Category Archives: Life After College

You’re Not Always Right

I am currently on fall break. That is one thing about my job/career field I wi never complain about since I get holidays, random breaks, and summers off. Am I usually still working during those times? Yes, but in sweatpants, with kitties, and SATC on my tv. After 5pm, probably with a glass of wine as well.
However, I’m dreading going back to work on Thursday. (Yes, I only have classes/teach in Tues/Thurs this semester, but believe me that those days are killer and was not my original choice.)
It’s not the amount of student papers I will be getting back or the amount of reading I am behind on for my classes or the fact that I still haven’t finished y thesis outline.
None of that is fun, but I did that to myself.
No, I’m dreading it because I seem to work in a department where everyone else is right all the time. They even know what I like and what I’m thinking or what my opinion on something is.
I should just hire them to write this damned thesis and be done with it, since they seem to know everything .
Granted, I think this happens in most grad programs. Put a bunch of smart people together and they feel the need to be “right”.
But this goes beyond discussions of authors and critical theories and interpretations. They like to tell me I’m just wrong on what I donor don’t like.
For one, my focus is on contemporary and late 20th century lit. It’s fascinating and bonus, not many people have written on them so I don’t have to wad through 70 years of criticism to see if my idea is original or been explored before. It’s what I love and think is important.
But I also understand and respect people that study and love the classics and earlier literature. I know it all has value. Doesn’t mean it’s what I want to do, buy I’m not going to put down anyone else’s preference for century.
But I don’t get the same respect. I, for one, don’t like Jane Austen. I just don’t. But I get argued with that in wrong.
Yeah, my opinion is wrong.
Not trying to enlighten me on how she is relevant today or how her character development can draw you in.
No, I’m just wrong.
Downton Abbey? Same thing.
Drinking 5 nights a week? I’m just boring.
Coffee early in the morning? What’s wrong with me?
The fact that my husband and I choose to spend on our money on us and our home instead of blowing it as soon as I get a paycheck at Target and the bars? Wrong. (Someone actually told me that I was dumb for preferring to spend myomeres on date nights with Mr. A instead of buying new clothes every month. Yeah…)
And I’m just so effing tired of it all.
This is one reason I no longer hangout with a certain group of people because I was tired of having to agree with the ringleader all the time, even when I didn’t, or knew for a 100% fact that she was wrong.
I’m an adult. Adults can disagree yet remain respectful and still be friends.
Apparently this concept escapes many of my fellow TAs and it makes me insane.
And don’t even get me started on political arguments discussions. I got caught in the middle of one already and I know it’s just going to get worse as the election draws nearer. I may start hiding and working in the bathroom.
Too bad our secretary insists on continuing conversations with you as you are in the stall. Awkward.
Since I’m already swarmed and stressed, I think I’ll take a page from the obnoxious undergrads and start wearing headphones but have the music so loud that everyone else can hear. At least I won’t have to hear them tell me my taste in music sucks.

* excuse any typos. Written on my phone.

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Filed under Grad School?, Life After College, Working Girl, WTF

Full Moon?

Today has been a weird one to say the least.

I woke up around 9 (Yes. I have MWF off. I like to sleep, so I slept in. Yes, I live like an undergrad. Might as well while I still can).

About 9:30, my dad called. He told me that he would be in town for work and that he would be free around 4 and wanted to stop by. It was fine with me, but we had laundry everywhere, dishes in the sink, hadn’t dusted in weeks. Last week kicked both of our butts and this weekend did not go as planned, so house hold things got put on the back burner.

So I freaked out because my dad is a bit of a neat freak. His house is usually always in good order and I didn’t want to hear comments about me slacking as a wife or whatever.

I had planned on spending today lesson planning. Instead, I did 5 loads of laundry, scrubbed the kitchen, vacuumed, hand vacuumed the steps, dusted the entire apartment, straightened up the place, folded 5 loads of laundry and put everything away. No idea why, but it did take me all day and our apartment isn’t that big.

