I initially had another post scheduled for today, but I pushed it back for later. May 10th will mark ten years since I graduated from college. Time is freaking flying. I’ve been thinking a lot about what has happened in my life after graduation. There’s been a lot of ups and downs. I’ve even had a few WTF moments. In today’s post, I’m doing a recap of some of the key things that have happened in the last ten years since I graduated from college.
I was just happy to graduate. Honestly, I didn’t apply for many jobs before I graduated. I figured that I’d be able to find something easy (Boy was I wrong). I planned on getting serious and looking for employment after the summer.
This was one of the best summers of my life. I traveled to Las Vegas, Blue & White Weekend, and New York. After being in school for 5.5 years, I figured it was time to celebrate. My personal gift to myself was to visit an MLB stadium each summer. When I went to New York, I got a chance to see a game in the old Yankee stadium.
I was finally getting accustomed to living off-campus. During this time, I lived with a couple of my friends, and I was getting used to paying bills like rent and electricity. I lived on campus during my time in college, so my financial aid took care of everything. I never had to worry about paying these bills. After college that damn sure changed. The six-month grace period for my student loans also ended. I damn near fainted when I saw those statements for the first time. Thankfully, I was able to get my federal loans deferred, but not my private loans. I had to pay something on it.
I went from arguably the best year of my life to one of the worst. The recession was in full effect. I was having a hard time finding a full-time job. I was still working at the job I had when I was in college. Basically, I was surviving, and that’s it. I wasn’t able to save much money during this time. I also was still partying and living like a college student half the time. That was not smart. Life after graduation was kicking my ass.
Man, I hit rock bottom. I broke my cell phone during homecoming weekend, and I only had a couple of bucks in my account. I thank God that I was able to make some money selling CDs at the homecoming tailgate area.
This was when I started working at Wells Fargo bank. I finally got my first full-time job after college! It only took me a year and a half to do it.
I literally don’t know or remember if anything significant happened this year. I was probably in full-fledged zombie mode. Get up, go to work, come home, and repeat. I was still working at the bank and living in Savanah. While I loved Savannah, I began to realize for me to grow as a person, it would be best for me to relocate. I came up with a list of cities that I would consider moving to. Washington D.C., Orlando, and Atlanta were on the list. Atlanta was my third choice. I was in no rush to come back home.
I was still struggling financially and working at the bank. I started to apply for more jobs in other cities. The bank branch that I worked at was robbed. It was a crazy situation. What’s even crazier is that the robber had a plastic gun.
I also started helping my boy Nic with his blog. This was my introduction to blogging.
After applying to hundreds of jobs, I did get a few interviews. I had a phone interview with a company in D.C. The rest were in Atlanta. I ended up transferring to a Wells Fargo in Atlanta. I didn’t want a going-away party or anything, so I didn’t tell many people that I was leaving. I just dipped.
The bank branch in Atlanta was so different than the one in Savannah. We had glass windows and a security guard. We were much busier as well. I also found out that the branch in Atlanta was located in the zip code that received the most counterfeit money in the city. I was glad to be somewhere different, but I knew that I wasn’t going to be there that long.
I only worked as a teller in Atlanta for six months. I could only count money that smelled like marijuana so much. I realized that the job was not for me anymore. This is not what I expected life after graduation to be like. Also, I got tired of trying to get people to sign up for credit cards or loans every time they came to the branch. If a customer had $2 in their savings and $1 in their checking account, how could I ask them to sign up for a credit card? I didn’t want to be the reason that their financial situation got worse.
I also wanted a better work schedule. At Wells Fargo, I had to work two weekends each month, and we didn’t get extended time for certain holidays (Thanksgiving & Christmas). I always wanted to work at a college, so I started applying for jobs at several of them.
I started working at Clayton State University in October 2011. It was my second full-time job. The pay was a little better, but I still wasn’t paying much on my student loans. The federal loans were still in deferment. I’d pay $10 every month or two on my private loans so they wouldn’t go into default. It wasn’t the smartest move, but I had other bills to worry about.
I liked helping the students at CSU, but the job sucked. I felt like a glorified secretary. I was a financial aid assistant, and I did a lot of work. It became repetitive. I got tired of saying things over and over again. I even had a student tell me that he could see that I disliked the job and that I should find something else before I got stuck.
During this time, I also took some classes at CSU. Part of me flirted with the idea of getting another degree, but honestly, I wanted to get a couple of refund checks to give me a buffer. That also wasn’t the smartest thing to do. It added another $10,000 to my debt.
My living situation when I moved back to Atlanta was interesting. I stayed with my mentor initially, but we didn’t see eye to eye on some things, so I left after a few months. I then moved in with a childhood friend. That lasted for a year until I got my own apartment in September 2012.
