Life After Undergrad: A heartfelt farewell

The time has arrived City Tech, not only is it graduation time it is also my last blog with The Buzz. I started with The Buzz two years ago in January of 2016 and it has been an amazing ride. I was so honored to be considered for a position with the schools blog and I have grown so much in the time I’ve been here not only as a writer but as a person. I have met so many amazing people and been able to attend really interesting events and conferences. Most of all though, I made lifelong friends. My current cohort of fellow bloggers is all female and they are so empowering and fierce. I thank them for being so amazing, supportive and all around kick ass females!

I thank Professor Belli, for recommending me for this position so many semesters ago and always believing in my abilities. I thank Syelle, for being so down to earth and fun to be around always encouraging us girls to reach for the stars. I thank Professor Rosen, for always offering advice and ideas to stretch our abilities as writers. I also want to thank all the other people who have come and gone from our team over the past two years, you have all encouraged me in so many ways.

I have always loved to write but being able to have a platform to express myself and make my voice heard, is priceless. I am so proud of the work I have done here and I will always reference my time and experience here in all my future endeavors. This is Samantha, signing off.

Life After Undergrad: How I stopped absorbing other people’s negative energy

I have always been the kind of person who loves to help others. I am a sucker for a friend in need, and I always want to help people the way I have been helped most of my life. Doing this however, has willed me to absorb other people’s misery and bad energy. People all have a vibe, and I’m sure most of us can sense other people’s demeanor as soon as we meet them. It is important that we don’t let those with a bad vibe interrupt our peace of mind, because in most cases people with an abundance of problems are the root of all those woes.

When I started helping and looking out for people who did nothing but drag me down or constantly lean on me, I was setting myself on fire to keep others warm— metaphorically of course. I realized that I was internalizing stress that wasn’t mine and it was started to wear me down; and to my surprise it was a hard habit to break. I had to force myself not to take certain calls or run to help the first time someone fell— tough love.

People who get mad at your for not being a crutch were never grateful for your good intentions as a person, they just wanted to leech the help from anyone they could. As sad as that is, I had to learn to let go, and I had to verbally remind myself sometimes that this problem didn’t belong to me and that my life was intact. Not absorbing the negative energy of others has made such a difference; because you don’t have that air of worry around you constantly and that makes your own kind clearer to live your life to its fullest potential.

Life After Undergrad: Summertime game plan

So it is officially May which is also my birthday month! I am excited and nervous to turn 28 but I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for me. This summer while I look for a job I also want to knock some things off my bucket list. I want to plan at least one trip and add some new memories to my scrapbook. I’d love to go back to California, but I also want to see Seattle and other parts of the west coast too. I also recently got my passport and I’d love to put it to use. I have always wanted to see the islands or part of South America.

I have always loved the summertime because it feels so free and so much seems possible. The days are longer and the sun just seems brighter and it makes me want to explore not only my own city but others as well. I think that travel is just as important as education is because some things you can only learn with experience.

Aside from traveling I have my sights set on going on as many interviews as I can. I want to get the experience and a feel for the industry so I can be better versed with the dialogue that employers expect.

Summer is also a great time to try out a new hobby or a new style. Nothing feels better than reinventing yourself and switching things up. You owe it to yourself to feel like your best self and live your best life. It really is true that when you feel good, you do better.

Life After Undergrad: It never hurts to ask

“You never know until you try” That phrase rings true for many situations in life, jobs, relationships or even something as simple as trying a new place to eat. My mom always told me this whenever I was unsure of myself or a situation– she always says “just ask”. While it seems like something so simple it can somehow seem so daunting too because, how do I ask? It comes down to a confidence thing in a way because if you doubt your voice, you’ll doubt your question.

One day I just decided to go for it and ask– I was at work and my boss had suggested something that just seemed a little counterproductive so, I asked if we could try it another way– and she said yes. It doesn’t always work but I’d say about 70% of the time it does. When you ask a question you force people to think about something in a new way, a way they may not have considered before. Getting people to think is a powerful thing because new ideas and new collaborations mean progress.

Now the key here is to ask with poise and diplomacy; not in a condescending way. When you communicate properly and with respect you get way better results. Remember this acronym,

Always be respectful

Say what you mean

Know what you’re looking for

Life After Undergrad: How I overcame my fear of public speaking

In 2008, my very first college class was at 8am, on a Monday, and my commute was an hour and a half long. That class by the way, was public speaking 101. On the first day of class the professor handed us the list of assignments and dates they were due and there were at least 6 or 7 instances where I’d have to get up and speak to the class. I loathed public speaking and to make it worse, I’d found out I was pregnant a week into the semester. So now not only did I have to get up in front of the room and give a speech now I’d be doing it while pregnant.