But while I was doing all of that, Mr. A had a big important lunch meeting and I was anxiously awaiting his call.

When he did, I wanted to scream from the roof tops out of joy!

Why you ask? Because Mr. A got the internship for the spring!!!

SO MUCH EXCITEMENT.

He will be doing actual attorney things and it can very well lead to a job, or at very leas, a fellowship next summer while waiting on bar exam results and such. And he will be making fantastic connections and I am so effing proud of him. He works so so hard, but hasn’t always had the best of luck with some things panning out, so I couldn’t be happier that this worked out for him and I know it is a HUGE weight off of his shoulders.

He will be living at one of my parents’ houses and I should be able to make my schedule Tues/Thurs so if I want to go go or he comes down, I will have Fri-Mon. Also, he will only be 2 hours away, and knowing how wonderful this opportunity is, I will make the sacrifice for a semester.

So that was amazing, but of course we got some more bad news about his dad, so it was hard to balance being out of my mind excited, but also dealing with that drama.

But then my dad showed up and this was the first time he has seen this apartment, so I am happy that Mr. A and I have been working on making it more of a home for the last year and it doesn’t look completely like a college apartment.

Now, my family is one that doesn’t really talk about finances beyond “You should be saving your money”. I have no clue how much my dad makes or what his financial situation is. I have a rough idea what my mom makes, but not much more than that.

So when my dad started asking us what our student loan situation was, I was a little confused and kind of waiting for a lecture on it all.

But then the conversation quickly turned to how many miles were on my car and all of that. Now, I drive a 12 year old Toyota that has over 230,000 miles on it. Yeah. That’s a lot. It was my mom’s before me and when she gave it to me in 2005, it had roughly 80,000 on it, but I was going to school three hours away and made trips home fairly frequently, so the miles racked up rather quickly. 

Long story short, my stepsister is taking her mom’s car that is a 2012, I’m taking her car that only has like 65,000 miles on it and is a very reliable car, and any money we can get for mine will go towards paying for the car since hers would have some value if they decided to sell it. Eventually, we’ll pay my dad back for the car, but he put off us paying for a little over a year, and should circumstances prevent us from being able to afford it, he said we’d work it out.

I’ll be cleaning out my car tomorrow and hope is to list it by this weekend and hopefully by next week I will have a new car!!! (Or new to me, but anything is better than mine at this point.)

And the other weird part of yesterday?

Remember when I told you guys that Mr. A and I decided to go on a cruise over Christmas break since it will be our last break together?

He gets a text message last night from a good friend (and those of you that know me IRL can easily figure out who this person is, but PLEASE do not say anything about it either to him or on FB because it isn’t being publically announced just yet, but bc of logistical issues, we were told. Again, trusting you folks.). Mr. A then asked me when our cruise was, but wouldn’t tell me why he was asking.

When I told him the date, he got a strange look on his face and then proceeded to tell me that his good friend had set his wedding date for during our cruise.

Not only just set a wedding date, but the wedding will be in India.

I’ll let you soak that in for a minute.

……………

This guy was one of our groomsmen and has been a friend of Mr. A’s for a very long time. So Mr. A needs to go, but we can’t really afford for both of us, just with flights alone. So Mr. A and his other good friend (who were best men for each other’s weddings) are implementing the buddy system. Neither wife is going as a way to save some money. But believe me, Mr. A has been told he needs to be bringing me back some sweet stuff from India.

But what about the cruise?

Well if he gets to go to India, I am surely still going on my cruise. I decided to ask my MIL if she would be interested/would be able to go because she is a lot of fun and I’m sure I could handle being with her for 6 days for a beach filled vacation. She said she would check and last night she sent me a text saying that I had a cruise buddy and that she would be working on passport paperwork this morning.

SO. Yesterday was just bizarre. So many weird, but good things going on and this next year will be a bit of a whirlwind.

