Top 10 Most-Read Posts of 2016
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One of the best parts about running That First Year is getting to read all of the stories y’all send to me and thinking, “Wow, that gal or guy is one helluva writer!” I’m forever grateful to be given this opportunity to take care of this space, creating community through stories shared of That First Year after college and beyond.
Below is a list of 10 posts that received the most reads in 2016. Give these posts a read as we bring this year to a close.
1. Home Sweet Home: 5 Rules for Moving Back in With Your Parents
“I personally moved back in with my parents about a month ago. I started a full-time job in Corporate America but chose to move back home to save money over the next year. My parents went through this process in the summer of 2011 when my oldest sister came home after earning a college degree and finding very little in the job market, like so many millennials today.
In the few years she lived at home, our family learned the 'best practices' by trial and error, so I’ve devised a few rules if you’re heading back home.”
2. Mini With a Mini: 5 Tips for Your First Car Purchase
“Seeing as hitchhiking in Houston, TX didn’t seem like the safest option, I began to car shop. I decided to go with a Mini Cooper Countryman and I really do love it! Sometimes I wake up and don’t believe it actually happened. I’m happy with the investment I’ve made and look forward to the many adventures down the road! I figure, if I can’t be in on an adventure in Europe, I may as well bring a little bit of Europe to me!
P.S. - As a first time car buyer, knowledge is power! I knew nothing going in but did a little research along the way. I’ve devised a few tips I’d like to give to all recent post-grads that are currently on the hunt for a new vehicle.”
3. Learning to Be
“I’ve had a lot of feelings lately. I started a new job last week. I work for a children’s book publishing group in New York City, and it is an absolute dream. I love my colleagues, my assignments, and the mission of storytelling and imagination that I get to live out every single day. I am so lucky and so happy.
But this new chapter is hard. Commuting adds hours to my day. I am terrified of making my first inevitable professional mistake. I still don’t know where to sit at lunch. On weekends, I am torn between wanting to spend all day catching up with friends and family, and wanting to sleep forever.”
4. 30 Lessons After Graduation
“1. After a hard day, there’s nothing better than lighting a fancy candle and taking a hot bath. Indulge in a little luxury.
2. Assume that everyone in your yoga class feels just as vulnerable as you do.
3. Keep going to yoga. (Or your chosen equivalent.)
4. If you want something badly, tell someone about it. Your best friend, your mom, the cashier at the grocery store. You’ll be ten times more likely to reach for that goal if someone else is quietly rooting for you. Bonus points if that someone calls you out on your excuses.
5. There is a difference between a guy giving you butterflies and a guy playing with your heart. It will be so hard to tell the difference, but pay attention. It’s subtle but crucial.”
5. The 5 Stages of Deciding to No Longer Date Someone
“I recently stayed on a date longer than I would have liked. The night began with dinner, a dinner that was three hours long. “That’s so great!” you the reader might be thinking to yourself. “Laurel really connected with that guy and they had so much to chat about.” I so wish that was the case. The dinner lasted three hours and then the after-dinner drinks lasted another three hours because the person I went on a date with moves/speaks/blinks at the speed of Friday afternoon. The pace is certainly friendly. But you don’t want to cruise in the speed of Friday afternoon when greater things pepper your horizon. So when he asked me if I wanted to tour art museums with him - (FYI this is a wonderful date idea. It’s classy and fun.) - I knew I had to say no. And my heart sank in my chest a little bit.”
6. On Eating Dinner at Home
“Graduation day is over. My dorm room is packed up. I have said goodbye to my best friends, the ones for whom 'goodbye' doesn’t really ever apply, even if I’m not sure when I’ll see them again. I am in the backseat of the car and I have cried myself into a nap; when I wake up, my parents are pulling into the parking lot of our favorite deli off the highway. We sit at a table in back, order soda and sandwiches and even dessert. As we talk, I become once more hyper-aware that something in my life has undergone a seismic shift. I am going home, but I am not in college anymore, so I don’t yet know what ‘home’ means.”
7. How Leaving Everything Behind Made Me Find Myself
“I returned from London having had an experience that is still hard to describe and finished my last year of college. Much like every other college senior, the most popular question I got asked was, “what are you doing after you graduate?” My answer: “Sleep.” And I did. I fell asleep on the day of graduation at 8 pm and woke up at 1 pm the next day to my mother shaking me awake and asking if I was planning on sleeping all day. I probably could have.
I spent that summer… detoxing, if you will, from the last four years of life. I loved school, I loved my friends and I loved all the experiences I went through, good and bad. But I was exhausted. Somewhere along the way, I stopped taking care of myself, and started taking care of everyone else.”
8. An Open Letter to the Man Who Kicked Me out of A Bar
“My friends and I were having a lovely time. Laughing and dancing with passion only Usher’s songs can inspire, we were savoring our last night together. I don’t remember the DJ’s name (forgive me, friend), but I do remember that he provided my requested track ("Confessions Part II").
You left your lonely grouping of empty cocktail glasses and sleek liquor bottles to approach us.
“Who are you?” you demanded, assuming the classic position of a member of the “good 'ole boys club" - the power stance.”
9. On Being Single on Valentine's Day and Being Way Too Sober
“I gave up alcohol for Lent. But it turns out, I didn’t give up the reason I normally drink alcohol. This is, of course, due to the fact that my love life is akin to post-meltdown Chernobyl. Lent happened on Ash Wednesday, as Lent does, and I stopped drinking. No happy-hour Shiners, no Friday afternoon margaritas, nothin’. Just iced tea, water, and hot cocoa. Additionally, Ash Wednesday was the day I flew to Texas for a weekend wedding. Now if you know me at all, or even if you don’t, you know that I love my friends, and I love that they have found love, but I often do not love weddings. This is probably because I don’t like wearing dresses. It’s also because weddings are expensive.”
10. A Little More of Both
“On Monday, I am happy because I visited my college this past weekend. I walked around campus and remembered lots of little things—who I sat on that bench with, where I ate the most deliciously unhealthy meals, what sidewalks got to eavesdrop on my heartbreak. It’s all still there and so are my friends and everything about it is as beautiful as I left it.
And then I am sad, because I had to come back here and wake up early and go to work. College has gone on existing. It is difficult to fathom my campus without me, me without it. There used to be a hole in the Boston College atmosphere where I fit perfectly, and I am afraid that pockets of me are still left behind there, in those gaps. I’m afraid that there are holes in me now that I won’t know how to fill.”