I considered dropping the class but by the time I mulled over that choice it was too late to do it. So, instead I opted for trying to get the professor to excuse me– which he didn’t. He told me the whole point of this class was to break students out of their fear of public speaking and at the same time make us self advocates. At the time I was totally over it and wanted no parts, I figured I could do the bare minimum to pass and never look back. What I didn’t know though, was that the skills I took away from that class would serve me for years to come.

When I became a mother I also became an advocate for Ava. Seeing as she was a baby and couldn’t speak everything she needed came from me. At doctors appointments, in school and anywhere else she went I had to speak up and make sure her needs were met. Part of my being able to do that was learning valuable communication skills and not only did these skills serve Ava; they served me too.

When my transcript got sent to the wrong school I had to speak up and get it fixed, when my credits were applied incorrectly I had to speak up and get it fixed and most of all when I felt I was done wrong or disrespected, I had to speak up and get it fixed.

All of these instances would be much tougher had I not learned how to communicate. When I got to City Tech I quickly found my major meant a lot of communicating and a lot of self advocacy. I became regarded for my communication skills in and out of the classroom, which led to multiple opportunities to work on campus. Overall now that I look back that public speaking class was probably the best thing I ever did for myself– even if it was at 8am (LOL). My takeaway here is, challenge yourself, be a little uncomfortable but most of all be a better you!

Life After Undergrad: Knock on every closed door

When you leave college and shed your student security blanket it can be hard to find other opportunities that give you the same challenge that college used to. For me college was something I became good at– and very proud of. When I came back to school after a hiatus I put my all into being a good student, staying organized and having a good GPA. When undergrad came to a close I kind of mourned my student status because I had put so much effort into making it great. I realized though that I could put the same amount of effort and time into my professional status to build that up just as high.

A professional network is much wider and much more vast than my student one. Recently, my regional boss came to visit my office and to my surprise it went well. In fact it went better than I could have imagined, after my days long panic over the visit. I was so focused on making sure I didn’t screw up that I didn’t stop and think that I should be marketing myself. Not market in a cheesy way but instead showcase my abilities and competence in my job role. After going over the Ps and Qs of my job we actually had a conversation and I shared some of my marketing and social media ideas with him– and he liked it! I was even given permission to start a hashtag campaign for my office, I was stoked!

My point here is not to leave any stone unturned– go out there and make it happen. When you’re confident other people take notice and they gravitate to you. After that office visit the regional manager told my boss that he was impressed with me– something that I’d never imagined could happen. Sometimes I think I sell myself short and forget that I’m no longer a 22-year-old with little experience. I’m considered an industry professional with nearly a decade of experience– and I need to be darn proud of it!

Life After Undergrad: Get your credit girl!

In the real world things are slightly different from the college student world. For instance your credit score matters– a lot! I, like many other early 20 somethings, made a mess of my credit when I started getting offers left and right. The emails seemed so enticing, no interest or instant approval! I got carried away and before I knew it I had quite a bit of debt with a little bit of money and an interest free deadline rapidly approaching. So I ended up in a pickle and ended up paying off these cards and silly purchases for years to come. It’s taken three years to get my credit back off the floor but I’m getting it their slowly. So I figured I’d share three quick tips with my readers to save their credit– and their sanity.

  1. Be realistic with yourself and with your funds. If you can’t afford whatever you’re tempted to swipe, in full, within the next 30 days– wait. If you’re mulling over a big purchase that’s more of a want than a need, reassess and maybe save up at least save and swipe the rest.
  2. Baby steps are key. Open a line of credit and use it for recurring charges you’d pay every month anyway and arrange for auto pay so you don’t forget your bill. Things like your monthly metro, amazon prime membership or even the gym, are great smaller charges to use your credit for.
  3. Stay on top of your accounts. Don’t open too many accounts for many reasons; one being it’s easy to forget about one and get hit with a late fee and another is it’s harder to monitor them for fraudulent charges.


Life After Undergrad: The hunt is on

Happy April everyone! With the turn of a new month my job hunt goes into overdrive. As tax season begins to wind down I’m starting to think more seriously about finding a full-time job in my actual industry– tech writing. As much as I’ve loved, and grown, at my current job I am ready to spread my wings. I want to find a job that truly challenges me and uses all of my abilities because I want a job I wake up everyday excited to get to.

