Friday, May 29, 2009

I Want To Be A Part Of It... New York, New York

Finally, I've found reliable Internet access (thank you, Gregory's Coffee) so I can make my official first NYC post. Up until now, I've been using my iPhone for everything Internet related (how did I survive without it again?) but there are just some things that work better on a laptop... (iPhone sidenote: the Google app, specifically the "local" feature has become my new best friend to find everything in my neighborhood).

So here I am, finally living in the city I've dreamed about living in since the moment I left last summer. After a hectic travel day (read: my flight was delayed 3 hours), I finally got here Wednesday afternoon. Fortunately my super was able to let the delivery guy in with my bed so I wasn't stuck sleeping on hardwood since I missed the delivery time. I didn't have the energy to accomplish much, so I just picked up some basics for my cat, got takeout for myself, and got to bed early.

Yesterday was my first big productive day. I went to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought kitchen stuff, curtains, and random things I needed for my apartment. I shipped a lot of my things, but I figured it would be easier to re-buy a lot of the kitchen stuff rather than shipping it and risking it breaking. Only in New York does Bed Bath & Beyond have a built-in cafe and doorman, so I was able to survive the trip thanks to a large iced coffee and the helpful man who carried my things out to a cab. I also set up my gas and electric, and called to schedule the activation of my cable and Internet (couldn't get an appointment until a week from now, hence the coffee shop excursion). Last night I got my first big shipment of things from UPS, and the rest of it came today. I've spent the last 24 hours unpacking, hanging shelves, and making my apartment home. It's amazing the difference little things like curtains and pictures can make!

Needless to say, it's been a crazy couple of days. I know I've made a lot of progress but my apartment is still a disaster (I posted a few pictures on my other blog, click here to see them). I've had to call my parents with all kinds of random questions, but other than that I'm proud of myself for doing this on my own. My mom wanted to come help me but I insisted that I had to do this on my own. I had a brief moment in the kitchen section of Bed Bath & Beyond where I regretted that decision, but I know I'll be happy when it's all done and I can say I did it by myself. I even hung my curtains, shelves, and some frames with a borrowed power drill!

I'm looking forward to starting my internship on Tuesday, but I'm glad I have this time to get my apartment all set up and how I want it before I have to get into the work routine. I should probably get back home and keep working on unpacking, but more to come (and better pictures) soon!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

These Are A Few Of My Least Favorite Things...

I found something I hate more than moving... which  I didn't think was actually possible.  I guess it's all part of the moving process though, so it's to be expected.

I hate saying goodbye.  I'm terrible at it.  I can't really imagine anyone out there that doesn't hate it and has actually gotten good at it, but I feel like I have an especially hard time with it.  I also feel like it's all I've been doing lately... all part of the bittersweet process of moving. 

Sunday I had to say goodbye to my life in Athens.  Like I've mentioned, I know I'll go back to visit my Alma Mater, but it was still hard leaving knowing things will never be the same.  A lot of my friends had already left and I'd said bye to them over our last few days there, but saying bye to my roommates was next to impossible.  How do you go from living with someone and seeing them every day for a year to having to say goodbye and not know when you'll even see them next?  I basically cried the first hour of the drive and then listened to music and Dane Cook on my iPod to cheer myself up for the rest of the journey down to Sarasota.

Now I have to say goodbye to my family and friends in Sarasota.  Saying bye to my parents is always hard, especially because once they start crying I absolutely lose it.  I know they're so excited for me and proud of what I'm doing, but that won't make the tearful goodbye at the airport tomorrow any easier.  I know they'll come up as soon as I give them permission to (I insisted that they let me do the majority of the move and unpacking on my own since I'm supposed to be an adult now), but it will still be sad leaving them.  Then there are my high school friends.  Thanks to the fabulous economy we're facing, a lot of them are kind of unsure of what they're doing, which makes things even harder since I really don't know where they'll be in six months.  Some have jobs and are starting in a few months, and some are staying at home while they figure things out.  Either way, I don't know when I'll see them next.  

