I’m a Walking Stereotype

I’m in my mid-20s, I have two advanced degrees, I am not employed, and… I live at home with my parents.

I’m basically the stereotypical millennial. Except I dislike selfies.

Okay, so let’s get this straight: I’m living at home TEMPORARILY. For the summer. For three months.

My year-long legal fellowship doesn’t begin for another couple of weeks because I had to take the bar exam first.

The funny part about the whole “I’m living at home” thing is that I’ve already signed a lease for an apartment that begins in mid-August. The apartment in a new complex that’s still under construction. That’s right, I signed a contract to live in a place that I’ve never actually seen and doesn’t technically exist yet. But on the plus side, no one will have ever used my kitchen or bathroom until I step foot in the place. Priorities, people.

So, what does all this mean?

It means I was studying for the life-changing, insanity-inducing, beast-of-a-test known as “the bar exam” AT HOME. I was staying up until odd hours of the night and slaving away at the same desk I sat at almost a decade ago when I was in high school. The same desk where I did my calculus homework, typed up my college applications, and did research on shark dissection (shoutout to my Advanced Biology class from 9th Grade; yeah, I took that class back when I thought I wanted to be a doctor. That plan fell through rather quickly. Do you know how disgusting dissection is? It didn’t help that my lab partner thought it would be a grand idea to dissect the tiny shark’s brain).

It was weird.

“Your room looks like what it used to in high school,” my mom complained one day. “It’s a mess.”

My childhood bedroom is sort of in limbo, just like me. Some elements of my childhood remain, while others have been discarded over the years.

It’s got remnants of being a kid: all my furniture is the same, my old dead PC that was fried due to a power surge is collecting dust on my desk, and my favorite childhood books are stacked on a shelf in my closet. There are dozens of VHS TAPES (you read that right) filled with recorded episodes of “8 Simple Rules” in there somewhere too. It’s like a graveyard of my youth.

But then a lot of stuff has disappeared, now that I think about it. The poster of singer Michelle Branch is gone, as are the stupid frilly pink curtains. The bulletin board littered with movie stubs, ads ripped from magazines, and photos of people I’m not even friends with anymore has been replaced. The dinosaur-like non-flatscreen TV is long-gone. Instead of math and science textbooks, my floor is covered with textbooks from law school and outlines from my Evidence and Torts classes. The walls are now painted a faint green instead of baby pink.

Nothing screams “adulthood” more than neutral-colored walls with minimal wall decorations. Slowly but surely, I’m headed into adulthood – and so is my room.

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What Happens When You Don’t Live with a Roommate Anymore

A list of epiphanies, fears, and problems that arise when you find yourself living alone after years of living with another human.

1) You finally have to get your own Netflix account. But when you log in, you realize you have no idea what episode of “Mad Men” you are actually on, and that this account has no clue that you love “House of Cards” and “Scandal.” It’s like Netflix has forgotten who you are. WE WATCHED “MITT” TOGETHER, NETFLIX! How could you forget?! #insulted

2) When you hear a suspicious noise in the middle of the night, you can no longer comfort yourself with the thought of “Oh, that was probably just Roommate getting a glass of water,” or “Oh, that was just Roommate’s cat kicking a candle across the living room.” #WishfulThinking

3) Speaking of scary things, you can no longer watch “Law & Order: SVU,” “Criminal Minds,” “Sherlock,” or any other mystery/detective/crime show without having to sleep with the light on for the next three days.

4) When you’re watching your favorite TV show and something dumb, insane, or confusing happens, you have no one to instantly discuss your qualms or surprise with. #CanYouBelieveThatJustHappened?!

5) There’s no one to share your dinner or baked goods with anymore.

6) You are more inclined to leave random things lying about. Curling iron on the bathroom floor? NBD. Sugar and coffee grinds left on the counter? Clean it up later. Mail stacking up on the end table in the living room? Indifference.

7) But yet, you feel more responsibility because suddenly you’re the one paying all the bills. You know, instead of just paying half or just handing your roommate a check every month.

8) There’s nobody to talk to face-to-face when you come home every day. #ForeverAlone

9) You use up your dishes fairly quickly, but there aren’t enough dishes in the dishwasher to actually justify running it, so you often find yourself debating what to do.

10) You basically live in your bedroom, and you only emerge to grab food in the kitchen (to take back to your room) or use the bathroom.#hermit

11) There is no one to say “good night” or “good morning” to anymore.

12) If you suddenly realize that you’ve run out of something (soap, band-aids, bread, etc.) just when you really need it, you can’t just walk ten steps into their room and ask for it. You actually have to go to the grocery store yourself.

13) If you lock yourself out of your apartment or house, you’re gonna have to break a window or call a locksmith, because nobody’s gonna come let you in.

