Monthly Archives: May 2019

A few things I wish someone had told me before I went to college

Aw college, the hallowed halls of higher education, molding the great minds of our next generation…. 

I think it is safe to say that college has evolved over the last few centuries, from esteemed halls of prodigy, to a holding zone for young adults between the ages of 18-22, who aren’t quite ready to become responsible adults yet, but have also outgrown living at home and curfews.

The focus has shifted from being a space for the most brilliant minds to congregate and build careers and more to that of a four year long social gathering focused on fun, personal exploration and social programming. 

That in mind, I loved college! But as we know, college is certainly not all about education and learning. Today’s college experience is now embedded with social traditions, cultural norms, and hegemony surrounding the types of experiences you shouldbe having. The college experience has absorbed lots of ideas about dating, sex, lifestyle and relationships, some of which are downright harmful. The truth is that the college experience is going to be different for everyone and what might be really fulfilling for one person might not be for someone else. 

Yet there are definitely a few things I wish I had known, and can now look back on with a new appreciation and understanding of: 

  1. Most college guys, no matter how awesome, will probably not make good boyfriends 

Most college guys are in party/hookup/selfish mode which is pretty much mutually exclusive to the boyfriend/ selfless/ commitment mode. And trust me I know that every girl out there thinks she can “change” him, or “he just hasn’t met the right girl yet,” and while there certainly are some diamonds in the rough out there, most college guys just aren’t ready to be good partners. They are in a self-centered phase of life where most guys are still maturing and figuring themselves out. Yet, while they are still in college surrounded by booze, hookup culture and irresponsibility, most college guys are just simply not in the frame of mind to be good boyfriends or even boyfriends at all. 

The moral of the story is that for the most part college guys need to be taken with a grain of salt, and don’t be surprised when that cute guy you’ve been seeing every weekend for three months “doesn’t want anything serious.” 

2. Be okay being alone/ single  

If most college guys are simply not commitment material that means that girls need to learn the fine art of being single. And an art it really is, especially when the culture is constantly telling us that we need a relationships status to define us. Ladies, learn to be comfortable being on your own, and being your own identity independent of another person.

On the other hand, lots of girls feel that college is a time to experiment or to not be held back by a relationship, and so they turn to hookup culture to meet their physical needs while also maintaining independence. And yet, sex is almost always messy, even if you think you are just keeping it casual. Pair bonding and hormones and old-fashioned feelings are a very real part of sex we cannot and should not ignore. 

3. Hookup culture is not for everyone and that is okay

Hookup culture is a vast and ingrained part of the college experience, in which most college freshman step onto campus thinking they are going to get laid every night of the week. The media in particular has promoted such an idea in TV and movies, and magazines. College students are left with the impression that not only is hookup culture a significant part of university, but that it is necessary to a fun, fulfilling collegiate experience. While yes, lots of college students are going to have casual sex it is A. Not necessary to your college experience and B. No, you won’t be the only one that feels that way. In fact most students will actually not be partaking, or at least not partaking to the extent you think they are partaking. I feel like many students participate because they feel like it is what they oughtto be doing or that if they don’t they are missing out on the sexual revolution. Sex is a very personal choice, and one that should not be molded based on the peer pressures around you or the social stigmas attached to what collegeshouldlook like. 

4. Wild partying and abundant drinking is not an indicator of how fun and fulfilling your college experience is

As with sex, the college experience is convoluted with images and connotations about what sorts of debauchery you ought to be partaking in in order to be living your best collegiate life. The truth is that while college will certainly be filled with fun and late nights and wild adventures, don’t believe the lie that alcohol must be the catalyst for all your best college stories. Some of your best college memories will be cooking dinner with your roommates, or going for a long heartfelt walk on campus with you bff, or a spring break road trip, or renting kayaks at the local lake or hiking with your dorm floor. College doesn’t’ have to be hedonistic to be fun or satisfying.  


5. Get involved in activities and find a tribe 

Again, this is pretty cliché advice, but the college experience is fueled by finding groups of like minded people with similar interests. Whether it be clubs, sports, teams, the arts, or student government find something you enjoy doing and a group of people you enjoy doing it with. This is a great way to make lifelong friends as well as pursue passions and interests in a particular niche, something that becomes harder to do after college when life gets in the way. 

6. Know the different between when you are better off going to sleep and when to stay up 

I feel like puling all-nighters and wild nights spent staying up into the wee hours are portrayed as staples of college, but I am here to tear that myth apart. Sleep is important. There will be some nights where staying up is necessary, like having an important conversation with a friend or a fun night out that you know will make a really special memory. However, most nights rest is essential, and you are better off going to sleep. Your future self will thank you. 

