My past couple of posts have been so food centered, I decided to put an entry in about moi. It's been 9 months since I started work and I can answer questions I had for myself last year. Last year, in November and December, I was dreaming about what life would be like now in November 2011. Transitioning to work life is not easy. I've known nothing but school since I was 5 and now I have to utilize a whole new set of skills that isn't taught in textbooks. They should seriously consider putting a personal finance curriculum into the education system. I moseyed on out of 17 years of education without a clue on how to manage money. I collected some debt along the way (who the eff thinks it's a good idea to give a $6000 credit limit to a 20-year-old?!). I managed to get myself out of my credit card debt by July and gave myself a pat on the back for that. But before I knew it, tuition loans sprang up. Feeling a bit like Destiny's child bills, bills, bills. 9 months since work started and I finally feel like I have a grasp of my finances.
A lot of people ask me what it's like to pick up and move to another state. I'm not going to lie and say it was easy for me. I always had something to do in Texas. I know who my friends are. I know who would be down for doing A, B, or C. My family is in Texas, I know when to expect birthday parties, graduation parties, and family get-to-gethers. I know where my favorite places to haunt are. I know who I am and how I relate to my friends, family, and city. Now I'm in this city where I have no idea who my friends are, I don't know when to expect my next social outing, I don't know who I can count on to do A, B, or C with me. I felt lost. I felt like a ghost of me looking at the person I didn't seem to recognize. Work was unpredictable - I wasn't sure what my expectations were or if I was doing a good job. It took some time to understand the corporate culture. I'm still taking baby steps towards learning my environment. What was unexpectedly hard was dealing with not being there. This was the first time in 9 years I missed Tiffany's birthday. Since I was only 2 hours away in Austin, I hardy missed any major milestone in my family and friend's lives. Seeing pictures of events without me was tough.
Even though the past 9 months have been one of the biggest challenges of my life, I refuse to throw in the towel. I felt that if I could get through this, I could make it anywhere. Being on my own has helped me learn more about myself than I ever had. I get to see a different side of me. I get to practice learning how to navigate change. Life isn't about what is easy or comfortable. Sometimes the things you need most or will make you better are the harder choices and time periods to go through. I'm not a person that will just sit here and mope about being homesick. Instead, I took matters into my own hands. I joined 2 kids mentoring programs at work. I committed time to be in the professional development committee in the Asian Heritage Network. I set aside time for my food passions. I took some time to travel (Denver, California, and Florida). I go to networking functions. I'm slowly working towards my MBA - I took the GMAT and attended a UCLA info session. Life feels more indefinite as there are no longer semesters or grades or classifications like freshman or senior to mark time passing. There's no solid "end goal" of graduation or next step to plan for. Suddenly, you have to take life by the reins and set your own goals and markers.
This is an experience I am glad I embarked on. They say you grow the most in your 20's. Here's to making the most of being young and mobile! I've already started making my mark! I was quoted in an article in the Star Tribune. Find me on page 2. There's a picture of me in the actual print newspaper but not in the online article.