Lately, I have been struggling with what my next step after graduation will be and it’s been pretty scary. I have considered going to grad school, moving away to pursue theatre, moving away just to move away, traveling, moving back home, and so many other things. Slowly but surely, I have come up with a reason to not do any of those things and have convinced myself that none of them are right for me at the time. Either I want time off from school, I’m afraid to take time off from school, I need to save money, I want to live on my own, I’m not ready, my reasons are endless and quite honestly, a load of crap. They’re all excuses. When I realized this, I asked myself why I was making up excuses to not move on to the next chapter, whatever it may be, especially when I know, without a doubt, that I’m ready to be done with the current chapter of my life.
I have never known a life outside of school, something many graduating college seniors are grappling with as well. What does one do once school is no longer in the picture? Do you go back for more school and just avoid the outside world a little longer? Do you go for the masters to ensure that you have a steady job to support yourself in the long run? Do you just pick up and leave and start over? Do you fully embrace your independence, or do you move back home and live with your parents just like you did before college? While asking myself all of these questions, trying to figure out the right answers, and comparing my post-graduation plans with those of my classmates, I realized that I was just going in circles and getting zero answers. Then I discovered why: because there are no right answers. Every single person’s post-graduation path is not the same. Everyone is in a different place in their life when they graduate and THAT’S OKAY! No one is the same, no one goes through what you do, people jump into careers faster than others, some need some time figuring out exactly what it is they want to do. THOSE ARE ALL OKAY! Choose what’s right for you. It’s more important to check in with yourself than it is to check in with others. That’s something that has taken me a long time to learn.
Fear is a feeling that everyone has felt at some point in time and everyone fears something. No one is immune to fear and if they say they are, then they are lying. Maybe they’re afraid of the dark, scary movies, or wire coat hangers. But one thing I’m sure that almost all people are afraid of is the future. The future can seem daunting and uncertain and it’s the idea of not knowing what is to come that can leave some people paralyzed with fear.
The word fear has been on my mind a lot lately. I’m scared of what is going to happen after graduation and the uncertainty of my next move. I’m scared for the future of the people and places around me in light of recent government occurrences. But whatever you’re afraid of, it’s important to remember not to let it control you. Don’t sit idoly by, get up, take action, and focus on the things that you have the power to change.
If it’s the idea of your personal future following graduation that has you riddled with fear, then make a plan and start it today. Don’t wait until the day after graduation to begin your future. Start making connections now and take a leap of faith if you need to. Sometimes fear can be the best motivator to help you achieve your dreams even if it’s hard to get up the courage to move forward.
If it’s the future of the people and places around you, then again, take action. Speak up for injustice and things that you don’t agree with. While it can be scary, you have to keep pushing forward because the world around you won’t stop or slow down. Things will always be changing; sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Change can be a pretty terrifying thing, but it’s how you handle the changes and how you power through the fear that matters.
Use your fear to motivate yourself and take action! Don’t let fear win, no matter what it is that you’re afraid of.
It’s getting close to finals time and stress levels are going through the roof! Here are some good tips to help destress:
- Do some yoga
Yoga is easy to do and doesn’t take up much space (so you can even do it in your dorm room). It creates balance and a sense of calm, which can really help keep your mind straight during finals week.
- Light some candles
Aromatherapy is a great way to relieve stress! Bath and Body Works has some awesome aromatherapy stress relief candles, pillow mists, and lotions. If you don’t like candles, or can’t have them in your dorm room, try an essential oil diffuser!
- Get some sleep
During finals this one may seem nearly impossible, but trying to get least a couple of hours every night will do you better than pulling all-nighters. You won’t do very well on that exam if you fall asleep during it!
- Go to the gym
It may be incredibly hard to find time between studying, but just getting up and running or doing some jumping jacks and stretches for like 10 minutes can do wonders to bring down your stress levels!
- Scream into a pillow
This one may seem silly, but it helps so much! Sometimes you just feel like you need to let some emotion out. So go ahead and scream and get all of your frustration out without disturbing your roommate…
- Invest in a stress ball
Stress balls give you something to direct your nervous energy and frustration towards. Maybe use one while you study and then take it to the exam with you. Studies actually show that if you do an action while taking an exam that you did while studying you are more likely to remember the information.
