sexual availability–instead, she merely makes a man feel at ease, winning her the dubious honor of being ‘easy to talk to.'”

What the fuck?! OK–who’s been following me around with a notebook?

“Virgo’s brand of sibling affection works both ways, as men tend to love her, first and foremost, as a sister, succumbing to the mass hallucination that nobody is ever good enough for her, not even themselves. Still, it is indeed confounding that so voluptuous a creature, so desperate to express her sexuality, is so often left without a date on a Saturday night.”

Guess what day and time of day it is right now. And I’m at home blogging.

And one more for the road:

“Talk about loaded: Virgo is not only a whole lotta woman physically, she also places tremendous expectations on what another female might simply consider a crush.”

…*shoves binder with Mrs. [Insert current crush’s last name] scribbled all over the cover and on each sheet of paper under the bed.

This is Probably Why I Got Called a White Supremecist Racist that Day

I have two things to say today that at least 2 of my 7 readers will not like, but if you stick with me to the end I promise to make it make sense to a point where we can respectfully disagree, rather than you losing respect for me as a card-carrying natural black woman.

1) I DON’T FUCKING WANT TO SEE “FOR COLORED GIRLS.”

Whoo! I said it. I have been feeling like how you feel when it’s 4 a.m. and cold and you’re snuggled in your covers  and comfortable and warm but that beer you drank before bed has got your kidneys screaming and you know you should get up and that your kidneys are probably slowly being poisoned and it would suck to pee the bed at your age but the temperature dropped in the middle of the night and you know the bathroom tile will be freezing and you went to bed without socks and your don’t know where your slippers are and you have to get up at 6:30 a.m. anyway and if you do get up and out of bed it’s gonna be reaaally hard to fall back asleep for those measly 2 hours about holding in the fact that I don’t want to see this fucking movie.

But you know what? I’ll say it again: I don’t FUCKING WANT TO SEE FOR COLORED GIRLS.

I don’t need Ms. Oprah “I’m going to build a school for African children because they’ll appreciate it more” Winfrey and Mr. Tyler “Every black family has a crackhead daughter who abandons her family and a gun-weilding grandmother” Perry telling me it sucks to be a black girl.

Thanks. Noted.

I’ll skip watching a rape scene and having all black men vilified–I get that enough at home from my single mama.

2) I have opened myself up to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, it is possible to be a Black Republican without being an oxymoron.

Last night I went to a presentation called “Black America and Politics” at my school. It was cosponsored by the College Republicans, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the school’s chapter of the NAACP.

It was designed as a forum for black students to come and be educated on the politics of the two major parties in this country as those politics apply to the black race.

The organizations brought in one local black representative of the Democrats and the Republicans, sat them at a table at the center of an auditorium, and told them have at it.

Well, I assume.

I was late.

My brother and I walked in as the Republican representative was in the middle of an impassioned speech about how Robert Kennedy had more of a heart for blacks and civil rights than JFK; how many civil rights advancements were accomplished through the efforts of Richard Nixon; and how Republicans of that era voted for Civil Rights Legislation in much higher percentages than their Democratic counterparts (and in some cases, where their Democratic counterparts voted against it).

Click here for more on that.

He went on to talk about Margaret Sanger, and how she conceived (no pun intended) the idea of Planned Parenthood to be used as a tool to control the population of “undesirables” in this country, which, whether or not you believe, is definitely something I’ve only ever heard either very hardcore feminists or very hardcore conscious black folks mention.

He wasn’t up there shuckin and jivin, basically.

He was just old school. He said he watched his father work in a factory for 33 years, enduring opposition, racism and hardship. And he said that every night his father came home and told him he better not let anything stop him from getting an education and making something of himself.

He said that as of now, only 20 percent of black children are born in wedlock, but before welfare (which he called something else that I can’t remember–I was so into it that I forgot to take notes) that number was 80 percent. He said that the black family endured slavery and Jim Crowe, only to crumble under the weight of a social system that only provides assistance to homes where there is no man present (i.e. welfare, which was instituted by Democratic president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, according to here).

Again, whether or not you believe this, it is talk that I’ve only ever heard from conscious black folks, the same black folks who raise an eyebrow in suspicion whenever they hear Republicans or Conservatives talking about how they want to take their country back.

Take it back to where? Cuz there’s never been a good time to look like me in the past.

He said Democrats are aware of how easily the black populace can be manipulated into voting their way–all they need to do is “pick an old white conservative and call him a racist.” And he talked about how Democrats have adopted the Civil Rights ideology without the action, and how blacks have stagnated under it.

