Tips for surviving the post grad entry level job hunt. Part 1: living with your parents

Tips for surviving the post grad entry level job hunt. Part 1: living with your parents

The Post Grad's Guide to living with parents after graduating from college
In May, I moved back in with my parents and started getting serious about my job hunt. While I still don’t have a job, I’ve learned a few things about how to handle living at home when you’re at an age where you feel independent. This will be the first post in my series on navigating the post college world without going crazy.

Dear Mama and Daddy, I am so thankful to be living at home for free. I love you both very much. You might want to skip ahead to the end where I talk about the good parts of the experience, though.

Here’s what you need to know about living in your parents home

  • Say goodbye to privacy

For the past 2 to 4 years, you lived on your own and did whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. But now you’re not paying rent… Or living with roommates who don’t care if you stay out late or stay in bed for an entire weekend. You’re living with the people who created you and who are paying all the bills for the house you’re living in.

If your parents are anything like my parents, they will walk in your room without knocking. They will ask you where you’re going when you leave the kitchen even if you’re only going to the bathroom.

And God forbid you ever want to be lazy for no reason and lie in bed all day watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. Being a parent means being a responsible adult. They don’t quite understand the urge to be extremely lazy every so often (though to be fair, I have many peers who also don’t understand it). Which brings me to my next point…

  • Say hello to judgment.

Don’t get me wrong. My parents are great. But my roommates didn’t judge me for doing stuff like binge watching Netflix or being on my cell phone too much. If I wanted to be bad and get Oreos, my roommates didn’t tell me I need to be healthier, they got their own package of Oreos and were bad with me. Your parents probably will judge stuff. I mean it’s because they love you and want the best for you. I have this suspicion that they think you’re wasting all the wonderful potential they gave you when you waste your time on inane or unhealthy things… They’re not necessarily wrong so try to take it with a grain of salt. Feel free to rant about it to your friends or siblings when you need to get it off your chest though.

  • Expect to be the errand runner.

“Oh, my grown up child lives at home? I can make her/him do anything I want! I need groceries? Let’s give our child the list. Left something in the other room. No need to waste energy on stuff like standing up and walking. The graduate can get it. S/he’s young and capable.”

This is the monologue I think occasionally goes on in my parents head. The same goes for personal maid. How the parents did things like load the dishwasher and set the table before you moved back in, I don’t know. But you parents will not waste free labor. So get used to things like doing other people’s laundry (gasp!).

  • Junk. Junk everywhere.

During college, your room became your room + the extra storage room. There’s also the issue of your room having embarrassing journals from when you were 12 and a whole lot of other stuff you haven’t touched in years plus the extra stuff you accumulated throughout college. *This one probably doesn’t apply to everyone, but it was definitely an issue for me. 

While living with my parents has been an adjustment for sure, it’s been good. Most of what I’ve mentioned are the downsides, but there are so many upsides. I love getting to know my parents as a grown up. There’s a whole other dynamic to our relationship now that I’m old enough to take care of myself. My mom and I have Boggle game nights. Last week, I was sick, and I was able to whine to my mom. That’s probably the worst part about college: when you’re sick you have to take care of yourself and be a grown up. But if you live at home, you can act like a child when your sick. So it’s a struggle and a learning experience, but it’s definitely rewarding and fun.

Comment and let me know if you’ve had a similar experience moving back in with your parents. Did you have issues I didn’t mention? Let me know. I’d love to let you vent 🙂

Don’t forget to share if you know of anyone who needs to know this or would appreciate it!

Be on the lookout for the next tip in the Post Grad Guide next week. Let me know if you have any particular topic you’d like to talk about!

The Post Grad Guide is a series on entering the real world after graduation because it's a jungle out there

How to Succeed in College Without Really Trying

How to Succeed in College Without Really Trying

My college career has ended, and my little sister is preparing to leave for college, even though she’s still a baby who can’t be old enough for college. I’ve been reflecting on the things I’ve done during college. Some are things I am thankful for, while others are ones I wish I had been wise enough to avoid. So without further ado here are my tips to succeed in college.