- Limit your caffeine intake
This is another one that may seem nearly impossible during finals week, but caffeine can spike your blood pressure which can increase your stress. Try drinking tea instead!
- Take a deep breath
When in doubt, just take a deep breath in for 8 and out for 8. Just the simple act of breathing can have a huge immediate impact on your stress levels.
Just remember that while your finals are of course very important, so is your health. So keep that in mind while you begin studying for your finals and try to limit your stress a little bit each day with some of these tips.
Good luck and happy studying!
Being a senior this year, I have been faced with the question, “So what are you doing after graduation?” countless times and it is probably the scariest question I’ve ever had to answer. Many of the actors that have graduated before me have made the big move to NYC, so that may seem like my obvious next move. However, as I approach graduation, I realize that NYC may not be the right next step for me. So I’ve been doing some research and guess what…the beauty of theatre is that it can be done anywhere! Sadly, many people don’t realize that quality, professional theatre is doable outside of New York City or L.A. While New York is home to Broadway and L.A. is known for its film work, having a successful acting career outside of those cities is 100% possible! New York and L.A. are huuuuge! There are so many struggling actors in those cities, because so many people believe that that is where you have to go if you’re ever going to make in this business. But by going elsewhere, you are putting yourself in a smaller talent pool, thus upping your chances of landing jobs! Score! So, before you move, here are 10 U.S. cities that you could help you jump-start your acting career (this list is in no particular order).
- Chicago, IL
- Atlanta, GA
- San Francisco, CA
- Boston, MA
- Washington D.C.
- Minneapolis, MN
- Seattle, WA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Dallas, TX
- Portland, OR
I wish I could go into depth about why each city is a great place for aspiring actors, but there is just so much going on! If you’re an actor, or studying to be one, research these cities and find out the best place for you to start your career!
This is just in America, if you’re willing to move out of the U.S., then there are even more amazing theatre cities! When it comes to your acting career don’t limit yourself to just New York or L.A., because there is some pretty amazing theatre out there that you could miss out on!
“What are you majoring in?” is my least favorite question because after hearing my answer the next thing they say is: “So what’s your backup plan?” I’m sure anyone in theatre has heard this response upon telling people what they study. What most people don’t understand is everything that theatre really has to offer and why them assuming you need a backup plan is wrong.
Theatre is so much more than just finding your light and reciting lines. It teaches you amazing communication skills, how to work with so many different types of people, and how to speak in front of large audiences. You learn skills that can help you in any career path that an employer will find invaluable in an employee.
Theatre can send a powerful message and be used to implement social change. It can help people find their voice and confidence. It can help them discover who they are and discover more about the world around them. Theatre can be therapeutic and help those with special needs or PTSD. Being an actor you also learn to be incredibly empathetic, which is something that this world needs to see more often.
With a theatre degree you can get a job in more than just acting. You can explore careers in communications, business, stage management, drama therapy, you can design sets, costumes, sound, or lighting, you can direct, teach theatre, and you can even create your own theatre company! Theatre is such an amazing and important field that so many people often overlook or look down upon.
When studying theatre you don’t need a back up plan if you don’t want one. If you have a passion for theatre, then pursue it! Don’t hold yourself back from doing what will make you truly happy because of what society thinks, your parents think, or even because of your own doubts. Just have faith that it will all work out and do what you love, because the world will always need more theatre!
College is hard. There are exams, essays, lectures, assignments… so much stress and so little sleep! The only thing harder than college? College relationships. I’m not just talking about dating relationships, but friendships too. College is a time of change and discovery. People grow up, grow apart, or get too busy and it can be hard to maintain or start relationships.
Remember your best friend from high school? The one that you’d hang out with after school, go out with on weekends, and stay up late talking to on the phone about your crush? Well sadly, the truth is that once you go away to college that friendship may not be what it once was. You’ll begin leading your separate lives and you’ll talk less and less and only see each other once a year. But guess what. That’s ok! People change and drift apart. It’s just part of life and it’s bound to happen when you go off to separate colleges and start to pave different paths to your futures. It can be a difficult reality to face, but just know that it’s not your fault. It’s part of growing up. The great part of college is that there are so many different types of people and the new friend possibilities are endless!
