Life After College|Adulting in Real Life Finance Edition

Greetings Daizies,

I’m one month into working full-time, living in my first apartment, and finally having my cat living with me. I’m in the chapter I’ve always wanted. I have all the freedom of an adult and of course all of the responsibilities too. I originally was going to write an overview of life after college so far but turns out I had a lot to say about finances alone so here’s my piece on what I’ve learned about finances so far after 6 weeks working full-time and living solo.

Getting an Apartment

There are so many things I did not know that I thought I did. For one, when looking for an apartment, I was certain that all I needed to move in was the deposit. That’s all. In July, my dad told me I needed first month’s rent. I was stunned lol. What I had saved and what I would need were two different things and I was planning to move the next month. I had to think of all sorts of backup plans. But it worked out( thankfully). But the time between moving in and my first paycheck, funds were running on E. I had to use my credit card for most things which worked but was also stressful.

Paying Bills

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When I used to have 5 other people to split it with, all of a sudden I’m just splitting it with me, myself, and I. There’s so many different types of bills. There’s bills I didn’t even know I’d incur. But here I am having these funds exit my account lol. Having a list of all bills, the amount, and due dates will be really helpful for me as some are new, some are old, and most have different due dates.

Enroll in Auto-Pay for Bills

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“Uh ah Mr.Hart, didn’t go through. I even swiped it 3 times!”

I was so stressed when it was the fifth of the month and I had an email that my payment didn’t go through. “Where imma live?” I had to double check my funds and saw that it was coming out of the wrong account that wasn’t set up for bills anyway. The bank has 4 days to post that the payment went through, and for days I never saw any money come out of my account. Next time, I would follow up right away because after the grace period of 4 days is when you get a late fee. To avoid all of the confusion of having to make sure the right accounts are associated with rent, I went ahead and enrolled for auto pay so I don’t have to be at work thinking I’m about to get evicted.

Calling the Bank

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I called my bank and got the insufficient funds fees waived for that month. That’s a thing you can do. They want to make sure they keep “valued customers”. I had to ask a lot of questions regarding my accounts and getting answers to questions rather than assuming. Call the bank, call the rental office, call anyone in charge of your funds and fees if you have any sort of question.

Set Reminders for Yourself

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There’s some other non-tech friendly bills out there like water, utilities, etc. I have to actually call to pay it since they require Internet Explorer to access the online option. So I have it tacked to my wall and a deadline set on my phone.

Student Loans

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Okay so now they want their money. One of the lenders sent me a letter basically like “We say that you’ve graduated, congrats….so your date date is such and such date thanks bye”. So they really not gonna forget that I borrowed money? I didn’t have to take out too many loans so I am trying to pay my amount off fast and go (fast fast fast…fast like a lambo skrt skrt skrt) *Whoever can guess that song lyric gets points* I think it’s best I set up auto payment for that as well. I was also in the process of consolidating my loans when I looked carefully at the new offer and found that they were offering a higher interest rate. Now what is the point of consolidating just to get a higher interest rate? Since my plan is to pay the amount within 2 years, to me it made no sense to do all of that application work just to get a worse interest rate. I was 2 seconds away from signing but I’m glad I READ THE TERMS! Don’t just sign up for something because it sounds good.

Benefits

There’s a 30 day window to enroll in benefits if your employer offers them. Depending on what system is used, the options might save as soon as you select them. For example, I had started the process and had an idea of the medical and dental options I wanted so I selected the options and clicked the bubbles. I wanted to come back to it and confirm. Next thing I know, I’m getting the insurance card and welcome packet in the mail. I’m like I didn’t even finalize my decision! Welp too late lol. But good thing I picked the one I actually was comfortable with and was going to select anyways otherwise I would’ve been upset. Be careful with selecting an option even if you think they aren’t final.

There’s also the process of enrolling in 401k and company stock. I’m honestly still learning and I’m glad I can still change my options. I think I’ll have more knowledge and information once I get advice from my uncle who’s an expert on finances.