He asked over and over that if Democrats are working for blacks, where are the results of that work?

…and then it was the Democratic representative’s turn.

And his point was something like: Republicans aren’t reaching out to blacks; Democratic buzzword this; jobs that; racism; there were only three black Republicans at the event;

and, the line that just really lost me,

“I mean…I look around this room and see Technicolor.” (because of all the brown faces that had shown up to the NAACP/NPHC Sorority-sponsored event titled BLACK AMERICA AND POLITICS).

He was a very poor representative for the Democratic party. And against his bleak background, the Republican representative really shined, talking about how it is possible for a lot of the problems that blacks in America can be reframed outside the lens of racism.

He named the disproportionate minority jail population as an example. He said that it is true that though black males make up only 11 percent of the general population, they make up 50 percent of the jail population. However, he said instead of looking at it through the ideological lens of racism, he looks at this figure through his life experience lens of people who have come up in broken homes. And he said that when reframed as such, the figure redistributes.

I found more information on this subject here.

The Republican representative said his goal wasn’t to convince every black person to become a Republican, but rather, to convince black people that their zealous, unconditional loyalty to the Democratic party was damaging overall.

…of course, I like to think I’m an Independent anyway so I wasn’t moved.

p.s.: I was shooting for irony with that title.

When Repression Is the Best Solution

Haha I call this SacrificeDISCLAIMER: This is one of those girl-talk posts you may want to think twice about reading in its entirety. There is a chance you may walk away thinking “..huh. I would have rather not known that about her.”

I’ve been thinking and talking a lot about repression lately.

I think it’s the healthiest thing a young woman in my position can do, in some cases. Repress. Repress to stay focused.

I don’t know what this says about me, but a lot of young women in my social circle are throwing adult toy parties. And, henceforth, I have been able to successfully avoid them. Because…I just don’t need that on my mind right now, plain and simple.

Here’s the thing about me. You know how they say a man has two brains, and can only think with one at a time?

Well I don’t know if I have elevated testosterone levels or what, but that is most certainly the case for me.

I have a special nickname I give my other brain, the one with the mouth that talks over my thoughts–I call her that b****. That b**** is always trying to get me into trouble. And it has been a real struggle–sometimes I win, sometimes she does. She’s very persuasive, that b****. She’ll convince me of all manner of nonsense to get her way–she’ll tell me I’m in love, that I know him well enough, that he’s a great person, that who are we to cling to society’s arbitrary and gender-biased standards?! That why should we adhere to rules made by patriarchs to tie down women while they run around and enjoy the very same thing they condemn us for without a thought, care or concern about their own hypocrisy?! Yeah! This isn’t about morals, this is about LIBERATION!

YEAH!

Uhh…No.

This isn’t about patriarchs and hypocrisy, this is about making the best choices that will lead me to a state of physical and emotional well-being. And it has definitely been well established that “that” act is just something I’m going to have to sacrifice for now in order to be a more focused and emotionally stable young woman.

You would think every part of me would be on the same page with this mission.

But that b**** has her own selfish agenda, and she pursues it ruthlessly, without a thought about my emotional well-being.

It has been a long, hard battle (no pun intended) to successfully lock that heifer away, but I finally did it at the end of the summer. Stuffed a bit in her mouth (no pun intended!!) and muzzled her–that b**** knows she is not allowed to speak for the rest of my natural life, because I still won’t trust her after I’m in a committed and loving relationship. She’s too reckless.

Yeah that’s right, I repressed the hell outta her and everything she associates herself with. Shoot I don’t even put my body in the same physical area as a male unless there are chairs filled with other females between us. I don’t listen to “that” talk. I don’t watch people kissing on TV anymore (well, I don’t own a TV). I stopped listening to Trey Songz (his music will…woo. Yeah. Can’t go there). I developed a case in my mind about why no woman should listen to Trey Songz (because he is just a typical male who will tell you what he thinks you want to hear so you will let him smash).

When I started this post, I meant to touch only briefly on (no pun intended!) this aspect of my repression and move to how I’m repressing my desire to write for a living because I don’t know how to do it. But clearly that’s just not what that b**** had in mind.