Now to just hope and pray and cross fingers and toes that next year we both have jobs and that we aren’t unemployed and living in a box. Because we all know I need my hair straightener and access to twitter. ;o)

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Filed under A little More About Me, Life After College, Married Life, Things I Love

Dancing the Liberal Line

So, this might make people mad. Who knows. But I believe people should be able to disagree and be nice about it. And this has been bugging me for a while, so I’m blogging about it. Just like I blog about nearly everything else in my life.

I am in a very liberal department. I think most English/literature departments are probably the same. It comes from looking beyond what is right in front of us to the meanings behind everything. We look for connections and motivations and reasons.

I would also consider myself to be pretty liberal, especially with social issues. I believe in equality for all, not just those that fit into a box that some people feel everyone should fall into. It’s something I’ve always believed and worked hard to demonstrate in my own life.

That being said, I also feel that some people get their panties in a bunch over nothing. Some people feel the need to find an argument or a fight in nothing. Also, people are fully capable of disagreeing about a topic, but still being respectful and considerate. A thoughtful discussion can happen with the understanding that neither party is trying to tell the other that they are wrong or trying to persuade the other to change their opinion. I love discussions like that. Discussing ideas and opinions and ideologies in a respectful manner.

However, in my department, many of my colleagues seem to believe that we should all think and act in the same way.

In my department, I’m a bit of an outlier.

See, I don’t fit the typical liberal master’s student mold.

Many that I am in school with equate liberal with feminist. And in a lot of ways, I agree with many of the feminist ideals. Equality. Reproductive rights. Not being forced into stereotypical social positions simply based on gender.

But I don’t seem to garner the same respect.

I married young, which tends to go against the ideas a lot of my classmates have. A lot of them don’t want to get married or tend to put their nose in the air when they find out that I married at 23.

Also, I want kids. I have always wanted to be a mom at some point. But I believe that I am also in a field that will allow me to be a mom and have a career that I love. As a college professor, I will get a whole lot more freedom in arranging my schedule so that I can still be with and raise my kids.

I also want a house with a yard. I want to be able to paint walls and hang things up and if I screw something up, not being terrified that my landlord is going to be pissed. I won’t be happy that I messed it up, but then I can fix it, or not, because the house will be mine.

For some reason, I’m the odd man out. Last year, I can’t even count the number of times that I was made fun of by “friends” when these topics would come up. I quickly learned that I would not be able to discuss these things with these people without being ridiculed both to my face, and more than likely, behind my back.

However, the most recent barrage of loaded questions and side glances is that of what I’m not doing right now.

I’m not applying for PhD programs.

You see, my husband and I graduate next May. As many of you know, the legal job market isn’t great. A lot of job markets pretty much suck right now, but the legal one seems to really be struggling. So many young people went to law school because they didn’t know what else to do, so there is an influx of lawyers in a job market that was hit just as hard as anyone else.

Because of this, I’m not applying for PhD programs since we have NO CLUE where we will be living next year. We don’t know where Mr. A will be getting a job and how much he will be making or how long it will take us to get settled.

So, I’m making the smart and, in my mind, commonsensical decision to hold off. I don’t want to apply to some school, love it and get my hopes up, to only find out that my husband got a job 3 states over.

I have no problem holding off a year, waiting to see where we will be, then applying for schools in the area. I will get more time to take the GRE and really decide where I want to go. I get to apply for jobs and hopefully get a bit of a break from being a student and just work for once. Only have work responsibilities and not also stressing over papers and such.

But to the super liberals in my department, I am an alien. Also, I apparently don’t care about feminist issues and only wanted an MRS degree since I’m waiting to see where Mr. A’s career takes us.

If I hear one more time, “Well why doesn’t he follow you?” or “Why can’t he find a job where you get into a PhD program?” I might scream.

Had I been in a program that say only 5 schools in the country had, then Mr. A would be all about looking for jobs in those places.

Because we support each other 100%.

