Transition

Rock Your Real Life

For the past 18 or 19 years of your life, you’ve been either told what to do or knew what you needed to do. Now, you’re on your own. The options are open, and your Alpha Phi sisters will still be there for you, but the safety net of school won’t be (unless, of course, you choose graduate school!). You might feel worried, scared, excited, ambivalent or all of the above at various times. And that’s totally valid. To help you with your transition as you graduate, we have some advice:

chapman_graduates_17

1. Don’t freak out. It is normal to feel uneasy about graduation, but don’t let that anxiety get the best of you. For one thing, you’re not alone. Talk to your sisters about your fears and excitement. You’re in this together, and they all want to see you succeed, just like you want them to succeed. On a professional note, try not to let your anxiety about what to do next push you into a job you’re not sure you want. It’s better to wait for the right job than to take one and feel miserable about it. You might not land your dream job right away, but be patient.

2. Be humble. You’ve worked hard and earned your degree, but we hate to break it to you: The world doesn’t owe you anything just because you got a high GPA. You’re essentially starting from scratch, the low woman on the hierarchy. You’ll need to prove yourself just as you did in school. You do, however, owe it to yourself to make deliberate decisions, not rash decisions based on fear.

3. Visit your university’s career center. Floundering a little when it comes to job-hunting? Take advantage of your campus career center, online portals and job listings while you’re still at school and closely connected to your college. This can also be a good place to get a second glance at your resume and cover letter. Bring in a completed draft for feedback—you may need to make an appointment for this, so check beforehand.

4. Interviews are opportunities. Remember, an interview is a two way street—you’re learning about the job and putting your best foot forward, and in turn the employer is presenting the job in a positive way and learning about you. Make sure to come with job-related questions. People always enjoy talking about themselves, but stay away from getting too casual and chummy with an interviewer, as you do want to showcase your professionalism. Also, be prepared for the big questions, like, “What do you want to do with your life?” It’s a daunting one because you may not really have an answer, but have something in mind and something better than, “Work for your company!” Be honest; if you’re not sure what you want to do with your life, that’s OK; just consider your strengths and emphasize your passions. An employer would rather see who you are than hear a fake answer. The other thing about interviews: They are opportunities to practice interviewing. So maybe you mess up one, but it prepares you better for the next.

5. Network. One of the best ways to get information about a company and its open positions is to use personal connections to your advantage. Sometimes it can feel like you’re submitting your cover letter into a cyberspace black hole, so making contacts at specific companies gives you a leg up—and a name to put down as a reference. It also makes you feel more in control, something that recent graduates often lack. Alpha Phi is a great foundation for networking with women in your field of interest. Text, connect via LinkedIn or see if another Alpha Phi can recommend someone to connect with. Recommend a meeting over coffee and bring your resume. In that meeting, chances are the alumna will give you the names and emails of three or four other contacts. If not, feel free to ask. Not sure where to start the networking process? Join the official Alpha Phi International LinkedIn site.

6. Learn time management. At school, you could plan your classes based on waking up at noon. In real life, you’ll likely have a job that requires you be, not only awake, but dressed and raring to go by 9 am. So, mentally prepare for that and factor in an earlier bedtime. On the flip side, you shouldn’t need to pull all-nighters for your job!

7. Carry Alpha Phi with you. Never let anyone tell you that Alpha Phi is “just a college thing.” The life lessons gained during your time as an Alpha Phi helped you become better friends, sisters and even employees. Alpha Phi supports you even when your sisters are spread far and wide. And that goes on throughout your life.

8. You are not alone. Alpha Phis are sisters for life, supporting one another through every life stage and helping each other in times of need. Alpha Phi Foundation exemplifies this life-long support through the Forget Me Not Grant Fund. The Forget Me Not Grant is an assistance or crisis aid grant designed to provide temporary, short-term, financial assistance for an event or unforeseeable circumstance. Members may apply for themselves and on behalf of another sister. Learn more…

Roommates

How to find a roommate

csulb_sisters_18

Typical recent grad dilemma: You want a cool place to live, but can’t afford it. Typical solution: Get a roommate to share the rent. The sooner you start planning this post-graduation requirement, the better. If you’re not sure how that’s all going to pan out, it’s time to figure it out. Check out these tips for finding a roommate:

1. Social media. This is a no-brainer. In fact, many of the posts on the Alpha Phi LinkedIn group page focus on women seeking roommates, sub-letters or apartments. Skim what’s there or post your own in-search-of. The same goes for your college or Alpha Phi chapter’s Facebook and Twitter pages (#roommate #AlphaPhi).