7. Never take everything you learn in class as the gospel truth, always be a discerning consumer of information 

Yes, for the most part your professors are intelligent, worldly, experienced individuals who are probably smarter that you, but the difference between the mass hordes of students who get pushed through the college system, and truly wise students, are those who ask questions, analyze what they are told, and are discerning consumers of information. Anyone can sit in a class and take notes like a robot, but the best and brightest will question what they are told and go deeper. Remember most universities have an agenda in regard to what they want their students to walk away with after four years, and it isn’t just a degree. It is your job to figure out what that agenda is, and then judge it to see how well it correlates with your beliefs, values and judgements about the world. 

8. Going to college is not for everyone- there is no golden ticket to success! 

In light of the college admissions scandal, please note that going to a four-year university is not the golden ticket that we have been programmed to see it as.   It is also not the straight and narrow to success.  And yet, all students are different and everyone is on a different path, in which a 4 year degree is not necessarily the best path for every student. Likewise, your college experience is what you make of it. whether you are at Harvard of a poorly ranked state school, your college experience has the potential you allow it to have. We put way too much of an emphasis on pushing kids through a college system that doesn’t work for everyone and pressuring them to enroll at “prestigious” institutions rather than places that fit who they are and their goals. 

9. Use all that free time wisely!

Never again will you have as much free time as you do in college. Class from 11am until 2pm! Then afternoons and weekend free! Oh you don’t have Friday classes? What a paradise of irresponsibility! Partying every night! Sleeping until 2! But not so fast! All this free time is a precious gift not to be squandered on drunken bacchanals and sleeping until 2! After college it is 40 hour work weeks and days where you wished you just had 2 extra hours in the day to do something other than work, exercise, laundry and sleep. While you’re in college use all that time to pursue passion projects, start a business, get a side job and start saving money, join an inter-mural league, pick up a new hobby, learn a new language, exercise, the list goes on and on. Trust me on this one! Make sure you make it worth it! Never again will you have that kind of free time to pursue your dreams and goals. 

College is a tricky time full of expectations and hazy glimpses of an unclear future, and there are loads of things I wish I had known and can see clearer, now that I have left the dorms and dirty frat alleys behind. College is a time to explore and experiment and pursue, and yet life is too short to make all the mistakes yourself, sometimes you just have to learn from other people’s mistakes. 

Good Luck,

Ellie xoxo

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Millennial Money Matters : Live off of Less

Money. Money. Money. Must be funny in the rich man’s world. Ahh the lyrics to another lit ABBA bop that also happens to be relate-able af. 

I know that this blog has primarily been about Millennial dating with splashes of culture critique here and there, but I want to chat a bit about money. Trust me I can make this relevant. You see money is a huge concern for millennials and ends up affecting their dating lives in many ways, whether they avoid it because they cant afford to take their Tinder hottie out to drinks, or girls looking for sugar daddies, or perhaps a man does want to propose because he is yet to get his finances in order. See I just tied it back to dating didn’t I? Money can actually have a huge impact on our dating lives whether we realize it or not. Truth be told money is the number one thing that couples fight about. If you can get your finances and debt in order now you will a. make yourself a more appealing mate and b. save yourself the trouble of entering into a debt ridden, financially unstable hot bed of resentment when you eventually want to settle down. 

The point is that money is a rather pressing matter for most Millennials, mostly because we are often caught in a dichotomous relationship with money and what we are suppose to be doing with it in our early twenties. On one hand the culture is rather adamant in telling us to “treat yo self” and that self care is comprised of luxury skin care purchases and manicures. We are often instructed that little luxuries are a right and not well…luxuries. On the other hand, we can’t seem to escape the deluge of news telling us how financially screwed millennials are, that we can’t afford homes due to our insatiable appetites for avocado toast, and we are drowning under student loan debt and that we are the most over educated and underemployed generation of all time. The two conflicting messages are confusing and daunting. One side of the story is telling me I am irreparably poor and the other is that I am entitled to constant frivolities. 
Where is the truth in this stream of messaging????

So first and foremost i want to unpack where these messages come from. They come from the media, an institution hell bent on keeping poor and miserable so that we look to them for whatever antidote they are selling. Obviously a “treat yo self” mindset is great for business! The spa business must be thriving! Likewise, financial consultation and so-called “get rich quick” schemes are big businesses in the western world, and the poorer people are, or at least feel (a la social media comparison) the more likely they are going to seek out solutions to problems that are perhaps not even real problems. Yeah, millennials have debt, but I wouldn’t exactly call them an impoverished generation with their fancy college degrees, North Face jacket collections, and Amazon Prime addictions. Yes, their 12 TV show subscriptions and weekly bottomless brunch routines might be irresponsible, but it doesn’t exactly scream financial struggling. All I am saying, is that it is possible the vague entity called the media is exaggerating/creating the “crisis” of millennials finances for their own benefit… Wouldn’t be the first time…

Now that we have called into question the legitimacy of millennial wealth or lack there of, lets get to my actual point. Millennials do have a lot of irresponsible money mindsets that i want to challenge. Regardless of where we rank on the salary totem pole, Millennials have an often negative relationship with money. They don’t know how to spend responsibly or save carefully and are unsure where to draw the line between the two. Moreover, most millennials just want to know how they can “live their truth” and follow their passions while also not going broke. 