Day-to-Day Budgeting

It’s tempting to go on a shopping spree considering I live so close to all the places I love to shop. There’s a wide variety of sprees, I want all new makeup, fall wardrobe, shoes, hair products, and accessories. If I went out for all of those themes I would probably go overboard. I plan to set out a time to shop for each of those  types of things separately so that I don’t end up overspending and buying stuff just to buy it. Right now my most common expenses are groceries, cat food, and hair and skin products(I just love them). But I limit myself to doing major hauls and want to have a shopping list and a limit before I go out here and do the most. There’s things I love, things I like, and things I can’t live without (rent, food, utilities). Now that my big expenses are out of the way(furnishing my house, the deposit, etc), I want to start saving for things I love such as traveling and investing in my creativity. So that means having control and a plan with what money goes to things I like (hair products, clothes, shoes). That’s where I’m at with budgeting right now.

I hope this might help someone soon entering the “real world” and I hope to master this area of finance. I’m sure it’ll take a lot of practice and learning, just like everything else. Feel free to drop some gems if you have any. Follow my blog and subscribe for email updates, check out my latest YT video on: DaibyDai, and follow my FB page for more content!

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As always,

 

-POP (1)

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Meanwhile in July

I love everything right now. I love not having to glance at my planner every day. The making of plans as I go. Being able to get up and go. Sleeping 12 hours. Traveling. Whether the trips are long or short, far or near. Just being. It’s a breath of fresh air. I just finished Americanah by Chimamanda Adicihie and I suddenly had this urge to write. I loved how the words added such unique detailed. Like without it, a certain essence of the character or the scene would’ve been lost. I would read for hours on end. Sometimes I  read till the birds started chirping. I previously never had the time to truly get lost in a book like that. I rediscovered my love of reading this past year. I love learning and relearning things about myself. This is the rest and fun I wanted for my break. I can do anything or I can do nothing at all. Everything is up to me. Now I have applied for an apartment. I keep imagining what it’s going to be like. A new neighborhood, a new routine. All in literally a month. What is it gonna feel like to be comfortable with the newness, for everything to be normal. I’ll go to work. An actual career. The one I wrote about on my vision list. It’s all happening just around the corner. A lot of my posts have some type of purpose and usually it’s planned. But not this one. I thought it would be nice to just reflect on the time in between one chapter and the next. Reflecting on this beautiful break I’ve had from the grind.The time of living life and having no responsibilities or deadlines to meet. I am on to new memories. One’s I’ll probably still talk about for years to come. This year has truly been one of my favorite. I am where I want to be.

As always,

-POP

 

Each Step Led to This Dai… UW GRAD 2018!

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Greetings Daizies!

I finished school a few months ago in March and since then I’d been patiently awaiting my official graduation ceremonies that would commence in June. I spent time visiting family and evens started a brief part time job tutoring and cherished my new relaxed pace of life remembering my vigorous schedule from college.  Oh yes I remember waking up to a to do list of “class, class, study, office hours, practice for interviews, homework, midterm practice” and then sleep and do the whole thing over again. I put all of my energy into making sure I did everything I could to get the best grades possible and secure a job for when I graduated. The actual graduation ceremonies would signify that I was completely and totally done. My college experience would come to an end.

My time off has been a break long needed and deserved. I loved being able to plan out my graduation photoshoot and all of the exciting details without having the stress of studying for classes and finals. Eventually June 3rd rolled around and I was so happy I was finally going to walk the stage after 4 years of hard work!

June 3rd – Foster School of Business Graduation

I spent my entire Saturday watching the latter half of season 3 of Parks and Recreation and doing the twist out of my life. It took my 5 hours to do my hair.  Small, precise twists with no gaps, tangles, or bulges. I fell in love with Shea Moisture’s Red Palm Oil and Cocoa Butter stretch pudding. After my grad photo shoot, I knew it was going to be a twist out product staple. Anyways, I was confident that my hair was gonna be poppin’ for my very special day. I answered as many last minute questions from frantic and excited family members as I could. But overall I was focused on maintaining a relaxed mood and taking the experience in.