Dating in college can be tricky. We’re all in this awkward stage where we aren’t ready for marriage, but we want something more mature than those high school relationships that failed as quickly as they started. You’re still learning about yourself and making new discoveries about what you truly want. Being in a relationship can make it hard to truly find yourself, but at the same time relationships can help you learn. The easiest part of starting relationships in college is that you meet new people everywhere you go. The hard part is trying to balance a relationship, friends, work, school, and extra curriculars. It can be exhausting and with so little time to commit to a relationship it can be hard to maintain a healthy one. The biggest thing I’m personally learning about dating in college is that you can be in a relationship and really love someone, but during the course of that relationship you change. The person who entered the relationship freshman year isn’t the same person when junior or senior year rolls around. You grow up. Sometimes you grow in the opposite direction of your partner. That’s when you have to make a choice. It can be the hardest decision to make and be one that you grapple with for awhile: to stay in the relationship and make it work, or go your separate ways and embrace the change.
Overall, college is hard and trying to figure out your different relationships can be intimidating. But just know that growing apart from old friends and finding new ones is normal. Not wanting to be in a serious relationship or changing during the course of one is totally ok! Just don’t be afraid to start or end relationships. It’s part of growing up and in order to learn more about yourself, it’s a necessary part of college.
Congrats and welcome to adulthood! Now that you’re an adult, there some really boring things that you have to do. So, here is how to go at each one of these tasks like a pro!
Sorting, stain removal, and drying. Oh my! If you’ve never done laundry before, it can be daunting. Will my socks turn pink? Will my favorite sweater come out two sizes smaller? What does this weird little symbol on the tag of my dress mean? Well here is a website that can help explain all of this to be sure you avoid any unfortunate mishaps!
Rent and Apartment Leases
So you’re moving out and getting your first apartment. Yay! But along with that awesome new place you also have to sign your first lease and start paying rent. Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to signing your lease.
The most important thing to know as a renter is your right to an escrow account. If you have an issue with your landlord in relation to your apartment and are waiting for the realty dispute to be resolved, then you can put your rent money into an escrow account. The money is there for the landlord to see that you have the money to pay for rent, but it is not directly given to the landlord.
Perhaps the most boring and overall terrifying task of being an adult. Once you get a steady job and start to make enough yearly you’re going to have to pay taxes. You may be asking yourself: What is a W-2? What is a 1099? What is a tax bracket….do I have one of those? Here is all of the basic information you need to know on how to pay taxes and will answer all of those questions running through your head!
Getting an Oil Change
For those not well versed in cars, this can be intimidating. Your car’s manual tells you how often to get an oil change and what kind of oil to use (each car is a little different). Most cars require an oil change every 3,000-3,500 miles. There is no appointment needed for an oil change and it should only take about 15 minutes. It will typically cost you about $20-30 if you get a conventional oil change (non-synthetic oil).
Cooking meals that don’t come frozen or out of a box
While frozen meals and ramen are quick and easy meals, it is way cheaper and healthier to cook your own meals. Buy knowing what foods to buy and trying not to spend too much money can be difficult. Some of my favorite and easiest meals to make are as follows:
- Anything involving eggs…omelets, scrambled, fried. They’re so easy to make and really filling.
- Pasta…boil up some noodles and add some sauce. Done!
- Soup…just heat up the soup from the can and you’re good to go!
- English muffin pizza…toast up an English muffin, add some pizza sauce, some cheese, and some pepperoni. Pop it in a toaster oven or microwave to melt the cheese and you have a meal!
- Baked potatoes…potatoes are super easy to make and are delicious!
- Avocadoes…not really meal in itself, but you can put them on anything and they’re delicious and good for you!
- Veggies…you can steam ‘em or sautee ‘em. Either way they’re great tasting and good for you.
- French toast…bread, eggs, and a pan…so simple!
- Pillsbury Crescent Rolls…again, not a meal within themselves, but you can make so many quick and easy meals with them!