14) You can literally spend an entire weekend without seeing another human being – i.e., never leaving your house or bedroom. This may result in stir-craziness, an exorbitant amount of television consumption, and a severe lack of vitamin D. #NoSunlight

15) You realize just how inferior Apple’s version of FaceTime is to real-life face time.

Is there anything else you would add to the list?

A Millennial’s Guide to Surviving Final Exams

You hear that? It’s the sound of being productive, interacting with actual humans, and eating healthy all flying out the window. Why? Because it’s that time of year again: FINALS.

But don’t worry, because not only is Ryan Gosling here to cheer you on, but I’ve got some tips to help you get through the worst two weeks of your life (this year).

  1. Clean your room. If you do this before you start studying, you’ll be less inclined to procrastinate by cleaning later.
  2. Listen to the Harry Potter soundtracks. Open up Spotify and stream the Harry Potter soundtracks for free (Goblet of Fire, Half-Blood Prince, and both Deathly Hallows’ soundtracks are the best, in my opinion) while you work. The music is enough to drown out any other background noises without being too distracting in itself, but epic enough that you’ll think studying or writing a paper is just as important as defeating Voldemort. It will create a sense of urgency, and you’ll actually like working.
  3. Handwrite notes. If you’re having trouble remembering something, like an important fact (or if you’re in law school like me, maybe you’re having trouble remembering a particular rule of law), write it out on a sheet of paper. Do this even if you already have it typed out on your computer. Taking pen to paper helps etch it into your brain a little better.
  4. Don’t study in the same place all the time. A change of scenery can be a good thing. Leave your house to go study at the library, or maybe leave the library to study at a coffee shop. Studies show that changing your studying environment can increase the likelihood that you’ll remember the material you’re trying to learn.
  5. Outline the important stuff. Write up all the fundamental information you need to know. In other words, consolidate your notes into something more manageable. You’ll be reviewing it as you go along, and you’ll end up with a nice little study guide by the time you’re finished.
  6. Turn off your wi-fi (and maybe even your cell phone). If you don’t need the internet to get your studying done, just flip the wi-fi switch off for a little while. You’ll be less tempted to check Facebook and Buzzfeed if you don’t have internet. If you can’t stop texting, it might be a good idea to turn off your phone, too.
  7. Don’t pull an all-nighter. I’ve gone through seven years of higher education without pulling one – and I’m doing just fine. All-nighters will just make everything worse, especially if your exam is the next day. It’s also a dumb idea to try to write a long paper overnight without taking a break to sleep.
  8. Prep with other people. This doesn’t mean you have to put together a study group or spend hours together crammed in a study room at the library. But if you have a question, text or call a friend who is in the class. I’ve learned more from some of my classmates about a particular topic than I ever did from the professor who taught the course.
  9. Take breaks. Split up your study time into chunks, and leave a few long breaks in between. Getting your mind off mentally-taxing topics will help you focus better in the long run. And if most of your study time requires you to look at your computer screen, don’t spend your break surfing the web or watching YouTube videos. At least watch TV or go outside or something.
  10. Never forget that Ryan Gosling believes in you.

Having a Quarter-Life Crisis? Calm Down, You.

…and read these stats on post-grad millennials’ views on jobs and education.

We’ve all been there. You’re at some social gathering, maybe a wedding, a family get-together, or a night out with friends. You’re having a great time… UNTIL somebody says this: “Oh, you studied [insert any college major/master’s degree here]? You must have learned so much. So, what do plan on doing with that?”

Your brain freezes. GREAT. Being the paranoid parrot that you are, you assume that this person asked this question because he or she:

  • a) is genuinely interested in your future (hah! yeah, right!).
  • b) is trying to size you up like Regina George (“So, you agree? You think you’re really smart?”).
  • c) is under the impression that your major is about as useful as mastering the art of Ross Gellar’s “unagi.”
  • d) doesn’t think you’ll ever find a job, and is insinuating he/she believes you will be living in a cardboard box.
  • e) is just trying to make conversation (hah! yeah, right again!).

You try to be nonchalant. You try not to give away the fact that you’re panicked beyond belief. You try to give a safe answer. “Oh, you know, I’m open to pretty much anything,” you say. Which is true. You are willing to take something, anything just to get your foot in the door.

Ugh. “Could this BE anymore awkward?” says the Chandler Bing voice inside your head.

college

Chip up, buttercup! You’re not the only person who has experienced this awkward conversation. And while the last thing you may want to hear about is how well other twenty-somethings are doing career-wise, or what they think about our current economic state, you could learn a thing or two from them. Their insights into the economy, what skills are necessary in the workplace, and regrets they have about their education may help you figure out how to make it in the real world. Remember: if those fools can do it, so can you! Continue reading