That morning I woke up an hour before my alarm. My stomach started pulsating and my heart was beating fast. I was so nervous and excited. I always wake up early when it’s a big day for me. It wasn’t an interview, a big test, or anything I had to endure over the past 4 years… it was MY GRADUATION! When it was finally time to get up, I did yoga as usual but this time my eyes began to water as I began to contemplate how hard I worked, the obstacles I faced, and how much I dreamed of this day. For many years it seemed so far away but I was finally walking through the end of the tunnel to experience the light.

I thought back to 3 years ago, freshman year. I was taking my remaining prerequisites to get into the business school ranked #1 in the PNW and #14 in the nation for public universities. I was ready to take on the challenge and knew that that was where I belonged. I worked long nights, went to tutoring almost every day for Math 111/112 and breezed through Stats 220. I was so happy for the Daizha that was crushed after BARELY passing the Econ 201 and 200 prerequisites. I could clearly remember how anxious I was thinking about having to choose a backup majors just in case business school didn’t work out. I thought about how vicious the curves were in weed-out classes like ACCTG 215. I had an extra prep class at 7 IN THE MORNING *now i could never see myself taking an 8 am class in my entire life* but I sacrificed a comfortable start time for extra practice for accounting. And when I submitted my application I checked it over and over again before submitting only to have to wait for an entire month to find out the results. As I waited for the results, I had to calm myself down as my heart raced each night thinking about if I would have my dream of being in the business school. Fast forward to June 3rd, I was in my room, doing yoga and preparing to graduate with a bachelor’s in Business Administration majoring in both Marketing and Information Systems!

I was so excited to get to the stadium. I tried to eat as much as my nerves would allow me but don’t worry, I had some snacks in my purse lol. I saw some people I never saw in my life and some familiar faces from group projects I’d had over the years. I found my front row squad and we walked around to find our entrance. I could hear the crowd buzzing and we actually were about to start. I was one of the first people to walk out and the energy was amazing. I saw and heard my family cheering for me! It was an amazing experience. The ceremony just about flew by and I walked across the stage with a huge smile on my face and a twirl for the gawds.

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Dubs up!
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Pure happiness

Even though it was cold and rainy at first, it made me feel so good that my family planned and decorated for my graduation beach party. I felt warm on the inside no matter the weather. It just felt good to be celebrated and congratulated for something I worked for. I loved my mom’s idea of every guest going around in a circle and saying their memories, thoughts, and favorite things about me. Words mean a lot to me. I’d say words of affirmation is my love language. And hearing how I’ve made others feel and all of the nice things my friends and family had to say about made me feel so special and appreciated.  I will always look back at that video when I need it.

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The sun came out for us! Family photo 🙂

 

June 8th – Black Graduation

I had a some days in between my first and second graduation. I was just having a pretty awesome week. I got to show my dad around Seattle for the first time and spend time with him while he was here. I had so many leftovers from my grad party that I’m still craving till this day. But low and behold it was time for Black Graduation 2018! I would finally be one of the black graduates receiving their kente stole. This day was a little hectic in the beginning I must say. Nails falling off, couldn’t find my preferred lashes, unexpected things, more rain, etc. I was feeling a little off for a minute but once the ceremony and speeches started I was just like ” oh well let’s just enjoy this” and decided to be in the moment. It was still a good week and the celebration must continue. This graduation was special because I was with all of the black students I experienced UW with. It’s a small small world as a black student at a PWI so it was beautiful to have a celebration just for us. I had fun on the stage too! Peep the video below lol.

 

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June 9th- UW Commencement

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The next day was big graduation with all of the graduates from the entire school, from bachelor’s on up to doctorates. Tons of people had been saying how long and boring the graduation would be or had been for them but I was still determined to go because you only graduate from university for the first time once. The rain held out this time for a while, thank God, because it was on the football field. I was literally running to my entrance so I wouldn’t miss the walk out time but I made it! I was so HYPED seeing how a huge football stadium filled with people all excited. I was so so happy to see my mom stand up and cheer for me in that huge crowd as I walked in. It was my final graduation of the week. This one was for the college experience as a whole. This stage in my life of so much growth and accomplishment. I was celebrating all of that.