But I’m not. Most big or decent size schools have my program. Possibly even close schools would allow me to do it via the internet. So I’m waiting.

I don’t even like to call it compromising because I don’t feel that I am giving up a thing. This is what I want. I’m in a very supportive marriage. My husband was the one pushing me to do this and will do what he has to in order to make sure that I get to finish out my program, like I want to.

Just because I’m not immediately moving from my master’s into my PhD, doesn’t mean that I’ve reverted to a 1950s housewife that cleans in pearls and has dinner on the table at 6pm every night and is satisfied with a slap on the ass as my thank you.

That’s not me. That’s not the woman Mr. A married and it’s not at all the wife he wants. He likes that I have career ambitions and am educated and am not satisfied yet, that I’m striving for more.

I just hate that apparently I can’t have a career and thoughts AND a family. Why do those have to be separate things? Why can’t I have both without feeling like I am on the defensive all the time? Why can’t I give them a hard time for moving straight into the next program, for sleeping around, for never wanting to own a property because “it’s so much easier for someone else to be responsible for it”, for never wanting kids?

That’s right. Because I am a believer in each person doing what is right for them. One of my good friends never wants kids, so maybe I don’t send her pictures of cute/funny kid things I find, but she also jokes about kidnapping me for girls’ nights once I do have a baby. I know she will be happy for us, but I also won’t try to push my ideas about motherhood on her. To be honest, I will be happy to have a friend that doesn’t want to talk about breastfeeding and poopy diapers.

I just want some mutual respect for my life decisions. I’m not out doing heroine or stealing things or hurting others. I’m following my dreams, and those dreams comingle a career and a family life.

Sorry for the rant. I’m just so aggravated with all of this right now and I just want to feel like I’m doing the right thing. I KNOW I am. But I hate feeling like I have to defend it or that I’m being talked about since I’m not out at the bars 4 nights a week.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Grad School?, Life After College, Married Life

Brain Dump

I was going to write this long post about the first week of teaching and all that, but then I have turned into some super emotional dork today and can’t seem to focus on one subject, so here is a little bit of everything.

* I know I’ve discussed it, and I know my friend it perfectly fine with it, but I am still SUPER upset that I can’t be at my BFF’s wedding tomorrow. Like, could make me cry.

* So I of course sent her a super sappy text message this morning. She’s going to think I’m nuts. But hopefully she and her new husband will enjoy the flowers I have ordered to be put in their honeymoon suite tomorrow night.

* The wedding I WILL be at this weekend…eh.

* I don’t know anyone except people in the wedding party, so I get to sit by myself at the ceremony and then be at a table with people I don’t know for the reception. I’m realizing more and more how un-needed I was for this weekend and should have gone to my friend’s wedding.

* BUT G was our best man and is like a brother so I didn’t really have a choice. Stupid grown up decisions…

* BUT, BUT: did you hear?? The groomsmen’s tuxes have RUFFLED SHIRTS. GUYS. RUFFLES. And it’s not 1970. This hilarity of this might make this weekend worthwhile.

* And yes, I WILL have pictures of this and I will just crop out Mr. A’s head.

* Also, there should be super amazing food and drinks. And for the guests, that’s really what weddings are about, right?!

* So, first week of teaching has gone well. I love teaching juniors and seniors. They actually try and don’t want to fail. They also will answer questions and think about things. It’s wonderful.

* Their first assignment is to analyze a political cartoon and I am getting some awesome cartoons in since they had to get them approved. I think these papers are going to be awesome. (Or, at least I hope so…)

* If our secretary doesn’t get off her power trip, I might lose it. The end.

* I didn’t realize until last night, but my dress for tonight’s rehearsal dinner and my dress for the wedding tomorrow are both dark blue. This is what happens when I can’t wear the pretty cream dresses I found since, you know, I’m not the bride and I know I would have been a little miffed it someone wore cream/white/ivory to any of my events.

* I want a puppy. In a bad way. I can’t stop looking at adoption sites. They are so adorable.

