School’s out 4ever

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Wearing sunglasses non-stop to hide my itchy, sun-sensitive eyes!

 

It’s spring. The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and my allergies are back with a vengeance.

I started writing this at my desk on my last day in office for my internship, mostly to prevent me from annoying my office-mate who actually had real work to do. After a solid 19 years of schooling, the idea that I’ve finished a year of school with no further school in the picture is rather shocking. It’s disrupted my whole life sequence. I can’t remember what it was like to not be in school, or at least be in anticipation of it.

For the first time in my life, I’m wrapping up a chapter without a clear projection of what will follow it. I’m basically living out the emotional state sixth-grade student experiences when they realize they actually need to write an ending for their cringe-y short story assignment, and all they can come up with is “and then they woke up and it was all a dream” so they scribble it down as if it’s the most original idea that every crossed their still-developing mind.

I’ve been casually browsing the internet for advice on what to do during this “purpose void” I’ve mentally built up. As far as I can tell, these are my only options:

Get a job

Honestly, this would be ideal, but it is harder said than done. In this economy? In this job market? Sounds fake. Also, having a job just doesn’t hit the same when you have to wait months for your health benefits to kick in (if they’re even offered).

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Cover letter is off to a strong start.

Join a pyramid scheme

This isn’t hard with the sheer number of instagram “Hey girl!” bubbles that land in my DMs. Within moments I could be part of a long train of girls trying to peddle hair and skin products not approved by the FDA, attempting to convince people that all of the bad reviews and customer complaints are circumstantial and blown out of proportion. All I have to do is spend countless hours on Instagram searching for girls I think are even more gullible and desperate than me.

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I already have an in.

Go to Bali and “find myself”

This one seems promising. If I dig deep into my bank account, I can probably find enough funds to book a round trip to Southeast Asia. After partying hard and trashing beaches all night at low-cost raves in Thailand with no reverence for the locals, I’ll zip over to Bali to cleanse my soul with yoga and beautiful spas. I might even think I’ve become more enlightened by sitting in picturesque pools and immersing myself amongst the (gentrified version of) a foreign culture.

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Instagram search: Bali

I’ll definitely take at least 200 instragammable photos to post from now until the end of time, ready to post one when a natural disaster strikes Indonesia as a result of climate change crisis (e.g. the capital might have to be moved from Jakarta, displacing millions and potentially creating climate crisis refugees) with a caption such as “my heart bleeds to see this beautiful place I visited experiencing such pain </3”. In the event that life-ending disaster doesn’t strike, I’ll make sure to post photos about the importance of travel, with other captions such as “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read but a page“, “Take only memories, leave only footprints”, and “I think I was born to live in a hut on a beach <3”.

 

Fake my own death

I’ve read Gone Girl too many times and now kind of just want to try to see if I could get away with it.

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This is the most iconic monologue in modern film and no one can convince me otherwise.

 

Real talk, I kind of feel this sense of emptiness about being done school for the foreseeable future, and I’m genuinely going to miss having access to JSTOR. The change is terrifying, but it’s also incredibly liberating. I have nothing planned and no schedules to meet.

And that’s okay.

Coming up next: I’m going on hiatus for the summer!

Time is money, and I have neither

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I really go too hard when listening to 7 Rings by Ariana Grande for someone who cannot afford most things.

My life as an ~adult~ has been in full swing for almost two months now, and I’ve been forced to realize the true value of time. As someone who in undergrad had a ripe total of five hours of class a week, going to a regular work schedule (and also trying to cook at home, go to the gym, maintain a social life, enrich myself by reading critically-acclaimed literature and watching documentaries, and generally maintaining a holistic, good life) has been hard. I am starved for time.

Multiply that by my severe lack of funds and, sugar, we are going down swinging.

I’ve become increasingly savvy with my $$$$ and time, as one does when they don’t have much to be savvy with, and I’ve come up with some ways to save on each one.

However, the Internet is saturated with listicles on how to save time and money, with useful, wholesome tips like meal-prepping, list-making, developing a monthly savings plan, etc. I’m not here to divulge information that a quick Google search could tell you. Instead, I’m going to drop the most original (and perhaps borderline insane) things I’ve done to stretch a couple bucks and save some minutes.

HOW TO SAVE TIME

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Can’t believe this movie never won an Oscar.

Okay, so I lied in the title: time is not money. You can’t store time you think you shouldn’t use just to keep it for later. “Saving” time is a hilariously impossible notion, and people who say it generally just mean they’ve found a way to do a task more quickly or just refocused their attention on something that matters more to them.

That means using time is a relative concept, and very difficult to prescribe solutions for its saving; therefore, I’m going to offer a universal tip, and give a couple examples on how to do it.

Any task can take just about any amount of time you want it to (if you believe in yourself). The degree of how well it’s performed is really just the difference. I’ve mentally developed three-five different ways to do just about everything in my life, depending on how much time I have.