  1. Find your place and find yourself

High school can be hard and limiting, socially. College, on the other hand, has a place for everyone. I found my place in the Mississippi State University Ballroom Dance Club and with the Baptist Student Union (BSU). BSU allowed me to grow spiritually and gave me the opportunity to do missions in Orlando for ten weeks. The ballroom club helped me get in shape, develop better posture (my posture used to drive my mom crazy!) and gave me something that makes me feel joy. I cannot imagine my life if I hadn’t had an RA who was involved with the club. Thanks Liz!

You don’t have to do these things but you should do something. If you wanna join a sorority, go for it. If you wanna be a member of the Brony Club, I won’t judge you. Well maybe a little but that’s the great thing about college. It’s the time to do what you what to do and say, “I don’t care what other people think. They can think I’m weird but I’m okay with that.” One day, my freshman year I wore a frilly pink shirt and pants with low heels and a headband that looks like it belongs to a medieval. I shamelessly told people that today was princess day and didn’t care if they thought I was weird, and it worked.

Both the BSU and dance club have given me opportunities to grow as a person and given me the opportunity to meet awesome people. In fact, I found my junior year roommates, Claire Cook and Krista Smith, through my family group at the BSU. Which leads me to my next point…

  1. Choose your roommates wisely

You don’t have to be best friends with the people you live with. You don’t even have to like them. But you do need to be able to live with them. If you like things to be clean, don’t live with your super fun but super messy friend, and, of course, vice versa. If you want a quiet home, live with your mellow friends. If you want home to always be exciting and fun, live with people who are lighthearted and fun. Basically, just figure out what you want home to feel like, and see who you know that fits in that. I don’t like to talk in the morning so I need roommates who understand why I seem moody at 7 a.m. They have to know I don’t hate them; I’m just not ready for the world yet.

However, I want to dispel a myth. It is totally possible to live with your best friend. I lived in a small dorm room with my best friend during my sophomore year. And you know what? She’s still my best friend. We had to be mature enough to let things go sometimes. But the only recurring issue was that she is hot-natured, and I’m cold-natured. There were times when I froze and she burned up, but we lived to tell the tale.

  1. Be a good roommate

It’s not all on them to make you comfortable. Living with people requires give and take. You may know their worst qualities but that just means they know yours as well. Keep that in mind and try to be someone easy to live with. If you have a problem, don’t be passive aggressive. Get it out in the open!

  1. Make friends with people in class and your major

My sophomore year I sat by a girl named Caroline Caver in Communication Theory, one of my favorite classes (Shout out to Dr. Nicholson). Eventually we worked together at Chickfila and ended up in a handful of classes together. Even though we didn’t hang out or anything, when I missed classes or couldn’t remember due dates, she’s someone I could rely on to help me out. There are a handful of other people that I always looked for on the first day of class or tried to pair up with during group projects. It’s always comforting to know there’s a classmate you can trust to proof your grammar (looking at you, Jake Jones!).

  1. Find someone a year or two ahead of you in your major

Seriously, this is one of the most important things that helped me. Through the BSU, I met Jamie Lott. Jamie was also getting a degree in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations, but Jamie was a year ahead of me. While we were both students at MSU, Jamie was constantly giving me advice about which teachers and classes to take. Even during my senior year, she was an invaluable help, always there to talk me off the ledge affectionately known as “PR Orgs.”

  1. Internships

Now, we come to the regrets. I was involved in a couple, low-key internships in college, but if I could start over now, I would definitely take off a summer and get an internship that gave me tons of experience even if it was unpaid. Looking for jobs is hard, and I wonder if I would have a better chance with more connections and more experience. Maybe things would be exactly the same for me, but who knows.

  1. Work out

Take advantage of the gym membership included in your tuition. Chances are this is a much nicer gym than anything you’ve used. It’s also a great stress reliever, and if you’re in college, you need stress relief. But more than that, get in the habit of being healthy and working out while you still have a decent metabolism. You will gain weight in college unless you make a real effort not to stay in shape or have super awesome metabolism and most of us don’t. Fun fact: you can’t eat a #1 from Chickfila every night in the Union and not gain weight. It’s just not possible.

  1. Get Involved

Wait, Jackie, didn’t you already cover this in point number one when you said “Find your place?”

