Tag Archives: moving

The Return of Rachel

The best possible thing ever happened this week. My best friend, Rachel (name changed, obvi), moved to the city I live in to start grad school. Anybody would be excited to have their best friend join them, but knowing our past makes it all the more special.

Rachel and I met when we were five years old. We went to the same day camp and we had the same lunch box. Match made in heaven, right? Our moms set up a play date for us and got to talking and realized that we went to the same elementary school. Awesome! After that, we were pretty inseparable. We coordinated our Halloween costumes, we decorated each other’s rooms, and as we got older we spent WAY too much time at each other’s lockers.

We haven’t lived in the same town (let alone the same state) since we were seventeen. We went to different colleges and then worked in different cities. I went to grad school, she went to Europe. Now she’s back and I AM SO EXCITED!! I’ve already got plans to help her build some Ikea furniture. I know that doesn’t sound like fun, but I’ve never lived close enough to help her with anything like that before!

Like…this excited.

Of course every so often I have to come down from cloud nine and remember that we are both VERY busy people so it won’t be just like high school…I have my job and she has grad school. With RA training right around the corner, we’ve already had issues finding time we both had free to get together. I already have friends and obligations on my side of the city and I’m sure she will wind up with those things on her side of the city as well!

I always get slightly jealous of my friends that live in the same city as each other. I know it was my choice to take a job in a city where I knew nobody and I’ve done okay making friends, but that doesn’t stop me from being excited about Rachel’s return!!

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Junior League

This time last year, I was in pretty rough place. I had just moved to a city in the Northeast where I knew NOBODY. For the first time since kindergarten, I was no longer a student. It was a lot to deal with and I didn’t have anybody to deal with it with.

I had started writing this blog right around the same time I moved here. In those first few weeks, I was very adamant about keeping to student affairs-related topics, but in time decided to write some more personal things in here too. I couldn’t be the only person whose life wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies after graduation. I started chatting with some of my friends about it, but found it difficult, as many had moved to cities where they already had friends. The ones who didn’t worked for large companies that were filled with all sorts of employees close in age to them. They’d have company-sponsored happy hours and go to ball games together. Meanwhile I was just going home after work and watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.

Finally, I caved. I used my blog to figure out how grown ups exist in the real world. Like many posts, I asked for readers to give their input. I hadn’t gotten many comments. In fact, I still haven’t gotten many comments. But on this particular day, one reader decided to comment and told me about Junior League. It’s not that I hadn’t heard of Junior League before, but I imagined it to be full of rich housewives. In fact, I even posted that in a follow up. But this reader insisted that it wasn’t like that. And I decided to give it a shot.

I did some research first. Some Junior Leagues have age restrictions. Some require that you have a sponsor – a member that can vouch for you. Others say that you have to have a sponsor but then say not to worry if you don’t, you’ll just get paired with somebody. I found contact information for the League in my area. They did not require a sponsor or have any other sort of requirements, aside from being female and over 18. I decided to venture out and see what it was all about.

What did I find? Being in Junior League was like being in a big girl sorority. You had a new member period. You had to do volunteer work. There were happy hours and social events. There was an executive board. Most of the members had joined because they were new to the area and wanted to meet people. A lot of the members had even been in sororities in college! One time we joked that a happy hour was more like an alum Panhellenic meeting!

There were times when it was hard. Work got busy, but I had volunteered to be a committee head for our new member project. I almost thought about stepping down, especially when I was having problems with other group members not doing their share of the work. In the end, I decided not to. I had never been a quitter before. In college when things got rough, what did I do? I joined my sorority. At my previous job, I had an incredibly hard time balancing my job with school and my required internship, but I kept going. If I hadn’t, I would have never landed the job I have now. Our new member project wound up being a huge success and the executive board members loved it!

In May came the moment of truth. Not only was our new member period over, but we were going to find out what committees we had been selected to join. Originally I had one thing in mind, but after learning more about the other committees, I was open to not getting my first choice. In the end I wound up getting my first choice – New Member Committee. From a sorority standpoint, it’s a mix between recruitment and new member education. We’ve had a few committee meetings now and I’ve got some tasks lined up for summer.