2. “Roommate finder.” Search that term online and you’ll find results including roomiematch.com, easyroommate.com, roomates.com and roomster.com. They all have their own features and idiosyncrasies, and some are global, while others are limited to certain cities, so find the one that works for you. Besides narrowing down by answering questions and criteria, you’ll get a sense of rental prices in the area.

3. Use Craigslist. Proceed with caution on Craigslist due to reports of scams and frauds, but it can still be an effective means to an end when used smartly. You can search postings or create your own post. Do not, we repeat, do not, meet a Craigslist potential roommate by yourself. Take someone with you to view an apartment or meet in public somewhere.

4. Use your network. Friends, family and Alpha Phi sisters all have connections, so tap into them. It could be a sister’s friend or a friend’s sister, but whatever it is, it’s worth pursuing. Does she already have an apartment and needs another roommate? Or does she want to look for an apartment in the same city as you? Finding someone close to your own age is great, but keep your options open. You might stumble upon roommie-slash-mentor all in one.

5. Check on campus. First stop, your Alpha Phi chapter. Then check the campus postings—there’s always a place online or on campus that pulls together student roommate queries.

6. Ask your employer. Are you moving to a new place with job in hand? Nice! See if the human relations director can recommend a roommate resource or possibly another new hire at the company who might be seeking a roommate too.

7. Tell everyone. Get the word out that you’re looking for a roommate. Tell your new coworkers, your family and, of course, your Alpha Phi sisters.

8. The compatibility quiz. Think you’ve met your match? Before diving in, test the waters by asking a potential roomie some key questions. You might not like her answers, but at least you’ll have a heads-up if you make the move anyway.
Does she…
1) drink, smoke or use drugs?
2) have a pet?
3) keep odd hours?
4) have a significant other who will be staying over?
5) have sufficient financial means to pay the rent and utilities?
6) want to share costs of things like toilet paper and trash bags?
7) consider themselves neat or messy?
8) plan to share household chores?
9) plan to hang out with you or do her own thing?

 

 

New City

Relocating to a New City

Are you heading to a new location for a job, for a significant other or because it’s just where you want to be? No matter the reason, moving somewhere new can be stressful. Read the advice below and breathe….you’ll be great!

Random buildings

You’ll make friends. You may have the most amazing apartment and a great job and even a decent roommate who willingly takes out the garbage. But if you don’t have a good friend or two, a new city can feel pretty lonely. So where do you meet people? Not sitting on your couch. Join an Alpha Phi alumnae chapter in the area, take a class, join junior league, attend a free concert in the park, volunteer and use Meetup to find people with similar interests (just remember to be safe and follow your instincts if anyone seems suspicious). Then make a connection with someone who seems like a potential friend. Exchange phone numbers and know that you might need to be the one who makes the first call. Bottom line: Be proactive, take the initiative and start exploring. Read more here.

You’ll feel settled. It’s a weird feeling moving from a place where you were the expert to a place where you don’t even know where the nearest Starbucks is. Keep calm and be brave. Don’t be paralyzed by fear of the unknown. It’ll take some trial and error to find what you’re looking for and, when you do, give yourself a pat on the backt! You can always ask around too—and if you don’t know anyone, start by connecting with the Alpha Phi alumnae chapter in the area. Mostly remember, it’s a learning curve and all part of the adventure. Pretty soon, you’ll be showing around visitors like you own the place.

You’ll learn how to get around. One of the best ways to learn a new city is to get lost in it. Just be aware of the sketchy neighborhoods so you don’t end up in a dangerous situation. Invest in a city map that you can actually hold in your hand—GPS does a great job of directing us places, but it falls short on presenting context and the big picture. Study the map to understand where your apartment is in relation to work, to the gym and to the nearest train or bus station. Traveling by public transportation through a new city also gives you a great perspective on how close or far everything is. Taking the bus might be slower than a train, but sometimes that’s a good thing because you can catch street names and neighborhood scenes as you roll by. Never hesitate to ask a train attendant or bus driver which way you should go—in some cities (New York, we’re talking to you), they may not be cheerful, but they’ll be helpful.