When I started to look around at jobs and companies I realized quickly that without a plan and a set of “must haves” for my jobs that I would be overwhelmed very quickly. So I started to draft a list of the things I needed from an employer; health insurance, paid vacation, sick days and so on. More importantly though I started looking at the company culture, meaning what the company stood for and where their morals laid. In 2018 most companies are trying to be progressive and open-minded and be culturally inclusive and smart with their ads and policies–but how did they treat their main stream employees? I wanted to find a company that wasn’t starch and pressed, that was less corporate and more incorporated– one that focused on the talent and the brand and not some silly outdated industry ideology.  

I made a Glassdoor account to start sifting through companies and how they ranked among their employees as well as their salaries and compensation packages for employees. I was able to save or bookmark the ones I was interested in and start reading their job listings so I could tailor my resume to align better with what they were looking for. A former professor told me “you’ll never have one resume” — which confused me. How could I have more than one? With only one job history what could possibly go on multiple resumes? Well, the same things essentially but in different words, tones and activities. I developed different resumes, designs and tones for different companies or job roles to be able to start click applying and as I start applying I’ll keep you all updated on my journey!!

Life After Undergrad: Love yourself like you mean it

Three words, eight letters, say it like you mean it. No, I’m not talking about telling your kids or significant other that you love them every chance you get (though you should because life is short). No, I’m talking about reminding yourself that you love who you are unapologetically, every day. Self-love is the foundation for every other type of love we have in our lives, and it’s arguably the most important. For years in our adolescents (and sometimes beyond) we critiqued everything about our appearance, tried to be thinner, more athletic, have better skin, and so on; but now we’re adults and how many of us can say those habits haven’t followed us far into our 20s? I can admit that it followed me, and haunted me brutally after I had my daughter Ava, I couldn’t understand why I got such bad stretch marks, why I didn’t “snap back” and why that baby weight hung around for 10 months.

In all of this self-doubt we forget to love the good parts, how kind we are, how organized we can be, how good we are at crossword puzzles or Sudoku. Every morning I used to wake up and think of all the things I HAD to do, run through a mental list of these tasks that I had to check off and complete; but more recently I’ve started ignoring that mental list and finding positives like, today’s weather is going to be beautiful, I can’t wait to do _______ or just reminding yourself that you’ve got this. When you wake up feeling like you’ve got a handle on things and not the other way around you just feel better.

I’m far from perfect and I know I have my flaws but I’m slowly learning to turn even those into strengths, I’m learning to share, to let people help and most of all to trust in my abilities and what I can do. I try to face challenges or setbacks with poise and patience and not feel like everything has gone to shit because when I let that feeling of panic take over I ended up creating problems that weren’t there to begin with. Everyone has a new year new me goal (if you say you don’t- you sir are a liar!) even if they don’t broadcast it to the world and you know what; good for you. You owe it to yourself to be the best version of yourself that you know how to be—and love the crap out of yourself while doing it!

Life After Undergrad: A reminder about 2018

This year got off to a roaring start, so much going on and so many changes that I felt a little overwhelmed. I just graduated and shed my student status, started job hunting and building my professional persona. I came across this little note I wrote to myself on New Year’s Eve and want to post it to remind myself, and my readers, that it’s never too late in the year to make those changes.

In 2018, I promise to be kinder to myself.

I promise to listen to that little voice in the back of my mind that tries to remind me that I need to put myself first sometimes.

I am going to be selfish with my time, selective in my company and stand firm in my morals. In 2017 and years past I’ve given too much of myself to those who did not deserve it. I’ve taken time away from my own happiness to see to it that others were happy.

Not this year. This year, I will not lose sleep worrying about problems that don’t belong to me. I will not put the needs of the people ahead of my own, especially when those people never check on my happiness.

I will open my mind to new opportunities and experiences, even if they’re a little scary and unknown to me. I deserve to live my dreams, and I’m going to spread my wings far and wide.

I will learn to say no, and stick to it. I will learn to decline people, situations and opportunities that are not in my best interest or aligned with my goals or who I am as a person.

I will not let things that I cannot control, control me, my peace of mind or happiness anymore. If I can’t control it and it doesn’t affect my well-being, I will let it go. If it does affect me, I will deal with it as it comes, and then move on.

In 2018, I will grow, I will be happy, and I will make sure that I am okay before I check on the world.