In a way, I’m OK with that. I think this, too, is something that us single, educated young women deal with that maybe doesn’t get addressed in the healthiest of manners. We have this new, extreme “hook-up” culture that is telling us it’s OK to have casual sex and that will totally lead to him falling in love with you and will in no way mess with your physical and emotional well-being…that I know, personally, is not true of me and my molecular structure. And then, because I’m Christian, I have this other cultural perspective that tells me to pray that b**** silent that…almost doesn’t make sense to me. It’s almost par to me praying that God remove in me the need to poop, in my mind at least. I DEFINITELY understand praying for control–believe me, I am praying that He let me remain in control right now, simultaneously as I type this. But I’m not sure it’s being true or fair to my nature or my relationship with God if I pray that He takes that need from me–I’m just not sure that’s how this works.

And then I have the professional, career-minded aspect of me that says that it’s OK to have these conversations, but probably not in a public forum where any employer can Google search bryoneyH and learn all about how that b**** and I are embroiled in a bitter match to the end for the full use of my body.

“…she didn’t list skitzo in the ‘About Me’ portion of her application….”

But somebody’s got to talk about these things, because somebody’s got to facilitate these conversations among young, single, educated women who are consciously trying to make decisions that only contribute to their physical and emotional well-being. Somebody’s got to say that this is a part of being a young woman too and it’s normal and healthy, but for now you might just have to muzzle that b**** so you can stay focused.

Me and My Dad

My dad is sick.

But what’s really…got me thinking about it a lot…is the fact that my dad is acknowledging that he’s sick.

My dad’s standard answer to the question of how he’s doing is “maintainin’.” For my entire life, no matter what he was facing, no matter what is going on in his life, what challenges, what victories, you ask him how he’s doing and he’ll tell you he’s maintainin.

His mother has dementia and he’s her primary (sole) caregiver. How are they doin? “Maintainin’.”

About two years ago I think, my dad was diagnosed with Diabetes. He didn’t want to tell me. I asked him how he was doin then–“Maintainin’.” And ever since, you ask him and Diabetes is like scurvy or something–something that may have been a big deal a long time ago, but really, just really isn’t now.

I don’t think my dad is maintaining anymore though, and I don’t know how I’m supposed to think or feel in this situation, or what I’m supposed to do.

I called my dad to ask him for some gas money (this was before I was whining to my mom about the same thing) and he told me that things were kind of tight because he hadn’t gone to work in a couple of weeks. Instead, he’s been spending his days going back and forth to doctors’ offices, he told me.

He’s been passing out at work.

Regularly.

But of course because he’s my dad or maybe just because he’s a dad, he still downplayed even that as much as possible, saying that he thinks it’s just his medication acting up.

But I don’t believe him anymore because he called me the other day and told me that he wouldn’t be able to make it to Thanksgiving because he didn’t trust that he would be able to make that long drive without passing out behind the wheel. And he said that he wouldn’t even be filling me in so much on his condition except that his lady friend, D, told him that her mom had been dealing with something similar and her mom ended up dying and D always felt a little upset that her mom never confided in her about what she was dealing with and so D had no warning when she died.

So he’s warning me.

What am I supposed to do?

My plan was to visit my grandparents (his dad and his dad’s wife) because they’re getting older and you don’t want to miss opportunities to see loved ones, especially as they age. But now my dad is getting worse and I don’t know who to visit. I guess that sounds silly when taking in the gravity of the whole situation, but that’s like all I can think about right now–who am I supposed to visit for Thanksgiving this year?

Sometimes my friends ask me about my dad because I never talk about him. I don’t know–it’s just not really my habit. He lives up north, we talk about twice a month on average. I didn’t really grow up with him, but I didn’t necessarily grow up without him (not the way some people grow up without their fathers, anyway).

….there’s not really a lot to talk about, I guess. Growing up, my dad’s participation in our family was…sporadic, I would say. And I’m in no way trying to paint him any type of villanous color–I think my parents’ relationship was just kind of complicated. Plus, they were married with two kids by 21 and 22. That’s a lot for that age.

I was most angry at my dad when I was 13 and he moved from the current state we were all in to the state his father lives in without telling me. For some reason that really cut me deep and I cried over it for a long time and then I didn’t cry about anything for a while.

And then when I was maybe 15 or 16 he started really, really trying to be a part of me and my brother’s life again. And he’s been consistent ever since. And at first I was still mad, but after I reached and passed age 20, 21 and 22, I began to understand.

And I don’t even know what point I was trying to make when I started talking about my relationship with my dad.

All I really want to know is what do I do in this situation? Who do I visit for Thanksgiving?

Things I Learned from College Outside the Classroom

 

This. Right Here. Is The. Cloud

I think the reason some people feel frustrated (and by “some people” I of course mean me) with post-graduate life is that we somehow are all under the impression that once we get our degree, the hard times are over.