I guess that's what makes this so hard, that "unknown" factor.  In college, I always knew when I would see everyone next.  We would hug goodbye at Thanksgiving, knowing we would see each other in a few weeks when we all came home for Winter Break.  Now I just don't know, which is so hard to even wrap my head around.  We're all growing up and going in our own directions, which is so exciting but also terrifying.  

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bye For Now, Athens...

Dear Athens,

Thanks for giving me a better college experience than I could have ever imagined.  Five years ago, when I visited here in high school, I knew right away that I would be so happy here and I was right.  

Thanks for providing me with a great education at a wonderful school that will always be near and dear to my heart.  I could have stayed in state for free, but now I can't imagine my life if I had gone anywhere else.  

Thanks for forcing me to learn about football... because before I moved here I didn't even know how many points a touchdown was worth.  Four years ago, I went to my first football game ever.  Not my first college football game... my first football game of any kind that I actually sat down and tried to understand.  Four years later, I talk football with the boys and could do all the Georgia cheers in my sleep.  Now I truly know the meaning of "bleeding red and black."

Thanks for introducing me to so many amazing people, whose friendships I will treasure forever.  I came here knowing nobody, and met so many friendly and outgoing people that I felt at home right away.  It has been impossible to say goodbye to all of these amazing people, but I know most of them will be in my life forever.

Thanks for teaching me about what it means to truly live in the south.  I still don't like sweet tea or wear pearls, but I got to experience a whole new culture I truly knew nothing about before moving here... and now all of my northern friends make fun of me for saying "yall."

Most importantly, thanks for being my home for the past four years.  Now I know why people say college is the greatest four years of your life.

This isn't goodbye... This is "see you later," because I know I'll be back to visit, dress up for the games, tailgate with old friends, and go downtown like we did every night when we were freshman.  

Thanks for the memories.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Moving Rant

Whenever I tell people I'm moving to New York, they have one of three reactions:
  1. "Oh my god, that's so cool! Congratulations!"
  2. "Didn't you grow up in Florida? You're going to freeze!"
  3. "Isn't New York sooo expensive?"
I've kind of got my standard answers for each of these reactions since I'm so used to getting them all the time ("Yes, it is very cool," "Yes, I'm going to freeze... but I'll buy cute boots and scarves so I think I'll be okay," and "Yes, it is expensive but that's why I worked all through college").  The third one is the one I get the most though, and I can't argue with it, New York is probably the most expensive city in the world.  But one thing I didn't realize until very recently was that moving anywhere is expensive! Sure, moving to New York is expensive because the cost of living is extremely high there, but the actual physical moving part is way more expensive than I could have ever imagined.

Let me preface this rant with saying that I have lived in the same townhouse all through college for this reason.  I hate moving.  I nest, I hang ridiculous amounts of shelves and picture frames, I paint my walls, and I have absurd amounts of clutter.  I haven't had to move in three years, and even then I didn't have much more than my clothes.  

On Wednesday, I'm moving to New York.  Not for a summer like I did last year... I'm really moving.  Over the last few weeks I've been packing up my entire life to move it up there with me and didn't really spend much time thinking about how it would all actually get there.  I had planned to drive up with a friend, but our schedules didn't work out, so now (two days before I'm supposed to leave Athens to go home for a few days) I'm stuck.  My options were to drive (mom vetoed that immediately, for safety reasons and the fact that then my car would be in the city), hire movers (wayyyy too last minute for that apparently) or ship everything.  So tomorrow I get to go to UPS with my 14 boxes/suitcases/bags I have packed and pay ungodly amounts of money to have it shipped directly to my apartment.  I just booked my flight, which was even more money, and had to get a health certificate for my cat to fly with me, so there's another $100.  Not to mention the money spent at Kinkos last week faxing and overnighting my lease, and so many more expenses coming my way.  In the end I know it will be all worth it when I'm settled into my apartment and I have it set up exactly how I want it, but right now this is the most frustrating thing I've ever dealt with.  Aaaaand *end rant*

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Growing Up

So I'm officially an adult.  I put down my security deposit for my new apartment, signed the lease, and even bought my first piece of furniture on my own.  Here's a few pictures of my apartment (obviously from the broker's website, I'll have new ones once I get it all decorated and homey).