You’ll have enough money. Moving costs a lot, between the security deposits and the new cleaning supplies and the trips to IKEA for that extra lamp (and a few other things), it just does. Plus, there will be unexpected costs, like that parking ticket you got because you didn’t know the street cleaning schedule. In other words, you might be feeling a financial pinch for a little while. It’s expected, but it doesn’t have to last long if you listen to your inner accountant and reign in spending enough to feel sturdy again. Do your best to keep away from credit card debt: It’s a nasty lesson to learn the hard way that racking up debt and its interest only benefits the bank, not you. Be smart about it and you’ll hit that financial balance between splurging and paying your rent on time.

You’ll be challenged and be OK. Without a safety net of people you know, everything will seem a little harder. Just know that it gets easier, but it also takes some time and patience. After a few weeks of floundering, you might think you made a huge mistake, but push through. Call your Alpha Phi sisters for a venting session and then get back to making your new city your new home. In the end, you’ll have faced your fears and learned valuable life lessons, including how strong you are.

You’ll keep in touch with your Alpha Phi sisters. You’ve likely realized by now that graduating is bittersweet. One of the incredible aspects of being a member of Alpha Phi is that, no matter where you go and where you are, your sisters will always be there. You might not be able to share breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight taco runs with them quite as often, but you’ve already created a bond that stretches forever.

You’ll see how it goes! If you’ve done everything you could and muscled through the hard parts, and, after a year or so, you just aren’t feeling it, you can always chalk this up to Plan A and work on Plan B. We all make mistakes and then we learn from them, right? Laugh and cry as much as necessary, and know you only get to the great things in life when you take a risk or two. Sometimes that means falling on our faces a few times. Dust yourself off, take stock of what worked and what didn’t, make a graceful exit and move on.

Making Friends

Making New Friends

lsu_sisters.jpg

Your Alpha Phi sisters will always be your besties, but they won’t always be within walking distance. The hard truth is, it can be hard to make new friends when you graduate—but with a little extra effort, you’ll find your people. Here are some ways to go about it:

1. Join your alumnae chapter. That’s an easy one, so it makes sense to start there. You’re an Alpha Phi for life, so benefit from the bond and reap the rewards. Even if your alumnae chapter is based some distance away or you don’t know anyone who’s a member, make it a point to attend events and meetings. They’ll be the most welcoming strangers you ever meet.

2. Volunteer. Again, a great place to start is Alpha Phi. Check the volunteer listings online to see if there are any opportunities in your area. Or find a cause you’re interested in and attend an informational session. Maybe it’s an animal rescue organization or a homeless shelter. Either way, you might have to work up the courage to go by yourself, but once you’re there, you’re bound to meet people with similar interests.

3. Get a dog. Dogs attract, so consider whether you have the time and space for a dog, and then use your mutt to meet and mingle at the local dog park. Or just stroll around busier areas and chances are someone will ask to pet your pooch. Don’t want to commit to having your own dog? You could borrow a friend’s or serve as a foster parent for a rescue organization, meaning you’d only have dogs for short periods of time.

4. Check your social media. Are there friends of friends or Alpha Phi sisters in your area that you didn’t even realize were nearby? Introduce yourself and plan a time to meet in person. Or ask a mutual friend to make the introduction.

5. Answer the invites. If an acquaintance or a coworker asks you to join them at a party or a networking event, unless your gut scream “bad idea” for safety reasons, have your “about me” speech ready to go and go for it.

6. Connect with a religious institution. Almost every church and synagogue (and some mosques) have young adult outreach activities, often outside of the religious space itself. Whether you’re seriously religious or not, these are great ways to meet people who already share at least one thing in common with you.

7. Join a social sports group. You don’t need to be a star athlete to play for fun. Many large cities have social sports clubs that generally meet weekly for things like beach volleyball, touch football, soccer and more. Some of the most fun happens after the game is over when teammates gather to socialize.

8. Work out. Turn your exercise into a friend-meeting exercise. Join a running club or register for group exercise classes. Chat up the people who seem like your kind of people and suggest meeting up after class.