Hold your horses! When I say get involved, I don’t mean you should be associated with just one or two organizations. College campuses have such a vast array of people and opportunities. The more involved you are, the people you meet. During my first BSU meeting at MSU, the president of MSU, Mark Keenum, spoke and said,

“Five years from now you will be the same person except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

So meet as many different people as you can. Meet and develop friendships with people that have opposing views or different backgrounds than you. It will make you a better person.

I loved BSU and ballroom dance club but if I could start over, being more involved is something else I would change. There were so many things I thought about doing but for whatever reason (some valid, some not), I didn’t, and who knows what I could have gained from that experience.

So to all you soon to be college freshman, especially Mikayla, go out and enjoy and succeed in college! I am here for you and rooting for you.

P.S. It’s ok if you change your major, and it’s ok if it takes more than four years to graduate. Seriously, a big percentage of people have to go an extra semester or two. It’s not the end of the world.

Hey people who’ve been there, done that, what advice did I leave out that would help someone else? Let me know in the comments!

Now, enjoy some of my favorite pictures from college including a lot of the people talked about in this post.

Mikayla and I as little girls. Can you say

Mikayla and I as little girls. Can you say “Best Friends Forever”

picture of me and both my sisters

Mikayla, Chandler and I when Mikayla graduated.

Hannah Peay, Kelsee McKim, Sarah Carpenter and Tessa Brennan were my amazing group members during Orgs class.

Hannah Peay, Kelsee McKim, Sarah Carpenter and Tessa Brennan were my amazing group members during Orgs class.

Roommate senior year:

Roommate senior year: “This is what slowly losing your mind looks like.” One of my great (and fun) roommates

Jamie and me at a super cold football game. She was my college mentor and one of my favorite people!

Jamie and me at a super cold football game. She was my college mentor and one of my favorite people!

Nandita is just one of the great friends I met thru ballroom dance. She's gorgeous, talented and super smart

Nandita is just one of the great friends I met thru ballroom dance. She’s gorgeous, talented and super smart

Carley was my kids club partner during summer missions.

Carley was my kids club partner during summer missions.

This little doll was one of the girls I bonded with during kids club. She's from Ireland, and I still miss her occasionally.

This little doll was one of the girls I bonded with during kids club. She’s from Ireland, and I still miss her occasionally.

Emily Pogue, my college sophomore roommate and best friend with me at a football game.

Emily Pogue, my college sophomore roommate and best friend with me at a football game.

This was before a football game with some of the sweet friends I made thru BSU. Erin Bristol/soon to be Alford, Emily Pogue, Anna Matheny and Kimbo (Kimberly if you wanna be proper) Keel

This was before a football game with some of the sweet friends I made thru BSU. Erin Bristol/soon to be Alford, Emily Pogue, Anna Matheny and Kimbo (Kimberly if you wanna be proper) Keel

I was such an awesome student they named a hall after me. Strangely enough it was for architects but I didn't argue

I was such an awesome student they named a hall after me. Strangely enough it was for architects but I didn’t argue

At orientation getting ID's with Chelsie Jackson. I always joke that I look as pale as a vampire here.

At orientation getting ID’s with Chelsie Jackson. I always joke that I look as pale as a vampire here.

Dancing the tango with DJ

Dancing the tango with DJ

Claire, Melanie and Jamie showing me how well they can stretch

Claire, Melanie and Jamie showing me how well they can stretch

This is one of my roommates, Emily Akers, looking super cool with a light saber

This is one of my roommates, Emily Akers, looking super cool with a light saber

My rock ministries family! I miss y'all!

My rock ministries family! I miss y’all!

Performed with these girls 3 times a week for a summer. Lots of bonding happened.

Performed with these girls 3 times a week for a summer. Lots of bonding happened.

Picture of a sunset and the American flag

Perfectly Imperfect

Perfectly Imperfect

 

This is why examining struggles are important

This is why examining struggles are important

Reading through my old blog posts, my heart began to hurt. My pride was hurt. My self identity was embarrassed.

“Here is Jackie Giles!” shouted my blog. ” She struggles with being content in Christ’s love, living in the present and dealing with loneliness.”

At first, I wanted to start over- get a clean break. Blog about my successes. Like when I got an “A” in a class I struggled in or when something good happened and I was genuinely thrilled which is something I don’t get often and show even less often or that one time I had a spark of creativity and put pictures in the shape of a heart on my wall and it looked GOOD.

But then I remembered why I blog. I remembered what I am called to do.