* Also, it hit me this week that Mr. A will be applying for his first choice of job type in the next two months. And the selection boards are in October. We might know whether he gets this certain type of job by the end of the year. IN LIKE 6 MONTHS!!!! Craziness. I just hope it all works out.

* I might need some meds to get me through the next 6 months because I am a super planner, but I also get my hopes up and if it doesn’t work, then we are back in limbo and looking for firm or other types of jobs and then I’ll be even more stressed since I won’t have a freaking clue where we will be living.

* Yeah…I will probably have a lot to blog/vent/rant about in the next year. Get ready. My 4 weeks of calm summer vacation are over and now all the shiza is about to hit the fan.

 

OKay. I’ve obviously had a lot of coffee since I wrote this in about 15 minutes. Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll keep you updated on those ruffled shirt pictures. ;o)

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Filed under Brain Dump, Life After College, Married Life

Wedding Stress

And if you’ve been around for a while, you know it’s not my wedding.

Which might make this even more stressful because, come on, someone else’s wedding shouldn’t be stressing me out more than my own did.

But then again, so many people commented that I was the most laid back bride they had ever met, so maybe my judgment of this is off.

However, Mr. A’s best friend is getting married next weekend. G was the best man at our wedding and is like a brother to me. I love him and Mr. A and I would do anything he asked because we know he would do, and has done, the same. Mr. A and G were friends in the womb as they are only six months apart and they are so very close.

That being said, this wedding has been a source of stress for Mr. A and I. The biggest issue? The cost.

G doesn’t act like it, but he comes from…well…a lot of money. Like…not fully comprehensible amounts of money.

I’m not one to talk about finances, especially someone else’s, but it’s important to understand so you can understand why we are feeling so much pressure.

As you know, Mr. A and I are both still students. We live off my small income and student loans.

G did some awesome things for Mr. A as his best man, so of course we wanted to return the favor. I pretty much gave Mr. A free reign as to how much could be spent on G’s bachelor party because I knew Mr. A wanted to do something special and that G would enjoy.

Well, we’re still paying for that 6 day extravaganza. And I didn’t even get a t-shirt, damnit.

They have had two engagement parties thrown for them, both cocktail attire, so that required two different dresses because this girl doesn’t typically go to fancy events, so I didn’t have dresses to wear.

Since Mr. A is the best man and many of the guests at these events, and the wedding, are important people, so I am feeling even more pressure to dress accordingly and to not look like an amateur. Doesn’t help that I’m not a size 2 and am picky about how dresses should look on me.

Then there is the issue of a wedding gift.

I have a thing for giving good gifts and I will stress over anyone’s gift because I want to give some special and thoughtful, but also something that I know they will love. For this one, I’ve also had this looming feeling of needing it to be “big”. G went above and beyond for ours and I don’t want to look cheap or something.

Yes, G knows our situation and even said he didn’t expect us to get them a gift after everything else that we’ve done, but there isn’t a chance in hell that we aren’t giving them a gift.

I had some good and creative ideas, but Mr. A doesn’t think we need to spend a lot of money. As a boy, he just isn’t seeing the issue as I am.

We finally settled on buying them all of their bath towels since no one else has and I plan on adding some bath salts and candles to the package to add some thought. It’s a little on the boring side for my taste, but we couldn’t afford anything else on their registry and Mr. A didn’t like my original ideas, so at least they are getting something for their own future home.

And we haven’t even gotten to the wedding!

I still haven’t fully decided on a dress for rehearsal dinner. I ordered one from RueLaLa and if it shows up on time, I’ll wear it, otherwise I’ll figure out something from what I have. I had to buy a nice, more formal dress for the wedding, so I don’t want to buy yet another dress that I won’t get to wear often. At least the RueLaLa one I can wear to teach and such.

But then the wedding itself.

