5 things I have learned about postgrad

What day of the week is it again?

It seems I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately. When you live a life of no routine and no set schedule, the week starts to feel like a blur. You’re living day to day, happily exploring, adventuring and couch-potatoeing it out until you realize it’s the weekend again and it’s time to play.

Yes, I know postgrad technically started three months ago, but it hasn’t started to feel real until about three weeks ago when I finally moved out of my home-away-from-home/Irvine apartment. That was the final indication I needed that told me summer is over and the postgrad hustle is well and alive.

I’ve been readjusting myself back home for the past three weeks and realized a few things. I thought I’d share with you some of the realizations I’ve had:

I’ve been gone for a long time.

Whenever I go out in my hometown, I realize just how long it’s been. Four years is a lot of time and–sure–I’ve been back a few times throughout the years while in college, though I always knew that it was temporary (a weekend, week or two’s visit).

Now that I know I don’t have a home elsewhere and that my stay here is permanent (for the time being), I’ve realized how much I’ve grown out of this place. My hometown is a town full of old memories and old identities. Now I’m forced to find myself here again–as a new and grown person. (Whoa.)

Everyone is older than me.

Don’t worry, I’m not calling you “older folk” old, but is it just me or is it everywhere I go, it seems like I’m the youngest one there? Yes, being 22 makes me the “fresh face” of those 21+ clubs and bars but–really–why is it when I look around at potential dates, friends and colleagues, I think, “Gosh. You look so much older than me. You are probably getting paid well; you have your own life and community here; heck, you’re probably ready to settle down!”

Then I look at myself and say, “Wow. I am nowhere near settling down. I am unemployed. And I am a baby.”

It’s only because my community isn’t full of a bunch of college kids anymore. (Hello, real world!)

I appreciate spending time with people a whole lot more.

I don’t see people out of convenience anymore. Whenever I do see people, we both have to put in the time and effort because we have to plan it out, day and time. We also don’t live within walking distance of each other anymore, and it’s not like you can bum it out at my place after midnight. (I mean, if you want to, that’s cool.)

But no. Time is value, and I value your time spent with me. (And vice versa.)

I can feel the urge to chase rational jobs. (And that scares me.)

Ever since I’ve come back home, I’ve realized the need to find a job that pays me–regardless of my long-term career goals that always start off unpaid but are needed for experience. I’ve been revisiting my old desires of being a “diner girl” (cough, Hilary Duff in A Cinderella Story) and barista. I’ve been looking to become a banquet server for catering services and have looked into my own potential for event-planning.

But, we all know rational jobs aren’t as much fun as the ones we’re passionate about. So, always make time for being creative and tending to your heart’s content! It’s the one thing that will keep you going and alive.

This moment is actually the best moment to be in.

Have you realized that as a young person, fresh out of college and with no experience, it allows you to have no expectations, no obligations and nothing to prove? You can make a fool out of yourself, try everything and blame it on being 22. We ought to take advantage of that!

We’ve every excuse in the world to make mistakes. And that’s the greatest fuel for chasing whatever it is you’re curious about.

In one interview I’ve had recently, the lady interviewing me turned into some sort of “big sister” and convinced me to turn down her job offer because 1) it wouldn’t do much for me when there are tons of other, better opportunities for me out there and 2) I am young and have the world to see.

Everyone I have been talking to keeps telling me, “Once you get started working, it’s hard to get out of it. Enjoy this time to be young and free.”

I’ve found that there’s no real rush to start or get myself into meaningless work just for the sake of working. Sure, a side-job would be nice as long as it allows me to gain other relevant experience. But in the end, we are all so young and so confused. And nobody ever knows what they’re doing.

Ever since I’ve come home, I’ve been playing guitar like heck, side-gigging as a guitar teacher to my high school teacher’s daughter and helping my friend with her photobooth business (#photoboothroadie). I’ve also been able to spend some time working on the parts of myself I may have neglected throughout my years growing up (#datingrachel, #veganrachel and #helpingmyfamilyrachel). (#gigstogetmeby)

For once in my life, I’ve been able to cater to myself after eighteen years of straight grind. The first part of my life has all been just one big dress rehearsal for the real show that’s about to come.

Am I ready? Nope. And I don’t think anybody ever is.

I just plan to enjoy this time to be “young and free”–to work hard, make smart moves and fix myself along the way. That’s all I can really do.

With love and honesty,


Update: New video blog added on “5 things I have learned about postgrad” at http://youtube.com/rachelanncauilan.


10 responses to “5 things I have learned about postgrad

  1. This is very helpful, I graduate next year in May and I have no idea what to do or where to start because everything has always been planned out. I guess there really is no real rush to figure it all out because I am still young. I enjoyed this read, thanks for sharing!

  2. “And nobody ever knows what they’re doing.” // That’s me right there as of late, caught between find a “real” job and lose time to that, or doing what I can AND want. There’s a balance in existence for everyone somewhere. I don’t know how you are the only one on my friends list that has something to type (and on vlogs “say”) about this stuff consistently and consistently finds a bit of truth that comes from a place that forgets pride in the “sinful” way… and it comes out as a plausible and possible way of going forward. It refreshes and relieves me to see someone actually persisting in that mindset… and that seems to be every blog you type. // TL;DR. I know. Just my style of typing especially still riding the post-gym endorphin high 😛

  3. In my experience, it is better to only take permanent jobs in your chosen field. Think of it as grad school. It will help you get your dream job later.

  4. Such a beautiful blog post again. You write with the passion and eloquence of someone wise beyond your years! I’m SURE I’ll have the chance to meet you in person eventually (Cali girls!) – and even if this seems weird since I always love reading your stuff from afar, just know that you will always inspire me. You go, girl! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Vlog #3: A Message From Me To You | beauty within·

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