If you are a female that’s in the same boat as me, I definitely recommend checking out the Junior League chapter in your area. It’s been an absolute blast and I have loved getting involved with something in my city that’s not work!

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Moving Home

As a young adult, the idea of visiting home sounds wonderful. Family, friends, HBO that I’m not paying for, FREE MEALS…seriously. It’s like a vacation minus the hotel and airfare. When I was in college, I LOVED going home for weekends…maybe a little too much at first. Even now I try to make it home for big events and I still try to see as many people as possible in a short three day weekend.

However…the idea of MOVING HOME?? That had me running and screaming in the other direction. I had spent most of my life and most of college thinking that I’d finish college and move into my own apartment or at the very least an apartment with friends.

This seems like an accurate representation of what I thought my twenties would be like from the ages of…oh….ten to twenty-one.

Except…just like the “Friends” theme song…no one told me how life was going to be this way. Once I graduated college, I had a part time job lined up, but it wasn’t enough to cover rent my security deposit and I was completely SOL.

It actually started a few weeks before I graduated. My mom called. WAIT. No, no, no. This story starts MUCH further back than that.

Part of the reason I didn’t want to move home after graduation was that my family was VERY strict. I distinctly remember my first only summer home during college. The summer actually started off easier than it ended. During dinner, I told my mom I was going to hang out with one of my friends after she got out of work. “Be home by eleven,” was her response. “But mom…she doesn’t get out of work until 10:30.” “Well, I guess you two won’t be seeing each other tonight then!” “Mom, I’m supposed to pick her up from work. She had someone drop her off because those were our plans.” My mom finally agreed that I could go get her (you know because we’re nice people and all) but that I couldn’t hang out afterwards. It was too late. This seemed absolutely archaic to me after nearly an entire year of not having to follow any rules. At school, we wouldn’t even LEAVE for some parties until after eleven. By the end of summer, my 11:00 pm curfew included the computer. I might have gotten in more trouble for calling my house Guantanamo Bay at one point…oops. By the time August rolled around, I was looking for any excuse to move back to school early. After that summer, I didn’t go home for anything longer that a four day break until graduation.

So…back to where I was. It was a few weeks before graduation. My mom called. “When are you moving home?” I laughed. Out loud. While on the phone. “Mom, I’m not moving home, I have a job here. I have an apartment I can stay at. By the way, can I have $1200?” It’s really hard to convince a parent that you are a grown up in the same sentence that you’re asking for money. And that is the story of how I wound up moving home. I was not happy about it. I was dreading the rules and the boredom. Back then there weren’t blogs or advice articles on how to handle this because my graduating class was the start of the wave of students moving home due the recession. My solution was to spend as much time as I could AWAY from home which didn’t exactly please my rule-loving mother. But, as you probably know from reading other posts here, I eventually found my way to grad school, moved out, and got a big girl job.

What can you do if you’re moving home?

Whether you are moving home for the summer or heading back after graduating, there are a few things you can do to make your life (and your parents’ lives) easier.

Have a nice, sit-down discussion about rules. What is a reasonable time that you should be home? Who might be allowed or NOT allowed to spend the night in your room? Do you need to call home with your plans? Certain families are much more relaxed than others. Also, your life situation might be MUCH different than when you last lived at home. Asking a parent if a significant other can stay over in your room while you’re in high school is laughable in most homes. (Granted, it’s still laughable in mine, but that’s another story) In college, your boyfriend or girlfriend might have spent the night with you loads of times. Your parents might tell you that he or she can’t stay in your room. Yes, it sucks, but you know what? I’m not even going to fight that one any more because I know they aren’t budging. I did eventually break my mom down on the curfew…after I graduated I had to come home “when the bars close”. Good thing I live on the border…2 am closing time on one side, 4 am on the other. Sorry not sorry.

Know what’s expected of you. Do you have to help with any chores around the house or baby sit for your younger siblings? Do your parents need help with the rent or paying any bills? Even if your parents tell you that they don’t want your money or your help, offer from time to time! Make dinner for the family one night or help out with raking the leaves. I bought my parents something they had wanted for awhile but didn’t really have the extra money for. Another time, I surprised them by paying their bill at a restaurant.