- Grilled cheese sandwich…toast, cheese, a pan…done!
Buying actual groceries at an actual grocery store
In order to cook these meals you will have to buy real groceries. There are a bunch of grocery stores you could go to, but being in college we’re all living on a budget and need to save money where possible. The best way to do that is to utilize coupons, rewards cards, store apps, and store brands. My favorite place to shop is Target. If you get the Cartwheel app, buy the Target brand, and get the RedCard debit card you can save sooo much money! There are coupons for everything and with the Target debit card you get 5% of your entire purchase every time you use it. Plus you can buy more than just groceries there, so it’s the perfect one stop shop!
Making your own appointments
Never fun or easy, but you have to do it. Write out what you want to say before you call. There is no way to really master this adult task, but you just have to do it.
Paying bills on time
As you get older the number of bills increases and keeping track of when everything is due can be tricky. You could always just set a reminder in your calendar to alert you when your bills are due. Or you can download a free app called Mint. It tracks your bills and will send you reminders when they are due. It’s great!
Budgeting your finances
Keeping track of your spending can be tedious and kinda of scary when you realize where all of your money is actually going (all of mine goes to overpriced coffee…it’s a problem). The same app mentioned above (Mint) is also extremely helpful in helping you to budget your finances. You can create your own categories and then set monthly spending limits for each. You hook it up to your debit card and when you make a purchase it will categorize and track your spending. Once you get close to your spending limit, the app will notify you.
Balancing your checkbook
Boring, but again important. If you’re anything like me you rely fully on your online banking app instead of balancing your checkbook…this is probably the worst habit ever! Sometimes the app messes up or a certain check or payment isn’t processed right away and you think you have more money than you really do and you end up overdrawing your account. Then you get slammed with a not so lovely NSF fee (or non-sufficient funds). After each purchase from your checking account you should write down your transaction and calculate the remaining balance in your account.
Jump starting your car
Again, something that if you are not great with cars can be kinda scary. If you’re driving and your car stalls, you need to know how to jump a car. Always be sure you have jumper cables in your car because the one time you don’t have them will be when you need them. Here’s a guide on how to properly and safely jump a car battery:
One word: Museums! All within walking distance from Wayne State’s campus is the DIA, The Michigan Science Center, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, The Detroit Historical Museum, and the MOCAD.
2. Campus Martius
Ice rink by winter and beach by summer. Campus Martius always has something going on. There’s ice skating, a tree lighting ceremony, a NYE Ball Drop, Fountain Bistro, a beach, and live music. It’s one of my favorite places to go and it’s less than ten minutes from Wayne State’s campus!
3. The Arts
Detroit and the arts go hand in hand! There are numerous concert halls, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Public Theatre, The Fox, The Fisher, The Michigan Opera House, The Music Hall, and even The Detroit Artists Market!
4. All of the Hidden Gem Restaurants
There are so many restaurants you’ve never even heard of and have some of the best food you will probably ever taste! Honest Johns, Selden Standard, Alley Taco (in the back of Marcus Market), Parks and Rec Diner, Woodbridge Pub, Traffic Jam, Cass Café, this list could go on and on and on!
5. The Abundance of Great Coffee
If you’re anything like me, you live for a good cup of joe and you’re willing to try any place that is dedicated to servicing that need! Detroit has so many great coffee houses that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. There’s Great Lakes Coffee, Bottom Line Coffee House, Ashe Coffee Supply, The Roasting Plant, Urban Bean Co., Rowland Café, and sooo many more! Detroit is definitely the best place to satiate your caffeine fix!
6. Eastern Market
Every single Saturday from 6am-4pm Eastern Market is open to the public. There are flowers, fresh fruits and veggies, local butchers, food trucks, art, music, cooking demonstrations, and so much more! This is one of the coolest places to be on a Saturday morning!
7. Belle Isle
Detroit’s very own island! It’s in the middle of the Detroit River between Detroit and Canada. It has an aquarium, canoe and kayak rentals, bike rentals, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, a beach, snowshoeing, geocaching, and abundance of secluded picnic spots. It’s one of the most peaceful places to be!
