How to Survive After College: Setting Up Your Career Outside of Classes

Monday, January 13, 2014

The new year has begun and several colleges and universities begin classes today for the start of second semester. Seniors are now embarking on their last semester of college, and, for some, their last semester of formal schooling.

The Amazing College Life
Many would say that college is the best four years of a person's life. After having been through it and now three and a half years removed, I would tend to agree. The great experiences of college are hard to beat. This makes the transition from the college life to "the real world" that much more difficult. It is completely normal to be stressed out about what life will be like post-graduation. But don't worry, this article is intended to relieve some of those worries that so many people experience.

The Graduate School Option
A high proportion of college graduates chose the option to go to some form of graduate school. For some, this is an excellent choice, but for many others, the decision is misguided. Although some people have a genuine desire to advance in a particular field of study, others chose to go to graduate school as a way of postponing the inevitable job hunt. To the latter, I would say, hold off.

The job market is scary, especially with an economy that has yet to fully recover. However, the hectic job hunt is actually an extremely valuable experience. It also helps people realize what they are capable of while placing graduates in a more motivated position if they do eventually start graduate school.

But What About Law School?
Many people, including myself, chose to go to law school because they do not know what they are going to do with their life. On the surface, law school seems like a great alternative to testing the job market and figuring things out. After all, law school provides a clean slate because it really does not matter what a student majored in during undergrad to be successful in law school. For this reason, I remember promoting law school to friends when I began applying to schools. Yet, I realized I was very misinformed; after all I was talking up an important life decision without even going through it!

It was not until I began law school that I realized that it was normal to take a few, or in some cases several, years off before going to law school. I was absolutely shocked to find out that I was actually in the minority of students who decided to go straight from undergrad to enrolling in law school that same year in the Fall. What I lacked was an unbiased mentor to direct me in my decision to go to law school.

In hindsight, I realize that I was very unprepared for law school. Although there are exceptions, typically the students who had a few years of life experience were the most successful in law school. This was far more important than the course of study that was pursued at an undergraduate university. This makes sense for two very big reasons:
1. Later in age you are more likely to encounter several real-life situations that are actually highly applicable to the law. Experiences such as getting a loan, buying a car, buying a house, getting married, having children, having your own insurance, signing a lease, and even bankruptcy are all concepts that are very relevant course of study at law school.
2. After testing the job market many people become unhappy with what they are doing for a living and become motivated for a career change. This is similar with what I have said about the decision to postpone going to other graduate programs. Many people have more confidence in themselves and are prepared and highly motivated to perform well in law school.

I now firmly believe that it is never too late to start law school, but it is sometimes too early.

Don't Worry It's Not All Doom and Gloom
Despite the fun that is college, things really are not that bad on the other side. If you embrace the new challenges life throws at you no matter how much uncertainty you may have post-graduation, you will ultimately be much better for it. That is the perfect time to really find out what you want in life and how far you are willing to go to achieve your goals. You may have a hard time finding a job that pays much more than minimum wage. But there is no shame in taking low-income employment as you begin to realize how much more potential you actually have. If, even with your Bachelor's, you come to realize how difficult it is to find employment, you will have a greater desire to get an advanced degree. When you are still in your early 20s, you are at a perfect stage in life to really experiment. Your parents and society may expect better of you, but your long-term objectives can wait as you develop as a person.

Why You Should Set Up You Career Outside of Classes While Still in College.
Graduate school is excellent for students who know what they want to do. But it is not for the uncertain, it should not be thought of as a means to postpone the inevitable job hunt. It is important to take some time out and truly weigh your options before making a decision on pursuing graduate education. If in the end, you cannot figure it out...test the job market with the understanding that your decision in no way will keep you from going to graduate school the next year or two.

There are so many opportunities out there and although you may not get the salary you ultimately were hoping for with an undergraduate degree, you get the experience which is priceless. During your last semester of school, you have the opportunity to get a head start on the job search. I say head start because you can begin applying for work while still in school. Instead of the LSAT or GMAT, you can take a vocational exam (such as an insurance exam). Even if you do not immediately find work you desire, that is okay--you are still a full-time student you are not supposed to be fully employed yet. You may end up being dissatisfied that the best job you could find was serving mocha cappuccinos. But whatever happens, you have nowhere to go but up! And don't forget, the door to graduate education is still open!