Find something to do. I had lost touch with my home friends so while I was home, I really had nothing to do. I wound up joining a gym and eventually creating a new friend group consisting of old and new friends. If you’ve been gone for awhile, it’s really like moving to a new city.

Lastly, come up with some sort of timeline. If you’re just moving home for the summer, that’s pretty simple. You’re going back to school. If you’re moving home with no end date in sight…that’s a different story. Once you have a job, set a goal for yourself! You will save $X per month so you can get your own place in Y months. Tell your parents this goal so they can help in any way they can, whether it’s looking for apartments, finding furniture, or even helping you move!

What advice do you have for those moving home?

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The New Normal

Remember how in elementary school when you got a new kid in your class, for the longest time they would be known as “the new kid”? Well, at some point they stopped being the new kid and by the time you’re in high school, you can’t imagine your class without that person. Or maybe you were the new kid. And eventually you stopped referring to it as “my new house” and just started calling it “home”.

Except Gus…he’s always the new kid.

A big joke for me is “when do I get to stop saying I’m new here?” Even though PDFM U is rather small, I’m constantly meeting people that don’t know who I am, whether it’s a student, staff member, or a national Greek organization representative. I know someday I won’t have to tell people that I’m the new blah blah blah, but I’m sure by that point I’ll be about to move onto my next job and the poor soul that takes my job will be the new kid.

However, this place has started to feel like home. I’ve caught myself referring to my apartment as “home”. There’s been a few times where I’ve wanted to do something here, but because I wasn’t on call, I had already made plans to flee the state.

There have been other signs of all this becoming normal. I have a hair salon here. That probably sounds completely normal, but up until last month, I was driving over two hours to my old hair salon. So I have a hair salon and a regular grocery store. Normal, local things.

I also am starting to navigate my way around without a GPS. When I first moved to Grad School State, I swear I used my GPS for the first six months just to get to the grocery store. And it’s not like I’m just going to places I always go. I look at an address and realize it’s near some place I know and just say YOLO and get in the car and go. There’s only been a few times that I’ve had to have my faithful assistant, Siri, rescue me.

When did you start to feel at home in your job or new city?

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Getting Out There

I hate change. There. I said it. Some people would be so happy to throw a dart at a map and travel to wherever it lands. Nope. Not me. I’m honestly getting tired of moving every two years. I’m tired of getting to new places and having to find a new hair dresser, a new dry cleaner, a new dentist, etc.

One problem is I don’t know how to make friends “like a grown up”. Any time I started a new school, I was instantly surrounded by kids my own age. There were not enough tables or seats on the bus to sit by myself. It was almost like I made friends by default. I didn’t have to put effort into it.

I didn’t even realize that I didn’t know how to make friends until after the first year of grad school. I was doing these orientation presentations every day with a girl who looked close to my age and we would chat and finally one day I asked if she wanted to hang out. I felt so nervous, like I was asking her on a date or something. That was how I made my first grown up friend. Unfortunately we now live six hours apart from each other.

I was talking with one of my friends the other night about how he put himself out there and made friends when he moved a year ago. Now, he’s already at a better starting point than me because he’s brave. He transferred to a new school, got involved right away, and once he was initiated into his fraternity, proceeded to friend EVERYBODY in Greek Life at our school on Facebook. I have seen what this man is capable of. When he moved last year, he quickly joined some sports leagues. I don’t play sports, but honestly, I didn’t realize they made sports leagues for grown ups. Maybe some of you readers learned something today.

We also talked about joining a church. I joined a church last year because I really really really missed singing. Joining the choir at this church didn’t lead to me making any friends because most of the members were in the age range of my grandparents. I thought about joining a church here and joining choir, but if I’m on call, I might not be able to go, and if I’m not on call, I’m probably not in town. My friend is also thinking of joining a church by him. He can’t exactly go home on weekends he is free since that involves a plane ride.

I’ve also been trying to make friends with people at work. I work at a really small college and there are only two others in my department. Both are from this area so they have family, friends, and significant others within a thirty minute drive. There’s a few people that I’ve asked to hang out, but every time I do, I feel like this little guy is in my brain repeating this:

So lovely and wonderful readers. How have you done it? How have you made friends after moving?

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