I also thought a lot about what the hell I wanted to do with my life. One thing I knew was that I had to leave my job somehow. I also realized that I would be turning 30 in 2013, I had a big bucket list goal that I wanted to make happen. I started planning for it.
Earlier in 2012, I started reading different finance blogs. It piqued my interest. My finances weren’t the best, but those blogs showed me that I could get them right if I chose to.
2013 was the year where life after graduation started to get interesting. Sometimes you gotta take a gamble and do what your heart feels. I came up with a date for my bucket list item and put the plans in motion. I wouldn’t advise you to do this.
As I stated earlier, I began reading personal finance blogs in 2012. It was refreshing to see regular people talking about side hustles and making money online. I was intrigued and motivated to do better financially. I started The Butler Journal in March 2013. Who knew that something that started out as a hobby would turn into something much more.
I put in my two week’s notice at CSU. To be honest, I didn’t have another job lined up or a real plan. I just knew that it was time for a change.
From July 1st – July 14th, I drove across the United States of America. I drove from Jacksonville to Los Angeles via I-10. Driving across the country was something that I wanted to do ever since I graduated from high school, so I made it happen. During the trip, I stopped in several cities including Biloxi, San Antonio, Tucson, and Phoenix. That trip was amazing. I visited three MLB stadiums and even won some prizes on The Price is Right. That was two of the best weeks of my life.
I didn’t have a full-time job, but I still had a little money saved, so I wasn’t stressing. I found a part-time gig. I did some canvassing work for one of the local politicians. That job lasted until December.
While 2013 was the 2nd best year of my life after 2008, I can’t say the same for 2014. My savings and Price is Right winnings disappeared quickly. By February of 2014, I was getting close to being broke. I started to apply for any job that I could.
I started working as a delivery driver for Jimmy Johns restaurant and as a ticket event rep for the Atlanta Braves. I never expected to be in this situation with my life after graduation. I had a college degree, but I was working with people that were mostly 8-10 years younger than me. It was a very humbling experience. Quite honestly, I’m glad that I went through it. I was willing to do whatever to make ends meet.
I started working at my current position. I did not want to get back into financial aid initially, but it was something that I knew about, and I figured that I would be able to fit in with the office in no time.
I only worked those two part-time jobs for six months. That wasn’t a long time at all. I learned a good lesson on patience. I was happy to have some stability in my life again finally.
Since I had a decent paycheck again, I called my creditors and let them know that I wanted to get current on my debt. It took me three months, but I was able to get every one of my bills current.
I was also able to start focusing on my debt. I set a goal to have it paid off in 3 years (WTF was I thinking). The amount that I owed was over $72,000.
My website turned two years old. I began to take it seriously. I stopped posting some of the crap that I did in the beginning and started focusing on writing better articles.
I attended my first FinCon. I won a scholarship to attend it a few months before. FinCon is a conference for financial bloggers. It was a life-changing experience for me. I got the chance to meet many of the people who write some of my favorite blogs.
I was able to save an emergency fund. I also eliminated some of my smaller debts. Last but not least, I made payments on my student loans, but the amount didn’t get lower as quickly due to the interest rates.
I attended a family reunion on my Dad’s side. (What’s up Mary!). The reunion was in one of my favorite cities, Washington DC. I had a blast. I took a day trip to Baltimore to check out an Orioles game. As of right now, Camden Yards is my 2nd favorite stadium after Wrigley Field.
I also traveled out of the country for the first time. My best friend got married in Costa Rica. It was an epic trip.
My girlfriend and I took our first trip together. We went to Cuba. It was an awesome experience. You can see our blog posts about it.
I lost my highest source of side hustle income in April. I went from making over $1000 per month in freelancing to making $0. At the end of the day, it was a blessing though. It gave me the opportunity to focus more on my eBay side hustle.
I received a slight raise and a promotion at my job. That money goes towards my debt snowball.
I released my first course, How to Make Money in Your Spare Time With eBay.
And now we are here. I currently have a little over $59,000 worth of debt. It’s safe to say that that I’ll miss my debt-free target date by just a little this year lol. I’ve learned a lot in the last few years in my life after graduation. I’ve stopped waiting for things to happen and began to make them happen. I’m figuring out what works when it comes to side hustling and then sharing that info with my readers.
In the ten years that I’ve graduated from college, I’ve been through some ups and downs. Am I where I thought I’d be ten years ago? Probably not. Am I where I’m supposed to be at right now? Hell yeah. Everything that I went through in the last ten years has prepared me for the very moment. I’m paying down debt and showing people that if I can do it, they can too. I’m looking forward to the success of the next ten years.
Ten years ago, did you think you’d be where you’re at today?