Top Ten Commercials of 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

As 2013 wraps up, there have been several great commercials this year so I have compiled a list of what I believe to be the top ten commercials of 2013. And in reverse order, here we go:

#10: T-Mobile Jump:

#9: Hyundai Pick Your Team:

#8: Chlorox Life's Bleachable Moments

#7: AT&T It's Not Complicated (I have to put one of these AT&T commercials up here, especially considering they are not scripted)

#6: Greenies

#5: Big Gas Prices

#4 State Farm Mime Commercial

#3: Cox Internet Speed

#2: Kmart Ship My Pants:

#1: Camel Hump Day

Liberty Mutual Insurance's Claim of Saving on Car Insurance

Friday, December 13, 2013

Because of my membership of the American Bar and as a Boston College alumni, I have received mail from Liberty Mutual Insurance promising a special discount on car insurance (with a particular savings pin). I was considering switching car insurance because I felt I was overpaying. The Liberty Mutual advertisements I received claimed to save me hundreds annual compared to State Farm, GEICO, or Progressive. As a result, I decided to give Liberty Mutual a call.

I immediately found out how poor of a deal Liberty Mutual was. Despite claiming they would on average be $496.36 lower than Progressive, they were actually WAY higher even for just basic liability insurance. What shocked me too is that this was supposedly with their discounted rate. In the end I found out sometimes it is best to go with companies like Progressive or GEICO who offer a wide range of coverage options and can immediately process and provide coverage.

ACC Football Recap Boston College 31, Syracuse 34

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Yesterday, capped off the last week of the regular season for the Boston College Eagles. Steve Addazio and the Eagles had been riding on a lot of momentum after winning late against Maryland last week and going to Syracuse with 7 wins. Although Boston College had already become bowl eligible two weeks ago, BC still had a lot riding on this game. BC-Syracuse is a historic football rivalry. Further, Boston College running back Andre Williams, the league's leading rusher, was also in the spotlight as a leading Heisman Candidate. Further a win would have given the Eagles eight wins and likely a pretty good bowl game in the postseason; completely dismantling all preseason expectations by the football pundits.

In yesterday's game, Syracuse did a very good job stopping the run early by stacking the box. Although Andre Williams had been seemingly unstoppable in the last three games, this time he was effectively stopped. To make matters worse, Andre William got injured in the third quarter and had to sit out for the rest of the game. But even after the injury to Williams, the Eagles still fought. It was impressive seeing the team rally. Boston College went into the half down, but took a lead late into the game. Unfortunately in the final minutes, some costly penalties alongside awful defense put Syracuse up with six seconds left in the game, which ultimately sealed it.

Unfortunately, the regular season ended with disappointment. But the fact that I am actually disappointed is because I really care about BC football this year. The last two years have been tough to watch, it even appeared as if Frank Spaziani simply gave up on the team. It got to the point where I could no longer watch BC football, despite being a diehard fan from undergrad.

I would have been very upset if the coaching staff took this game for granted and sat comfortably at seven wins, which surpassed preseason goals and was remarkable considering the Eagles were just 2-10 a year ago. But it was clear the coaches and players still brought the energy. Chase Rettig particularly played his heart out to try and get his team the win, unfortunately it did not work out in the end. Chase Rettig, with the help of his team took advantage of the Orange playing against the run and threw for 168 yards. Rettig also ran for another 85 yards. For some quarterbacks this is hardly a notable stat, but Rettig is about the furthest thing off from a dual-threat quarterback. Yesterday, he really brought it in the run game with the help of his teammates.

Overall, though this season has been exciting, which is something I could not have said under Spaz. Things have turned 360 as BC football is fun to watch again. I hope the passion never dies and we continue to go out each game playing hard for the win.

I am really looking forward to the bowl game.

Shame on Dayna Morales - Hoax on a Serious Subject

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, waiter Dayna Morales posted online a photograph of a receipt she claimed to receive. The total bill was for $93.55 and the photograph Morales posted showed that the Morales received no tip and received a hateful message, "I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle." This photo became viral and I remember feeling outraged. Shortly after posting the photo, Morales understandably received a chunk of money her way for people who felt sorry for her.

The photo Morales posted seemed too cruel to be true, but of course I know that there are still plenty of bigots filled with hate in our world. Fortunately, no such hateful message was left. As it turns out Morales made up the entire story. The family that Morales served with the ticket in question has come forward with their copy of the receipt and a credit card statement showing that they actually left a generous tip and no hateful message.

