Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Confessions of a Real Post Grad: Shikole Struber and Allison Sass, founders of the blog "The Real Post Grad"

I will be interviewing different post grads to document their journey, give advice, learn from their triumphs and mistakes and so other post grads know they aren't alone. I will be talking to those lucky few who got their dream job right after their degree or those who went in a completely different direction than they had planned.

1. Explain to readers where and when you graduated, your degree and your current job/schooling.

Shikole Struber: I graduated from American University in Washington DC in 2010. My degree was in Political Science and minor in Communications, both of which I loved at the time. I now manage the office of an IT consulting firm, which is pretty much the farthest thing ever from my major.

Allison Sass:
I graduated in 2010 from The State University of New York at Geneseo with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Art Studio. My current job is as an Online Content Manager for a water conservation company in Rochester, NY. Basically, my job requires me to manage website text, create press releases, maintain our company blog, and send out our bi-monthly newsletter.

2. You just described your current situation, is this where you thought you'd be as a post grad?

SS: I of course had dreams of post grad life, but I can't say I really thought I'd be anywhere. My expectations were low with the economy how it is. I was just happy to get an offer.

AS: My job itself, yes, but where I'm actually working? Definitely not! It's turned out to be a great experience and I've learned a lot about an industry I never imagined I would write about for a living.

3. What is the best thing about being a post grad?

SS: I have the (semi) freedom to do whatever I want. If I want to order in pizza 3 times this week, I can (if I can afford it that week). I can eat ice cream and wine for dinner if I want to. It also finally feels like the world is my oyster again.

AS: Independence. I love making my own money, being able to pay my rent, and being able to provide for myself, on my own terms.

4. What is the worst?

SS: It sounds cliche, but the worst part is student loans and how much they drain my finances, increase my stress and generally make me sad.

AS: I miss college breaks most and having the chance to visit my family and home for extended periods of time. Full-time jobs obviously have limited vacation days, so it's been an adjustment from my college days of having off all summer long and for a month in the winter to only seeing my parents for a weekend or so every few months.

5. What advice do you have for recent post grads?

SS: Pay yourself first. It's Personal Finance 101 but barely anyone listens. Just $10 from every paycheck will REALLY add up when, say, your car breaks down again.

AS: Don't worry if you're not pursuing your passion or working at your dream job right away! Every job isn't going to be a "dream job" and you should be proud of all of the steps you take along the way in your post grad journey.

6. You started your own blog about being a post grad. I love it! What made you decide to start it?

SS: After graduation Allie, my business partner, and I felt lost. In every way. We realized we can't be the only ones so we decided to start our blog, The Real Post Grad, to bring community to a generation who desperately needed it.

AS: Thanks so much! We decided to start the blog about a month after college graduation when I was still job hunting and Shikole had just started her job. We both just wanted a place to write about day to day issues and hoped that putting our thoughts online might help others who felt excited, lost, and completely overwhelmed by post grad life like we did/still do sometimes.

7. What has been the most rewarding part of having this blog?

SS: I love interacting with our readers! Seeing all the comments and tweets make me smile every time. It feels like we are not only reaching our target audience, but getting through to them exactly how we wanted to.

AS: Connecting with all of the bloggers online and just having the chance to read blogs by other post grads.

8. The hardest challenge of maintaining it?

SS: Having time to keep it fresh. We both work 40+ hours a week, usually on the plus end of the spectrum. Between work, sleep (we all need sleep!), and friend time, it's hard to find time to keep everything rolling.

AS: For me, it's figuring out time where I can just sit down and write entries. I write all day long for my full time job, and sometimes it can be hard to make myself sit down and write during my free time.

9. Anything else you'd like to add about your blog or life as a post grad?

SS: Us post grads need to stick together. After writing that I realized how much it sounded like a segue into a Beatles song, but I'm okay with it.

AS: Contribute to our blog! This past February we launched a new website and we really would like to make it a more interactive place. This means we need opinions about post grad life from people that aren't us! We're also planning to start a "post grad chats" video series in the coming months, so even more changes are on the horizon.
As far as life as a post grad goes, we are by no means experts. When we share an "advice" post it's purely based on things that have worked for us and our experiences. We're still learning how to succeed at this stage of our life and want our readers to know that we are right there with them, figuring this whole 20-something thing out.

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