The location is perfect, the space is great, and I just love everything about it! I feel so lucky that I found this apartment and everything is falling into place as I had hoped it would.  My lease starts in 11 days... which gives me about a week to finish up everything in Athens and work as many shifts as possible, and then a few days to go home to Sarasota before I move.

The next two weeks are going to be extremely emotional and bittersweet.  Half the time when people ask me about moving I get really excited and can't stop smiling, but then I think about all the memories and good times I'll be leaving behind in Athens and want to cry.  I've met such great people in my time here, and truly feel like I'm leaving a family behind.  And it's not just Athens, I'll have to say a sort of goodbye to my best high school friends.  Up until now, we've always had the same breaks from school and I always see everyone over Thanksgiving, Winter Break, Spring Break, and in the summer.  Now, everyone is moving their separate ways, going to grad school, getting jobs, and growing up! It's crazy to think of my friends that I've known for 15 years scattered across the country, and in a much more permanent way than college.  Of course the ones that matter will always stay in my life, but it's just hard to imagine not seeing some of these people on the regular basis I'm used to.  And then there's my parents... I think they kind of accepted my growing up and moving away when I left to go to school out of state, but this is more of a real move.  Their baby is growing up and moving to the big city, and I know they're terrified and excited and sad and happy all at the same time.  

I guess all I can do is keep busy, like I have been, and let things happen as they're supposed to.  Saying all these goodbyes will definitely be hard but I know I'll be back... back to Athens for football games and homecoming weekends, and back to Sarasota for beach trips and holidays.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things...

A month before graduation, I wrote a post reflecting on my favorite things in Athens. The day after graduation, I went to campus with my mom and took pictures at all of my favorite spots. I wanted to post a few on here, as I continue to reminisce about my amazing four years in Athens and prepare for my future after college.

The Victory Bell - traditionally rang by students and fans after winning home football games. Broken in 2007 after victory against UF.

Herty Field - where the Bulldogs played (and won) their first football game.

The North Campus Fountain - one of the most recognized places on campus, but it has been turned off since the summer of 2007 because of the drought in Georgia.  The fountain was turned back on a few days before graduation.

Terry College of Business - where I got degree number one, BBA in Management.

Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication - where I got degree number two, ABJ in Public Relations, and met so many wonderful people over the years.

Sanford Stadium - our football stadium, where graduation was held, and hands down my favorite place on campus.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Project

I'm about to start the crazy adventure of life after college. A year from now, I have no idea what I'll be doing and I couldn't be more excited about it! The first year after graduation will surely be filled with exciting milestones and accomplishments, and I want to be able to document that.

Starting yesterday, the day of graduation, I will post a picture every day for the next year that has some significance of what that day represented to me. Of course yesterday was too hectic to post any so I'm already starting off by cheating, but from now on I will post my pictures daily. This project was inspired by a friend and classmate of mine who did something similar (the year leading up to graduation) and I thought it was the coolest idea so I wanted to try it. So here goes...

Click here to visit my new blog, 365 Days After Walking Under The Arch.

Alma Mater, Thee We'll Honor... Georgia Hail to Thee!

I guess I finally need to stop saying it doesn't feel real, because it is real now. Yesterday was the Spring 2009 Commencement ceremony, and I am officially a University of Georgia alumnus.  I can't even begin to put into words all the emotions I have felt over the last couple of days, and I think my eyes have run out of tears because I'm past the point of being able to cry anymore.  