All of the departments sat with each other and when it was time to present the business school, we were formally granted our degrees! OFFICIAL OFFICIAL OFFICIAL. A pleasant surprise was actually walking the stage to shake hands and receive my beautiful degree case. I thought we were only going to stand up and sit down but yay I got to walk the stage in the stadium. Literally this day was just so fun and the ceremony didn’t feel long at all.

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At the end, when the seats were almost empty, I gazed the entire stadium and took a deep breath. I really finished. The chapter was completely over. And I was like wow I’m actually going to miss this school. My eyeballs started watering again lowkey (aka crying) but it was like saying goodbye to an era where I became the adult me. I really took my whole life into my hands and learned how to take care of myself on my own. And now my life really changes from here on out.

I came in with a mission and I completed it. A college degree is a privilege that I am so grateful for and I don’t take lightly. It means so much to know that I can take care of myself financially and have the career that I’ve dreamed of having.Generational poverty no longer can have a hold on my lifeI can be a role model for my younger families and they can see that it’s possible to go to college, to travel, to take risks, and to do anything they want to do!  I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to receive a degree from a 4 year university. I’m grateful for all of the challenges, trials, and tribulations that I experienced while in college and because of college because they made me even an even stronger person.

Graduation season was everything I could’ve imagined and even more! Through the ups and downs I know that …. Each step led to this, Dai.

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Love always,

-POP

Mission Accomplished | I Graduated from College!

Greetings Daizies,

Two weeks ago I finished my last final, walked out of school and became a free woman ready to enter the real world. My last blog post I wrote about my feelings regarding my upcoming departure of school and I thought I would miss it. But let me tell you, I have never felt more relaxed and chill in all of my 4 years of college. I actually don’t miss school lol. The days leading up to my last final, I was just so excited. I worked so hard each and every quarter, so to finally get to the point of reaching my goal felt well deserved and like a huge relief. My overall feeling is relaxed and accomplished.

I have about 2 months until my actual graduation ceremony. I’m so excited to finally have this experience. It seemed like 2018 was so far away but these last few months flew buy and it’s finally my time to shine and celebration graduation season. I have quite some time between now and when I start working so I’m fully taking in my extended time off with some planned travels and also going with the flow, taking it day by day. I’m still carrying on with not planning every single thing of my life which continues to bring me peace and comfort in knowing everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.

I’ll be writing a seperate blog post about my trip to Las Vegas, Nevada.

In my spare time, I started a new Instagram blog called FroAndTravel dedicated to the beauty of natural hair while being flawless abroad. I hope this wonderful break will bring out my best creative juices and I’m excited to have more time to put my energy towards things I love.

Here’s some pics of me living my best life 🙂

Shirt: H&M $7

Shoes: Payless $15

Pants: Forever 21 $18

Photo cred: Martha Girma

 

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-POP

Someone Who Plans Everything Learning to Embrace Series of Changes

Hey Daizies!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful year so far. I wanted to take some time to blog about how life is going and what I’m feeling as one chapter in my life closes and another one begins.

February is almost over and just like that I have only 3 weeks of college. I’ve seen 3 weeks and 3 months pass by, so I know it’s only a matter of time before I am finishing the last question of my last final. I’ll walk out of the classroom and that’ll be it. I’ll really be done. I’ve probably dreamed of this day for forever! This quarter is the first quarter since my semester abroad where I could really breathe. I only have two classes and they aren’t the type where I have to put in extra hours to study and go to tutoring and just pray I pass. I’m actually doing just fine. And the thing I smile about is that everything I was worried about during my time in college, worked out to how it was supposed to. These classes that I feel confident about are both Information Systems classes. The subject I was so nervous and sometimes felt inadequate of taking or even adding it as my second business concentration. It worked out.