For example, here is how I can do my morning routine, depending on how much time I have left after irresponsibly snoozing my alarm multiple times, systematically cutting steps as needed:

1h 30 min:

  1. Wake up (refreshed)
  2. Scroll through social media
  3. Wash face, moisturize, brush teeth
  4. Get dressed in something ~trendy~ and ~cute~
  5. Do my hair (either curl or straighten)
  6. Do a full face of makeup
  7. Put on jewelry and watch
  8. Organize tote bag
  9. Pack gym clothes
  10. Pack lunch, carefully curating a balance of healthy snacks and a nutritious, protein-dense meal
  11. Eat breakfast while scrolling through the news
  12. Leave home

30 min:

  1. Wake up (with minor panic)
  2. Wash face, moisturize, brush teeth
  3. Get dressed
  4. Hair in neat bun
  5. Do my makeup, but maybe cut out eyeliner
  6. Organize tote bag
  7. Pack lunch
  8. Leave home

5 min:

  1. Wake up (with a lot of panic)
  2. Brush teeth
  3. Dressed; outfit may not match
  4. Concealer for dark circles
  5. Leave home

The crazy thing is that the end effect isn’t even that different between all of these three. And the same can be said for a lot of things (i.e. what’s really the difference between a salad with fresh avocado and toasted almonds vs. a bowl of spring mix with some dressing?).

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I practice what I preach.

 

HOW TO SAVE MONEY

This tip is for the truly desperate. For the lowest of low moments. I’m sad to say that I have done this more times than I am proud of. In order to preface, this tip does not technically save money. It just makes it more usable.

Disclaimer: this tactic is for Canadians only. Americans, get better money!!!!

STEP ONE: if you’re anything like me, you have a bunch of useless change. I’m talking nickels and dimes. The kind of change you slowly collect but never use because when would you ever use nickels and dimes?  These coins only exist for the 1/85 chance you have the exact right amount of change. You’re never going to go to pay for something and think, I should throw this handful of metal at this tired, underpaid service worker.

Actually, one time I paid for coat check by giving the girl a ziploc full of $3 worth of dimes and nickels and I am deeply ashamed of that moment. Dear coat check girl, I am sincerely sorry.

STEP TWO: Collect all the rogue coins you own, and count them out. Make sure your coin count rounds up to a full dollar amount (preferably an even dollar amount).

STEP THREE: Scope out a vending machine. Preferably one in a secluded area so no one can watch you do this. Try a low-traffic hallway.

STEP FOUR: There are actually multiple ways to do this. I made an alignment chart so you can decide what approach fits your personal energy:

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I personally align with chaotic evil.

To elaborate, you’re going to slide that useless change into the vending machine until you reach the $1.00 point. Then you’re going to hit the return coin button on that bad boy, and if this is a ~good machine~ it will spit a loonie out at you. If it’s a bad machine, it will either a) eat your money, which means you just have to commit and make a purchase, or b) spit your gross, garbage change back at you. If this is the case, keep testing machines until you find a good one.

Once you’ve found that good machine, load it up with trash change until you reach the $2.00 point, and then hit the coin return. A toonie — a useable piece of change — will come at you.

Bing bang boom PROFIT. You’re welcome.

 

If you’ve made it this far, I truly applaud you. Thank you. As a reward, here are some actual things I’ve done to save some money/time:

1. I learned how to do my own eyebrows, which means I no longer have to deal with a) booking eyebrow appointments and driving there and b) paying for it. Are my eyebrows ever perfect? No. Do I always look a little busted? Yes. Do I care about either of these things? Not even slightly.

2. I only get my hair cut once a year. Granted, I have hair that doesn’t split easily, and I don’t dye it, so I don’t have to go in for touch ups. Every year in the fall, I go snip off about 6-10 inches; this is a double-win because I only spend about $60 annually on hair care, AND I get to donate the locks.

3. I prepare food based on the limiting agent. I don’t meal prep in the “common” way, where I make three to five meals worth of food and segment them into specific meal containers. While this works for many people, I find that I get bored of eating the exact same thing for a whole week, it takes a long time to prepare that amount of food at once, and I also don’t own enough tupperware for this method.

Instead I cook enough of the one food that takes the longest (i.e. wild rice) to last a full week, and then prepare the rest of the food in 10-15 minutes on a day-to-day basis (i.e. cutting up the veggies and making the dressing for a salad).

4. I plan and order what my next item purchases will be. For example, the next three items I buy are going to be loafers, a new pair of workout leggings, and a table lamp (in that order). Planning prevents me from impulse buying items I don’t really need and lets me focus money spending on specific goals.

 

Living in a culture where everyone seems to be spending their time doing exciting things (i.e. going on spring break trips, spontaneously flying to Paris) and owning luxurious things, it’s easy to feel a inadequate with my lack of funds and time. As much as I want to be perfectly content with my current situation, I’m not ashamed to admit I wish I could catch a flight to Bali.

And that’s okay.

Comment the biggest hustle you’ve ever committedOne time I paid for a slushie at Mac’s with a bus ticket.

Coming up next: all of my friends have left me but at least i have a bicep now