Hi everyone! Long time no see! I’ve been contemplating writing this post for about a month now. I have this pressure to somehow perfectly recap the past four months of my life all while perfectly articulating my feelings during that time in order to justify why I kind of just disappeared. Well, I’m setting aside the perfectionist voice in my head today to just give it my best shot. So here goes.
February/March: Alternative Spring Break (#ALTBREAK2022) 🚐
Late March brought around and the first major event of the year happened: I co-led an environmental service-learning spring break trip for my university student job! This program is known as Alternative Spring Break. If you’re curious to know more about it, I posted a vlog of my experience with the 2019 program on my channel:
Co-leading the 2022 Alt Break program was an extremely special opportunity for me. It represented this amazing full-circle moment as I stumbled upon this program in 2019 just looking for something to do during spring break, and three years (and a pandemic) later, I found myself leading the same exact program.
With that being said, coordinating the program is a lot of work. Over the course of ten weeks, my co-lead and I dedicated 20 hours a week to planning the itinerary for the week-long trip, including phone calls and zoom meetings with community partners to schedule service projects and educational sessions, meal planning for a 10-person cohort (including all types of dietary restrictions), meetings in the evenings with our cohort to introduce them to the program and start building team dynamics before send off, getting certified to drive a twelve-passenger van and making sure we double and triple checked our driving directions, and lots lots more.
Though it was really stressful, my head and my heart were fully invested in making the program as educational and meaningful for my cohort as it was for me as a participant three years earlier. So…needless to say, I was mentally and emotionally encapsulated with planning the 2022 program all throughout February and March.
And by the way…it went AMAZING! Here is a picture of my cohort on top of Lower Table Rock (a nature preserve close to Medford, Oregon–I’m second to last on the right)!
April: First Full-Time Job + SO Much More 🌿
So even though Alternative Spring Break was the major event of February and March, there was something else pretty big also happening in the background. A major point of stress for me during the first couple of months of 2022 was knowing that I was graduating soon and I needed to find a job after college ended. So, throughout January and February, I was hunting and applying to job postings related to environmental work.
At the very end of February, I found a posting for a year-long paid internship with a nonprofit called The Institute For Applied Ecology. The job posting was literally what my environmental science dreams are made of. So, I applied and interviewed for the position, and…I got it. I interviewed with IAE in the afternoon on a Thursday, and by Friday evening, I got an offer. Less than 24 hours later.
Here are my Snapchats on the day I interviewed and the day I got the offer:
I was thrilled and SO relieved to have landed my first job in my field even before graduating college. However…there were two major problems: 1) the start date for the job was April 4th, AKA: a whole two months before I graduated. And 2) I still had my student job, and at this point in February, alt break was still in planning. I couldn’t just bail out of my student job and planning the alt break program!
So, throughout February and March, I was actually applying and interviewing for jobs while still doing school while still working at my part-time student job. And when the alt break program was over at the beginning of April and my new job had started, I opted to stay with my student job for the remainder of the academic year. Only now, I was only doing 4-6 hours a week instead of 20.
So, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down at this point, I essentially committed myself to the following:
- 11 credit hours of classes left to graduate
- 4-6 hours/week at my part-time student job
- 36-40 hours/week at my new outside-of-school job
This is what my Google calendar looked like from April 4th all the way until June 3rd:
So…yeah. Needless to say, a girl was busy.
May: First Apartment! 🏠🔑
With commencement just a month away at this point, I was stressed out trying to lock in a place to stay for post-graduation. Prior to moving, I was living in the dorms on campus, and my university PROMPTLY kicks you out after finals week ends unless you’re staying for summer housing (which I couldn’t do because I was graduating). So from mid-April/into May, I got serious about apartment hunting. I made this whole Google Sheet (that I will not show obviously for privacy), that consisted of the apartment complex name, the address, the rent per month, the utilities included/not included, how far away it was from my new job (walking/driving time), and any pros/cons I noticed while touring.
…Well as it turns out, I did all of that almost for nothing because the very first building I toured I went with 😅 oops lol
On May 11th, 2022, exactly one month away from commencement, I moved into my first ever studio apartment!
Here’s what the empty unit looked like when I first moved in:
And here’s what it looks like today!
(I’m still working on getting a frame for my bed oops).
Living here has been a good first step so far. Don’t get me wrong, this complex isn’t bad, it just isn’t the housing situation of my dreams either. All and all though, I’m just very thankful I was able to find an affordable place so quickly! I’ll be here until May of next year, and we’ll see where the wind blows me from there.
June: GRADUATION TIME! 🎓🎉🍾
If you’re wondering how on Earth I got through two months of such a hectic schedule, the answer is simply because I knew the end was in sight. My college commencement ceremony was on June 11th, 2022. I quite literally had an Instagram countdown to graduation going to remind myself that this was the final stretch of my college journey. And even though there was so much going on for me at this time, I tried to remind myself to soak it in as it was ending.
And of course, here are some grad pics and TikToks I made on commencement day:
To say graduating took a weight off my shoulders is such an understatement. I’m sitting here talking about all of this in retrospect, but while I was in it, there were days that I swore I just wasn’t gonna make it. The pressure of doing well in my classes while also trying to stay engaged with my student job during the very few hours a week I was working while also trying to settle in and adjust and learn the ropes of my new job was…..so hard. I definitely cried a lot throughout April and June. Although honestly, I probably still cried more during the six months I was taking physics (*shudders*), so if that didn’t kill me, this wouldn’t either.
July: I’m 22! 🎉🎂
It is July 22nd when this post goes live—AKA: my 22nd birthday! 🎉🎂
Time is absolutely flying by. It’s hard to remember to take it all in as I’m settling into this new phase of my life. There have been a couple of nights these past few months that I have looked around and just started crying because I feel like I blinked and arrived at the doorstep of adulthood. It’s overwhelming, to say the least. Nevertheless, today I find myself feeling grateful and happy to have made this 22nd lap around the sun, and looking forward to whatever comes next ☀️
Now to go get ready to take 22nd birthday pictures in the park! 📸🌳
Until next time ♡
One thought on “Life Updates & Hiatus Explained”
It has humbled me watching you take this journey. You have never ceased to amaze me.
So many adventures in front of you! 💖, Dinah