The Grady Convocation was held on Friday afternoon at the Classic Center, and was just as exciting as the big commencement ceremony.  After the speakers, each graduate's name was called and we walked across the stage of the Classic Center theatre to receive our Grady Society pin.  I loved being there with the friends I've made in my wonderful major over the last two years, and am so proud of all my fellow Grady grads.  I love you all, especially the C-Painers, and can't wait to hear about all the amazing things everyone accomplishes in the next stage of their lives.

Yesterday's ceremony was obviously less personal, but it was still so cool sitting on the field of Sanford stadium with the class of 2009.  I loved the speakers, and being able to stand and flip my tassel to the left side (twice - once for Grady, once for Terry) made everything feel worth it.  Not to mention, Grady was definitely the best section to sit in and we cheered the loudest when our dean introduced us!

The weekend was filled with celebrations, friends and family.  I was so lucky to have my wonderful parents and little brother here to laugh and cry with me, and to support me through everything.  So now it's over.  The best four years of my life have come to a close, and I'm preparing for the next step and my big move.  In two weeks, I will leave Athens to go home, say goodbye to all my high school friends, and then move to New York a few days later.  This is the most exciting time of my life, and I can't wait to see how things unfold.  

Cheers to the class of 2009 - we did it! As they pointed out yesterday, sure we're graduating into a difficult economy... but we're ready, and we have been prepared to handle anything life throws our way.  The world will now expect uncommon things of us, because WE are graduates of the University of Georgia. Congratulations everyone, and GO DAWGS!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Getting There...

Graduation is just a few days away, and somehow it still doesn't seem real.  Maybe it's because I've been so busy studying for exams, finishing up projects, and making the arrangements for my family's arrival that I haven't actually sat down to think about what this is all for.  My last exam of college is tomorrow at noon, and after that all I will have left are the final corrections on my Campaigns book and I'm done! 

I think when it will really hit me is when I have to start saying goodbye to all the amazing friends I have made over the last few years.  Because, as cliched as it is, college really is so much more than just classes.  Its a personal growing experience filled with friendships that will last a lifetime.  Maybe this is why the end of classes didn't really effect me, and why even after tomorrow I won't truly feel like college is over.  Let's be honest, I'm not that heartbroken that I'll never attend another college class.  I'm starting an internship in a few weeks, and I know I will continue learning new things about the industry I've chosen for the rest of my life, so the learning aspect of college will never truly be over.  From now on, I will be learning only the things that I'm interested in and passionate about.  I will never have to take another exam, or be forced to write a research paper on something I don't care about.  I'm excited to finally learn things on my terms, and not have to take any more pre-requisite courses just because they're required.

The things I'll be sad to leave behind from college will be my amazing friends and the charming little town I've come to call home after the last four years.  Between classes, part time jobs, and especially my study abroad program, I have met some unbelievable people in my time at UGA.  I'm very fortunate that many of my friends will also be moving to New York after graduation, and some others will be nearby throughout the Northeast.  Most of the rest of them will be in Atlanta, and I'm sure I'll be down to visit and go to a Georgia football game when I can.  But we will never all be together like we are now and have the freedom we do now.  After Saturday, my life will change forever... and I'm just waiting for it all to be real.

Friday, May 1, 2009

When Will This Feel Real?

Yesterday was my last day of college classes. Ever. One of my classes is completely done, and the only things separating me from graduation are 3 exams, a paper and the finishing touches on our Campaigns book.

I've put in my last day at work. 

I have boxes all around my room so I can start packing up my life, and I've sold the majority of my furniture.

In a week and a half, I'll be meeting with brokers to look at apartments, and in less than a month I'll be moving. 

But somehow, none of this has sunk in.  I don't know if I've just been so busy and caught up with school, work, and life in general, but I can't believe this is all really happening.  This is what I've been basically working toward for my whole life up until this point, and I'm really graduating a week from tomorrow and starting my independent adult life.  

I keep waiting to get emotional and start freaking out about everything ending, but it just hasn't happened.  I suppose it will sink in next week, when all is said and done with my exams and my parents get here to celebrate my graduation.  Until then, I guess all I can do is keep getting my work done and keep preparing for the next big step...