I do not generally write for the masses. I do not write to present myself in the best possible light. I am egotistical and conceited enough in my current state (and isn’t that what Instagram is for anyway?).

I am called to write about my weakness for in that, Christ’s perfect strength is made known.

So yes, I have struggles. And yes, many are the same struggles that I think I have overcome. But if I could get over something that easy, it wouldn’t be a struggle. It wouldn’t be called “dying to self.”

So yes, I have struggles. And I am unashamed.

My name is Jackie Giles. I do not have a 4.0 GPA. I am a little overweight. Sometimes, my inner voice cusses. I am judgmental. I am discontent with my wonderful life. I sin. I neglect my savior. I have asthma, chronic hives, mastocytic colitis, migraines, and probably a connective tissue disorder.

But that’s not all I am.

I am intelligent. I am witty and funny. I am strong. When a problem comes my way, I deal with it. I am, at times, wise. I have a great memory for people’s names and random facts. I have wonderful friends and family. I am truthful about my faults and I am dealing with my issues openly. And in our modern society that encourages perfectly posed snap shots of life, choosing to reveal your weakness is incredibly brave.

Maybe I will start talking about successes more, but one thing is for sure. The minute I start hiding my faults on here is the minute I quit being true to myself and my purpose.

I challenge you to live openly.IMG_3979.JPG

Advice for high school seniors

Ok so this could also be titled “Things I wish I’d known/grasped at 17.” But that’s become so cliche and plebian that I feel the need to have a less generic title. 

  1. It’s okay that if it’s January and you don’t what college you’re going to. It’s also okay if you’ve already graduated and it’s may and you still haven’t decided where you’re going.

I stressed my ENTIRE senior junior high school career about where I was going to college. Neither Meridian Community College nor Mississippi State University were on my list of dream colleges. I sat through a graduation ceremony without having enrolled in a college or scheduling classes. I survived and even thrived. 

  1. Community college doesn’t suck.

Okay, so maybe going to a community college sounds lame. I mean I want adventure in the great wide somewhere not to stay in this provincial town (GOOD MORNING BELLE!). Bonus points to anyone who got that BEFORE I added the parentheses. Back to the point, I understand not wanting to spend time at a 2 year institution. But you know what I understand more than that. Getting paid to go to college vs going in debt. You can go to community college and still enjoy yourself and make memories. Don’t listen to the snooty people who go straight off. Let them complain about student loans in 4 years while you can put that money in the bank. 

3. Don’t take 8 a.m. classes

While we’re on the subject classes at noon and night classes are pretty lame too. 8 a.m. WILL NOT BE as EASY in college as it was in high school. And I didn’t even think it was easy in high school. 

  1. You are not a second class citizen because you’re 17 and haven’t dated.

You also aren’t a second class citizen if you’re 21 and still haven’t gone on that first date. The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. (I’m pretty sure I’m quoting someone just not sure who or what). There are many reasons for why you aren’t dating now. Most of them are cliche but true. But what’s the big one? You just haven’t met the right person at the right time yet. Simple as that. While we’re on the subject, DON’T SETTLE. You deserve to be with someone you’re crazy about. Conversely, The person you could settle for deserves someone who is crazy about him/her. 

5. Revel in your first love

Okay, so here’s the deal. You’re first boyfriend WILL NOT be the person you marry. And guess what? That is completely okay. But you really should revel in that first love, nothing can go wrong feeling while you can. Make the memories worth the heartache of your first break up. Spend fifteen minutes in the driveway saying goodbye. Laugh. Be silly. Make the perfect gift. Be the annoying couple while you can because later you’ll know better than to shamelessly flirt with your s/o while others are around. 

6. Quit worrying.

Things will not go according your perfect plan. Also, just so you know, your “perfect plan” isn’t perfect. Believe it or not, everything will be okay. Quit stressing about the future. It doesn’t need you to worry about it.

7. DO.

Do something new and adventurous. Learn to crochet. Or ballroom dance. Or speak another language. Start cooking for yourself- like real meals not ramen noodles all the time. Do crazy pinterest projects. Now is the time to create and find yourself. Figure out what you like and do it. Now is also the time you can get experience for free or cheap. And saving the best for last…

8. Realize that life is about relationships and experiences not material possessionsImage