She thought she wouldn't get caught, she thought the actual customers would not have ever saw the fabricated receipt. Dayna Morales has profited at the expense of victims who wanted to help after she endured an act of cruelty. She should be fired immediately and there should be a civil penalty on Morales and/or the Gallop Asian Bistro restaurant. Apparently colleagues have stated that Dayna Morales is a compulsive liar and were unsurprised to hear that she made this up.

What is truly disgusting is that her actions actually hurt the gay rights movement. I find attacks on homosexuality extremely offensive, and I often take them personally. I also know it is extremely tough to be gay or lesbian in this country. I also believe Dayna Morales has probably been needlessly harassed several times in the past based on her sexual orientation. But what she did here is completely disgraceful.

The Case for Andre Williams for Heisman

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Boston College football team stands at 7-4 and with an away win over Maryland, has pretty much solidified a spot in a bowl game. The same Boston College team won just two games last year. It has truly been a team effort under the new coaching leadership of Steve Addazio. But a big reason for Boston College's success revolves around running back Andre Williams.

Andre Williams has been out of the spotlight as sports analysts like disproportionally cover the SEC and the latest scandals. But Andre Williams leads the league in rushing yards at 2,073 and it's not even close. The 2,000+ yards rushing mark has only been achieved by a handful of players, and Williams still has another regular season game to play. Williams also holds the ACC single-game rushing yards record after rushing for 339 yards against North Carolina State. Finally, sports commentators are starting to notice. It is refreshing to see Williams getting some positive press of the possibility of Williams getting a much-deserved invite to New York.

The stats are certainly there, but what Williams has done is greater than what one would see just from the box score. As BC Coach Addazio has mentioned, Andre Williams stands for everything right in college football. He plays his heart out every down for the success of the team. He has also been able to do things that do not seem humanly possible. He can absolutely run through defenders. But what is truly amazing, is that every game opposing defenses gameplan against Andre Williams and the run, and yet still cannot stop him.

If anyone has watched Andre Williams play, they would agree that Andre Williams is as deserving as anyone for the Heisman Trophy. It has been very fun to watch.

Wasting Paper with Boston College Solicitations

Friday, November 22, 2013

I feel like it is almost every week that I get mail asking my to donate to a school I graduated from. It has become quite excessive, even the University of Arizona law school is already sending me mail asking for donations.

A couple days ago I was on the phone with a current student of my alma mater Boston College. When I get a call from BC students that I do not know it can only mean one thing, donations.

The students soliciting donations have a tough job, they are essentially playing the role of those telemarketers that nobody likes, yet the ones calling on behalf of BC do not plan to turn it into a full-time career. I feel a bit bad for the students trying to seek contributions from alumni because, like some telemarketers, they truly mean well. At the same time, they have an uphill battle to fight when asking alumni to donate to a school that likely charged an exorbitant fee just to attend. Certainly most alumni have jobs, but the recent alumni likely make just a tiny fraction of what it cost to attend the university. I graduated just over three years ago and needless to say I am not exactly rolling in the dough.

Anyways, I let the student know that I was unwilling to make a donation over the phone. He said that if I wanted to eliminate the mail I had to make pledge to donate. I responded by saying that I am not influenced to donate by the mail, and each time I have donated has been online independent of the mail I have received. It has gotten to the point that the mail I am getting is in essence "spam" that goes directly to trash, do not pass go. This is an issue with virtually all universities. As much as I support their efforts, I really wish the money asking for donations went directly to the cause as opposed to publishing and distributing this material.

Do the Right Thing: Karma and Great Customer Service

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Image From: Merchant Circle 
I know it has been almost a month since my last post. I am finally getting situated with my life and will try to continue blogging more regularly. This post was influenced by something that happened just recently.

Yesterday, for dinner I was really craving a quick but healthy sandwich so I went into the AJ's Fine Food on I-10 and Ray. I ordered the Caprese sandwich, which was delicious as always. But on this trip something else happened that I really appreciated. I accidentally handed the cashier making my sandwich two dollars too many. I rarely make such a mistake, but somehow I must have miscounted. It was only after the cashier handed me back the extra money that I noticed my mistake. I think this is something that another may try to get away with since it is such a small-dollar-value accident. AJ's has always had a bit higher prices than the place next door, but quality and good customer service make it worth it.

I think it is the little things that people notice and that show we are looking out for another. I recall a recent occasion where I was at the grocery store and noticed someone left $20 in self-checkout. I was so happy after I quickly notified the staff, who apparently knew the person who had recently checked out and left the money.

Such a small act of kindness in the long run may not seem like much, but these are the little things that really show the goodness is people.

Return the favor!