And by hard times, I of course mean hard work.

And being broke.

I swear to goodness, in my fantasy world I half-expected my degree to come with a notice from the post office telling me to pick up my bag of money from behind the counter.

I sometimes get frustrated with my post-graduate life because I see my friends who didn’t go to college and they have four more years’ worth of work on their resumes and in their bank accounts.

They have already faced down all the issues that keep cropping up with me as I enter adulthood, from finding places to live that are affordable, comfortable and not in a scary and smelly neighborhood to reaching the literal end of the road with your pre-graduation clunker car, and all the implications that go along with getting a replacement one quick (like that full-coverage monthly insurance price tag that comes along with leasing a car), to buying things like a bed for sleeping and chairs for sitting and various shelves, tables and dressers for putting (stuff on).

Graduating from college is a rough transition both emotionally and financially, but I do think that the act of graduating college has prepared us for great success.

Here are some distinct advantages that I think our generation of grads have over people who are further in their careers or opted to skip college altogether to enter into the workforce:

1) “The Cloud.”

Oh, you know. All that social media/google buzz/PUSH phones/Google Docs, etc.
If you’re like me, in college you used all of this stuff to distract you from doing your homework until the veeeerrrrrrryyy last second. Post-graduation though, I find that all of the time I spent creating Facebook groups and tweeting things I’m interested about translates to the new PR and there are high-paying jobs in this field. It’s crazy, because I was told throughout my whole college career that I would either be underpaid or unemployed post-graduation, only to come out and find that these social media manager/online content management positions exist and are hiring and pay well.
While members of the previous generation’s workforce are playing catchup, we can now use all of our self-absorbed hobbies that we were partaking in at 3 a.m. when that paper was due as resume experience to land that job.

On the flip side, I think what “the cloud” says to employers is that we are not your 9 to 5 workers; we came to do a job and we will do that job until it’s done no matter where in the world we are. Our jobs are no longer chained to offices, and neither are we. We are always connected, and our bosses know that if they email us at 9 p.m. that email will come to our smart phones and we will either answer in minutes or get it and tell them the next morning we were asleep. But either way, we are reachable and ready to work as the work needs to be done, rather than strictly from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2) The College Work Ethic

Now, I seem to remember hearing of some kind of college culture where people drink and party and b.s. and graduate in four years and get a job….but I haven’t been able to find it. Oh, I know people who have drunk and partied throughout college…but they have also held down jobs, internships, leadership roles in student organizations, performed community service and completed all of their coursework. Our generation of post grads doesn’t sleep–we work. And we party. But we work.

I was reading this book called “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell and he was talking about the factors of extremely successful people. Among the factors, he named work as one of the leading contributors. He said there’s no way to be an expert at anything without putting in your 10,000 hours’ worth of work in it. Musical virtuosos may start out with a slight natural talent edge over their peers, but after that it’s practice that takes over and they end up phenomenal because they spend every waking hour of every day working toward being phenomenal.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to college 2K10. We work. And after graduation, I believe those habits of constant work give us an advantage over the people whose mindsets are set in the 9-5 workday/come home and relax, frame.

Now I’m not saying you should work yourself to death at all, but if you want to break into your career and be successful in it (especially just starting out) you are going to have to take on projects, build your portfolio, attend networking events, invest in the little things like domain names and business cards–you can’t “get off work” once you leave your building. And as iGen college students who are completely used to balancing an insane amount of tasks, it’s pretty much ingrained into our core that 8 hours of work out of a 24-hour day is pretty unproductive.

And last but not least, #3: Dealing With People You Can’t Get Away From

My university has about 25,000 students attending, but you would be surprised how small that is when you’re speaking in terms of people who rub you the wrong way who you see constantly. Whether you hang with the same people, have the same major, are in the same student organizations or like the same restaurants, you will run into these mofos again and again. There is no “Ah well, I’ll never see them again anyway” in college. There is only “Ohh, you again…and again…and again,” until it eventually becomes “Oh…so…you know someone who could hand my resume directly to the hiring manager of that company huh?”

 You learn to play nice, because the moment you walk across that stage they go from being the person who was always whining about their guy problems to the one who may have a contact you need. And if you are smart and nice, reaching out to your personal network from college will get you all manner of things far sooner than going out and getting those things the old-fashioned way. Don’t. Burn. Bridges.

Seriously.

…and that’s why I think that the lessons you learn in college extend so far beyond your degree that even though post grad life might be rough at first, you can still feel really good about your degree and what it means for your life and career.

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