8. Dally in the Alley
This is perhaps one of the greatest events of the year and it’s going on its 39th year! It’s Detroit’s largest community festival that happens once a year in September right in the heart of Midtown-The Cass Corridor. There is live music on five different main stages, food tents, an art show, and some pretty awesome people! It’s a chance for college kids and residents to let loose and have some fun before the school year really starts and we all officially say goodbye to summer!
9. The Ren Cen
This is the tallest building in Michigan at 73 stories and 727 feet tall! The building is home to the General Motors headquarters and has different restaurants and shops inside. But the coolest part about this building? The restaurant at the top of the Renaissance Center on the 72nd floor called Coach Insignia. You can look out all over Detroit and Canada! It is one of the most beautiful sites you can find in the city!
10. The Tigers
Who doesn’t love to watch a baseball game? Especially when you have a team as good as the Detroit Tigers? The best day of the season is Opening Day because it’s basically its own holiday here in Detroit!
College can be a time of high stress. Juggling multiple jobs, a full course load, extra-curriculars, a social life, and still attempting to find time to sleep can sometimes seem like an impossible feat. While you may want to prove that you can do it all and make that resume look impressive to future employers, you have to know when to say ‘no’. As students we generally bite off more than we can chew. You could have a ten page essay due, but if your boss calls you in for a last minute shift, or a friend drops by unannounced asking for advice, chances are you’ll take on the extra responsibility. As students, we are taught to do all that we can do because one day it will all pay off. But at what cost? The increased stress that college students are experiencing can lead to comprised mental health. High levels of stress can often lead to anxiety, which is closely linked to depression. Having depression and anxiety can lead to insomnia, decreased energy and motivation, and feelings of worthlessness. Studies have shown that more than half of the students who drop out of college do so for mental health reasons. With the incredibly hectic schedules that all college students lead, we rarely have time to focus on ourselves. We tend to put ourselves on the back burner and after a while our mental health takes a toll. When is enough enough? Is having the perfect resume worth harming yourself in the long run? Knowing when to say ‘no’ to certain things in your schedule can be the greatest gift you can give yourself. You have to be able to take time to decompress and check in with yourself. Maybe curl up and watch some Netflix in your pajamas for an hour a night. Having the perfect resume should never be worth sacrificing your mental health. So clear a day on your calendar, put everything else on hold for 24 hours, and pamper yourself. You deserve it! We all do.
Life after the dorms can be the greatest time of your college life, but it can also be the most stressful. If you choose to move out of the dorms and into your own apartment while still in college it can be an extremely freeing experience. You have a place that you can finally call your own. There is no one there telling you what to do; no RA’s telling you to keep it down and making sure you don’t have candles or other contraband. You can even have pets (and I mean something more furry and cuddly than your goldfish). You could play loud music and have fifty candles burning while cuddling with your cat named Mr. Whiskers all at the same time if you really wanted to and no one would be there to tell you otherwise! Best of all, you can invite as many friends over as you want and not have to check a single one of them in at the front desk! While having your own apartment can be the best feeling in the world and the biggest step toward becoming an adult, it can also be the most stressful.
Along with all of that freedom comes some huge responsibility. I’m talking about B.I.L.L.S….bills. Now that you have all of this independence and a place to call your own, you have to pay for that place and everything that goes along with it. You will have not only your monthly rent to worry about, but you also have to pay for electricity, gas, water, Wi-Fi, groceries…the list could go on. You may be living paycheck to paycheck for quite some time. This is where the beauty of roommates comes in….you get to split everything! Having roommates can make things a lot cheaper. However, finding roommates that you don’t completely loathe living with can be a difficult feat on its own. My best advice: do whatever you can not to move in with that stranger off Craigslist looking for a roommate…things may not end well. The best course of action is to find a friend, or two, who are looking to move out of the dorms too and start looking for a place together.
So if you’re thinking about putting on your grownup pants and leaving the dorms behind to rent your first apartment, be sure to weigh the pros and cons. There will be some hefty bills to pay, but you will also have that sweet, sweet freedom you’ve been dying to have since turning eighteen. Choose wisely, my fellow Warriors!