It Feels Good to Breathe

I wake up on Mondays, whenever I want just as long as it’s before 12:15pm. I go to class and lowkey can’t wait till it’s over. I don’t have a to-do list full of things I so desperately need to finish. I could go to the gym, go to the mall, get my nails done, and even come home and watch 2000s black movies.  It feels so good to breathe. I worked so so hard to be in the place where I have my dream job after college and where I can feel good about what I’ve done in college. I’ll never forget the grind though. Last quarter up until about mid-November, it was rush rush rush. Every hour of the day was dedicated towards something school or recruiting related. And any moment or second I wasn’t busy felt like I was wasting time. I’d be lucky if I could sneak in an episode while I tied my hair up for the night and woke up to do the same thing over again. I remember the panic in my heart as I knew this one test could make or break my ability to stay above a certain GPA which meant scholarships, job opportunities, or even getting into my major. I remember going to office hours twice a week, finding the perfect Youtube professor, and reading the lectures and book chapters before class for a whole quarter, only to get a 2.0 in the class in the end. I remember calculating my grades and assignments mid-quarter to see what the absolute worst case scenario could be that still meant passing the class. I struggled up until my senior year when I thought everything would suddenly become easier. I worked so so hard. And now it’s time to celebrate and just be proud of myself.

A Little Nervous Though

Sometimes my heart beats a little faster thinking about a whole new life ahead. A different schedule. Different responsibilities. Moving. Figuring things out. Having a real job. This routine, people around me, and the atmosphere are all so familiar. I’m comfortable. It’s comforting. So yes I’m a little nervous of having college end. I’m gonna miss the experience. The experience of growing up and learning. Finding things to do around Seattle, the memories, and the excitement of college life. But I am so glad I did everything I wanted to do in college. I took risks. I lived. I know there’s more living to do so I try not to feel like college is the only time I can be fun and adventurous lol! There’s gotta be more on the other side, even though the other side seems scary.

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I find myself just wanting to take pieces and moments of my life and combine them to form an ideal life. If I could take this part of this year or that moment from that month then I could have full control over how I feel. I admit sometimes I just want things to stay the same. People to not leave. Things to not catch me off guard. But I’m gonna try being more flexible. Breathe. Let go. Not plan every single thing even down to how I want to feel. Just breathe. Learn to let go. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s okay to make mistakes. 

Rejection = New Opportunities

I look back at all the things I was most nervous about in college and I just sigh with relief and smile with contentment that everything worked out the way God planned. It’s sometimes so annoying to think about taking my own advice of realizing everything works out for the best because in the moment, the emotions and struggle feel so heavy, so strong and so strong. The feeling of not knowing and having plans just take a turn is something that can sometimes just cloud the wisdom I know I have. It’s like how can I possibly not worry when it feels like my whole life just got flipped upside down? Spring quarter of my freshman year, I applied to one of the coveted intern spots for a Boeing program. I was sure this was going to help me get my foot in the door of an amazing company and I wouldn’t have to worry about my career options if I just succeeded as an intern. I felt it would probably even help my chances of getting into the business school! After the workshops and getting my application reviewed numerous times, I was hoping for good news. When I found out I didn’t get that internship, I was devastated. That, in my mind, was the path I needed to succeed. But you know what, it just wasn’t meant. I did have an unpaid internship that year but made the most of my experiences and let that shine during the application process for business and for my next internship at T-Mobile. That was 3 years ago. I thought one thing was going to lead me to landing a great job but my route changed for the better.

As I type this, it’s like wow I really need to take my own advice lol. There’s still some things in my personal life occurring and I’m just like “why?”. I really can’t see where God is going with this. What is to come of this? Again, I’m full of plans and meticulous about each step I take. I could do everything I think is “right” and it still no work out they way I expect it. I don’t know everything. I can’t control everything, no matter how far in advance I plan. It’s okay. Like with the Boeing internship, just because that didn’t work out it didn’t mean I wouldn’t get other internships and lead me to landing a full-time position in marketing at Microsoft. So I still don’t have explanations for everything that happens in life but that’s just why I have to take it step by step and daibydai.

