blackish Goes to Disney World

I love ABC’s family comedies. I have been waiting all summer for them to return, eagerly watching reruns of The Goldbergs and Modern Family in the meantime. So you can imagine my excitement on Wednesday when 8 o’clock rolled around and my favorite shows returned to my life.

The Goldbergs was a great homage to The Breakfast Club and Speechless looks like it has potential. Even Modern Family, which I often find myself tiring of, showed a great 22 minutes of comedy. blackish is one of my favorites, though, and I was ready to see what they had up their sleeves.

What they had up their sleeves was a half-hour Disney World infomercial. Read More

Learning To Relax

I don’t think of myself as someone who needs to relax – I think of myself as someone who needs to get more done. How much time did I spend this week watching YouTube videos, not to mention TV and scrolling through Twitter? I left the house only a few times and I sure didn’t send out enough job applications.

I am spending a lot of time doing ‘relaxing things’ like watching Dancing with the Stars and annoying my brother. But I am always multi-tasking. At any given moment, half my brain is reading and the other half is beating myself (itself?) up for not being more productive. It is a relentless barrage of “You should be.. you should be… you should be..”

How do I turn that off? How do I say to myself “I’m doing the best I can and right now I need to relax, it does me not good to try and work right now?” Then, how do I get myself to listen? Read More

The Job Search Is Lonely

I don’t know if it’s the seasons changing and the sun setting earlier or my mom and brother going back to school. I’m sure everyone feels like this sometimes. But right now, for me, the job search feels lonely. Maybe you’re in a similar boat, becoming numb and isolated from afternoon after afternoon of just you and your cover letters at the dining room table. To prevent this from turning into a period of low-productivity/high-anxiety, I’ve been developing some habits to quell the loneliness and keep me connected.

1 . Leave the house

Yes, I know this sounds obvious, but there have been countless days where I notice the sunset and realize I haven’t left the property (maybe I walked the dog up the street). You gotta leave the house. I follow a lot of freelancers on Twitter and Snapchat and I greatly admire their commitment to working in coffeeshops or group work spaces. It gets them out of their apartment and even if they don’t talk to anyone but the barista, being around other people who are moving and doing keeps you from feeling stagnant. Even my grandma does this – while she’s retired, she has a routine where she goes to the diner every morning. Sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone, this routine gets her out of the house in the morning and guarantees human contact, even if it’s just the waiter. Read More

Should I Graduate Early?

Are you a little burnt out from school? Trying to save money? Have a fantastic job opportunity you would need to leave school to take? Last year, I decided to graduate a semester early from college. It was a really hard decision to make and I spent many months thinking about it, but now I have been out of school for 8 months and I know it was the right choice for me. Is it right for you? Here are five things to think about as you make the big decision.

(This is geared towards people who, like me, only started thinking about graduating early right before senior year. Many people plan from the start to graduate a semester or year early and I hope that some of this can be helpful to those people as well).

1 . Is it too late?

Most colleges have a deadline to apply for early graduation. Check at your school – if it’s already past this deadline, congratulations! The decision has been made for you and you can wonder no more. Focus on enjoying the rest of senior year and know this happened for a reason.

2. Do I have the credits? Will I finish my major? Read More

Things That Will Happen When You Cut Your Hair Short

0. You will schedule the transformative salon appointment for a few days after a semi-professional photographer is coming to do a family portrait. This way your mother will have a respectable Christmas card photo regardless of what happens.

1. Your sister will drive to the salon with you and provide small talk as you assure the hairdresser that yes, when you say short you mean ‘boy’ short.

2. You will go home and ask your brother if he likes your haircut. At 13, he cannot control himself and stutters an emphatic “n-n-o!”.

3. Over the course of the next 3 years, every member of your extended family will comment that you look like your great aunt.

a) This is not a bad thing. Your great aunt is young and cool and has been to every                        continent. She also has short hair. Read More

First Not First Day of School

I can hear my dad cooking eggs at 6:27, the whites just starting to sizzle in the pan. This early morning cooking is an effort to get this school year off on the right foot for my brother, who is starting his junior year of high school. My mom is back at school this week as well, a middle school teacher, and there’s an egg on an English muffin for her as well. My dad comes upstairs to say goodbye to me before he leaves for work. For him, it is just another Tuesday.  Read More

How to Make the Start of School Easier (While You’re Living It)

The first week of school can be a stressful transition, whether you’re a freshman still getting lost on campus or a senior who’s done this countless times before. There were probably some things you could have done to prepare (we’ve all done that last-minute packing job) but it’s too late for that now! So here are some tips to get you through the first couple of weeks while you’re living it.

1 . Don’t take on everything this week

It’s tempting to start the new school year filled with hopes and intentions of promptly reviewing your notes after class or going to the gym every day at 7am or getting a promotion at the coffee shop where you’re a barista. But know yourself. This week is stressful. Is going to the gym that early going to sacrifice some much-needed hours of sleep? Or is it going to invigorate you and give you the energy to get through a full day? Everyone is different – but ask yourself honestly. Taking on too many life-changing resolutions during this first week puts stress on top of stress and means those lifestyle changes probably won’t last. Give yourself time to unpack, get your academic and work schedules set, and see the friends you’ve been away from for 3 months. You can incorporate changes to your routine next week.

That said….

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How Can I Possibly Throw This Away

There is one drawer in my desk and it is filled with letters from friends, mostly from 2010 to 2012. Many of these people I don’t talk to anymore, or don’t talk to beyond an occasional “thinking of you hope all is well” Facebook message sent once a year. Some of those letters I look back wistfully on, while others remind me of negative people that I can’t believe I was ever friends with.

In procrastinating on cleaning out my stuff from my parent’s house, I’ve been thinking a lot about Marie Kondo. I haven’t read any of her books, but I have read every New Yorker and New York Times feature, so I feel pretty well informed on her methodology. One of the key premises is if when you hold an object it doesn’t “spark joy”,  you should throw it away. That’s a pretty high standard, and in some ways it’s helped me think about my clothes and knick-knacks differently.

This is a pretty effective way of sorting through books I will never re-read and clothes that have spent years shoved in the back of the closet. Objects like letters are much harder. How do I apply this high standard to these emotional accoutrements that fill my desk drawer? The goodbye/thank-you note from a woman I worked with when I was seventeen? That gives me joy. So does a note from a girl I was lucky enough to become close with my senior year of high school. The letters from a friend I now see once a year about what she did on a Thursday in 2011? Maybe joy, maybe just a blend of nostalgia and ambivalence.

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