The truth is that regardless of what you make you can still accumulate wealth. 

1. Change your mindset to live off of lessThink about how much you spend each month. Where does it all go? if you were to strip down that spending to the absolute bare bones necessity how much could you truly live off of? 
I want to challenge millennials to take a hard look at what really truly constitutes as necessary spending in their lives. When we make more we often spend more, but what if your expenditures did not change with income and your lifestyle remained the same no matter how much your salary increased over time? You would save a ton right!? Well that is the kind of mind set I want to encourage. Increasing our lifestyle every time we make more money keeps us enslaved to the system and creates wealth dependence not wealth Independence. When your lifestyle is independent of your income you are free from living paycheck to paycheck and your wealth is free to grow at increasing rates. So what does this look like? Reduce your lifestyle to bare bones necessities with a few splurges for priority items here and there and watch as you find yourself free from financial burdens. it is all about creating a more sustainable lifestyle, and not I am not talking about composting. It is about creating a lifestyle that doesn’t require much financial upkeep and leaves plenty of room for saving, rather than spending. So ditch the expensive habits and brand loyalty and treats in favor of a lifestyle that need only a minimum salary to maintain. 

2. Make sacrifices 
There is no such thing as wealth without sacrifice. It is a necessary component. What this means is that while you should treat yourself now and then and have a few splurges in which you enjoy your life, note that you will never accumulate wealth without making sacrifices in your spending and lifestyle choices. Shop at cheaper grocery stores, use coupons, drive a shittier car with cheaper insurance for a a while, delay gratification until you can actually afford it outright, say no to frivolous spending, live at home for a while,  say no to things you know won’t make you happier to add value to your life beyond a fleeting moment. I am not saying to quick eating out, but when you eat out that $30 meal lasted an hour, while the same 30 dollars could buy groceries for the week, or fill up your gas tank, or purchase a new dress that you wear for years. Be mindful of value and the value of the dollar. Recognize that sacrifice does not mean living worse with no benefits, it means making changes in which there will be more benefits in the future, such as a fatter savings account and the freedom to make bigger purchases when you are ready. Wouldn’t it be worth it to live at home for a year longer if it meant you could buy your own home 5 years sooner??? 

3. Become addicted to saving 
Saving money doesn’t sound like much fun, but once you start meeting those savings goals it is hard to not get excited watching that number in your account grow.  Soon making that account transfer is a source of endorphins and helps re-prioritize your spending. Perhaps that purchase you were saving up for does not really mean so much? Maybe it is more fun to keep your savings and keep growing it! 

4. Create new channels of wealth and never become dependent  on one channel 
The key to true financial independence is to never become dependent upon a sole income. When you are dependent upon that one income channel you reduce your options to make changes and adjustments in your life whether they are voluntary or involuntary. Being a slave to one job and one income means you are unable to step away from that position if you so chose, or perhaps if life got in the way. More income and more savings means more freedom and more options to make changes in your life. Maybe you want to go back to school or move to a new city or country, or stay at home with your kids more, or maybe you just want to take time off and travel, or maybe you want to go to part-time instead? Without single income dependence these opportunities become more manageable and realistic. As with dating, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, rather create a multitude of opportunities and possible opportunities for yourself. So what does this look like? It looks like having at least one side hustle, which in this gig economy is more than feasible, it looks like making investments with your savings, and it looks like saving as much of your salaries as you can. 

I know Instagram is a huge source of information on how our generation lives, or at least how we think our generation lives. Often times the ‘gram makes us think that the majority of our peers are on yachts in the Maldives sipping rose while you are at your cubicle job. This is both unrealistic and a false comparison based on a curated highlight reel. As a result, Instagram creates a lot of feeling of jealousy, inadequacy and social comparison that can drive us to a. feel bad about our own lives and b. inspire us to make purchases we don’t need. I myself have never spent more on skin care than I have while following beauty bloggers! It isn’t even necessarily that i am buying what they are selling , more that I felt more like I needed fancier skincare after watching their videos. It made me feel like I was one step closer to achieving their seemingly perfect lives. 

I think too often we get caught up with living our best life today, rather than preparing for our best life over the course of the next 40 years. And trust me when I say it does not take a fat salary to become wealthy, being wealthy really comes down to making wise money choices with whatever means you have, whether that be limited or abundant. Even if you have a entry level salary you can still save and accumulate wealth by living off of less, making sacrifices. becoming addicted to saving and creating multiple channels of income. 

Good luck,

xoxo Ellie

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