Unlike mine where G’s fiance came with us for pictures beforehand since I had all guys in my wedding party, they have 8 groomsmen and 8 bridesmaids. They do not need another person tagging along. So I get to spend all day on my own. This isn’t really a problem, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me until last week since she came with us for all of ours.

Also not occurring to me? I won’t be sitting with Mr. A at the reception. He will, of course, be at the head table.

Well, all of the people I know and am friends with at this wedding, are IN the wedding. Again, since we only have 4 people in our entire wedding party, we had their dates/significant others sit with us at the head table since we knew everyone and it was a blast. 

No idea who they are going to seat me with and I am terrible with small talk.

So while I was initially really excited for this wedding, I just want the damn thing to be over with already. It’s basically an entire weekend spent in Mr. A’s hometown, without Mr. A.

Hey, at least I get to have my hair done and I can drink as much as I want since no one will be watching me.

Mr. A owes me. Big time. I think I deserve a beach trip. You know, after we pay off all this wedding business.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Life After College, What to do?

Frequent Flier Miles

These next six months are definitely going to earn me some frequent flier miles, as well as make our checking account cry.

Typically, I might go somewhere new or exciting once in a year. Between January and September, I will visit 3 states that I’ve never been to, (and at least one repeat trip to WI), a trip to Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis, and Kentucky. LOTS of travelling.

A few weeks ago I went to visit a twitter friend in Wisconsin. (HI R!!) And while I didn’t fly, it was a 7 hour car ride, each direction, but oh so very very worth it. We had a blast and it was like we had known each other for years. And she has the cutest pregnant belly ever.

I applied, and was accepted to present, at a conference in Boston. I was SUPER honored and now very nervous, but I know that as a grad student, it’s very important to present at conferences and I can’t wait to maybe meet some famous authors too!

Today I got approval both from my boss and department chair for a second conference in Orlando. I’m not presenting, but no less than 15 of the panels fit into my thesis topic PERFECTLY. So after talking with Mr. A, we decided that since I want to start reading for and writing my thesis this summer, I needed to go. (He’s so wonderful and understanding and supportive. I think I shall keep him.)

And these conferences are 2 weeks apart. Guess my students will have a lot of in class work days while I’m gone.

After Boston, we have a wedding of close friends to go to. Then Mr. A’s best friend’s wedding (which will involve rehearsal dinner and such). I just got an email about a bachelorette party out of town a couple weeks after that. I will get a month in one place before school starts back and then we have yet another wedding. Mr. A is in 2 out of 3 of these. So lots of showers, bachelor parties, rehearsal dinners, and weddings. I’m thrilled for all of them since they are very close friends, but SO.MANY.EVENTS.

And those are just the places that I am going. Mr. A has bachelor parties in other cities, one of which he’s in charge of planning, and who knows where he might be this summer for internships and such.

I plan on making the best of all these travels. I’ve never been to Boston, so I can’t wait to just walk around and see all the old cemeteries and historic buildings. Might even try to go to a Red Sox game. (I’ve been told wearing a Cards jersey to that won’t go over so well. Maybe I’ll just wear red and they won’t know the difference.)

I now need someone that owns an airline to either adopt me or just give me some free flights because HOLY COW flights are expensive. It’s insane.

Lottery ticket, anyone?

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Filed under Grad School?, Life After College, Things I Love

Strik Update

I wanted to give you all a quick update on what’s going on.

The TA uni@n, along with 2 others set tentative agreements at 4 am this morning. Which means the union that represents me, would not be on strik.

However, the tenure f@culty uni@n did not settle. These people are fighting for tenure, and while I don’t always agree with tenure, in this position, I do.

Our faculty are irreplaceable and THEY are what makes or breaks a university.

So this afternoon, a few of my friends and I stood on the picket lines, alongside our professors and showed our support and let them know that most of the people in the university are behind them.

I’m not completely out of the woods since the agreement is tentative, but hopefully it all gets resolved soon.

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Filed under Grad School?, Life After College, Teaching in College