 

Happy New Year! | 2018 I’m Ready

Happy New Year Daizies!

Letting go of the trials and tribulations of 2017 and accepting my blessings for 2018! I’m feeling relaxes, excited, and just ready for what the year has to offer. I’ve taken time to write in my journal and this time organized my goals in categories such as health, finances, career, school etc. This is just a short excerpt to bring in the new year and post my favorite New Years pictures!

 

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Cheers,

-POP

 

Update: Summer 2017 Fitness

Greeting Daizies,

I wanted to post an update regarding my summer 2017 fitness goals.During the earlier part of summer, I had signed up for a YMCA membership and was going to the gym 3 times a week. My ultimate goal was to loose 15 pounds by the time school started, become stronger, and have a healthier diet.

Readjusting my Weight-loss Goal to No Weight-loss Goal at All

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Fast forward to now and my outlook on fitness has completely changed. I was so adamant about loosing 15 pounds in order to achieve the weight I had when I was studying abroad. Now, I am not all about weight-loss. Last fall of 20016, I was traveling almost every week which meant walking about 20-30 miles a week. My lifestyle has changed and I don’t want to be stuck trying to force my body to maintain the weight I had at 20 or in high school.

What I’m focused on now is being active in a way that is sustainable. I’ve spent majority of college and actually most of my life with some sort of weight loss goal. Even in middle school I wanted loose weight, usually a small amount, but I always wanted to change something. At some point you gotta just be happy with how your body changes and the way it is.  I’m finally at that point now. My body changes as my lifestyle changes and I want to be more focused on working my way up to actually exercising frequently even when I get busy.

Now I want to focus more on my goal of improving my performance with working out rather than weight loss. This means, being able to run a little longer and lift 10 pound weights with my squats eventually. My weight will fluctuate a few pounds up and down and having a strict schedule of loosing weight became frustrating and wasn’t that fun. I’m at a healthy weight for my height, so I don’t want to put so much pressure on myself to loose so much weight just to be at the same size I was when I was younger. I want to love and appreciate the way my body is now.

Nap or Gym?

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The hardest thing with staying consistent was actually leaving my house to go workout once the weather started getting cold. After class and work, the main thing that’s on my mind is taking a nap, and once I’m in the house I’m in the house.It’s rainy season during the fall and winter, and there’s not much that can make me leave the house once I’m inside lol.So there were several weeks where I was in the zone juggling school and finding the motivation to exercise even at home was difficult. Towards the end of the summer, that fire slowly died down as I was so eager to end work and go to Ghana. When school started I went maybe once a month, and three times this month of December. Sometimes, I did workouts at home when I felt like it. Next year I hope to feel like it more, or maybe incorporate light exercise into my morning routine of yoga. I’ll have more time in the morning/afternoon since my classes start a little later next quarter (it’s my last quarter omg!).

But What About All Those Swiss Rolls?

Okay I can admit my diet hasn’t change much since my summer article. I pretty much eat whatever I want.  On a weekly basis I will most likely eat my famous homemade sub sandwich, some form of chicken and rice, peppered steak, oatmeal/cereal/bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. I’d say overall I have an average/healthy diet. I always have some apples, grapes, bananas, and oranges in rotation and of course I’m drinking plenty of water. But I am a sweets person, and I did just eat a box of swiss rolls to myself within 3 days lol. I hate depriving myself of what I love (chocolate cakes and cookies lol) so why should I? I just know that once I start, it’s hard to stop. Therefore, not getting into the habit of ALWAYS buying Tollhouse cookies and Simply juices are better for me. I “try” *keyword is “try”*

Overall, my biggest health success was accepting my body weight as is and having a more positive body image and increasing my water intake.

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Have a great New Year everyone!-POP