postgradlife

4 ex-students dealing with the real world

unopostgrad14 asked: Hi! I am new to tumblr and not sure how this goes, but I am about to graduate and am writing a postgrad blog. I am trying to get more follows. Your blog is awesome!! Have a great day :)

Awesome! We wish you good luck. You have our follow!

-pgl

Anonymous asked: Hi I was wondering if Tas could explain the Fulbright application experience. What do they look for in a candidate?

Hi!
Sorry for the (much?) delayed response. Here’s the lowdown:

There are two main types of Fulbright programs. The teaching program and the research program. The research program application is much more intense and involves a lot of pre-planning, a lot of dedication and a lot of research (obvi) on a really really good topic. You have to create contacts at a university in the country you want to be in and you have to have a well thought-out, fresh research proposal. The average applicant spends at least 9 months to one year preparing their application. Beyond that, I don’t know too much about the research application. My good friend Missy is a Fulbright Research Grantee, maybe consider sending her an ask over at her tumblr (which you should all check out anyway, she’s a painter and her work is beautiful).

As far as the teaching program application goes, though it’s less intense and has fewer requirements, it’s still a bit of a lengthy application process. I put my application together in one month, but my advisor was really skeptical about it until she saw how committed I was. You have to have a really solid statement of purpose and personal essay. Personally, I think these are what helped my application stand out. There were tons of people in my program who were much more experienced and well-rounded than me, but also the teachers in my program had incredibly varied profiles. Most had no teaching experience. As cliche as this is, I think the most important thing is to show your commitment to cross-cultural communication and really make sure your passion for the exchange of knowledge in whichever country you’re applying to really, really shines through. Really. Go to the scholarship office at your university/a university wherever you are living. They most likely have other grantees’ applications on file. Study them and see what strengths they have that apply to you. Get on the good side of the office’s scholarship advisor. S/he can be a big help, and often they are part of the judging process. Show you are open-minded, flexible, passionate. If you are a minority, talk about what kind of role this will play in you “representing the US” in a foreign country. If you are white, talk about the same thing, but stay far from anything white savior complex-y. Use your past experiences to describe your feelings and passions instead of just saying “I am passionate about xx.”

The most important thing is to show you have some kind of connection with the culture of the place you are trying to go. Join a conversation club or student group. In your interview, they will ask you what you are currently doing to get a grasp of that specific culture, not just what your plans are if you get the grant. Be specific about what fascinates you. Make them think that even if you don’t get the grant, you are going to do this project/live in this country.

Also, good grades, strong leadership in some extracurriculars and STELLAR recommendations are a given.

Good luck!
Tas

Hello dear followers,

It’s been a long time since you and I last spoke. That is, it’s been a long time since I’ve made myself sit down and write something.

I have a lot of excuses and reasons and apologies. But I’ll skip all that and confess something to all of you.

Take heart, the postgradlife can be good.

That feeling that you don’t know where you’re going, that you’re making the wrong choices, that you’re not working hard enough, that you’re not making enough money, that you’re not any wiser or more responsible or more experienced, or more put together, or healthier, or more in control, those feelings don’t go away.
Existential-crisis Wednesdays are still a thing.
You still waste endless hours on Facebook, comparing your life to others who seem more successful, happier, prettier, more put together, more in love, more #blessed.

And other people do the same, looking at your Facebook photos, reading your tumblr posts (if you update, that is), scrolling through your Instagram feed, rolling their eyes at your painstakingly composed tweets, listening to your overly bright stories as you catch up over brunch.

But suddenly, the weekend is an even more magical thing. Maybe you have the kind of job that lets you walk out of the office and leave work totally behind. Maybe you live next to a street teeming with breakfast cafes. Maybe you’re in a new city, with hidden secrets waiting for you to explore. Maybe you’re in your hometown, learning that your parents can be your best friends. Maybe your bffls live next door instead of oceans away. Maybe you’re more confident, or more financially stable, surrounded by people who love you, more self-sufficient, less functionally fixed, or not as anxious, sexier, able to wake up at a decent hour. Maybe you have a better wardrobe. Or maybe you are finally comfortable. Comfortable staying in. Comfortable in your job. Comfortable in your relationship. Comfortable going to a coffee shop and chatting with the barista instead of keeping your headphones in and avoiding eye contact.

Comfortable with the fact that maybe you’re not actually comfortable and don’t know that you’ll ever be.  Comfortable with the knowledge that you’ll always want more, because, well, that’s not postgradlife, that’s life. But comfortable enough to smile at what you have now.

I’ve still got my smile, y’all!

Looking forward to posting more. Keep me on task, friends :)

-Tas

 

I dropped a lot of money on candles today. I’m basically a grown-up.

-Malia

P.S. Also, after about a year of working freelance at Comedy Central, today was my first day as a full-time, staffed member of the team. Which means — benefits. The only kind of benefits a girl really needs (wink face). Also, the @ColbertReport Twitter account hit one million followers this evening. It’s been a rewarding 24 hours.

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Photo by @olivezoo

interracialinterfaithlove asked: I miss my girls

We’re around… wading around in more real life than postgrad life, I’d say.

I’ve had my monthly paycheck for about a week, and I’ve already spent well over 1/2 of it. Bills, bills, bills… and toilet paper. #wanttofindamoneytree #adultlife

- Jen

LinkedIn wants to know my areas of expertise. I don’t think drinking tea and avoiding marriage proposals qualifies. Sigh.

—my friend Tegan in the Peace Corps in Africa

Tas came and visited for a couple days in January, I meant to tell you guys. I was holding off for a photo, and we finally got it!
It was very nice to see her, as it had been about a year since I saw her last. But it is strange when your friend lives a completely separate life from your own, in a drastically different time zone. You recognize certain rhythms in your relationship — ways of talking and being together, but then there are the things you don’t recognize. The new clothes, the slight reserve of a working girl who’s head is in another space, trying to absorb something that was once familiar to her but is now more distant. I found myself chattering about myself and my problems while she visited because I was so filled with the need to get advice from a good friend in person, that I was not as attentive to what was going on in her life. At the end of the trip, I knew two days wasn’t enough time to catch up, and that the only way to get a more accurate picture of her day-to-day would be to, well, visit. Which I’m doing. And to try and check in more with her — to draw out the everyday, ongoing problems she may be having.
It all really sounds simple on paper, maintaining a friendship from afar, but it’s hard to water a plant that is not right next to you.
-Malia
P.S. On that note, a little birdie told me Tas is visiting Jen in a couple weeks in London. So much jet-setting!

Tas came and visited for a couple days in January, I meant to tell you guys. I was holding off for a photo, and we finally got it!

It was very nice to see her, as it had been about a year since I saw her last. But it is strange when your friend lives a completely separate life from your own, in a drastically different time zone. You recognize certain rhythms in your relationship — ways of talking and being together, but then there are the things you don’t recognize. The new clothes, the slight reserve of a working girl who’s head is in another space, trying to absorb something that was once familiar to her but is now more distant. I found myself chattering about myself and my problems while she visited because I was so filled with the need to get advice from a good friend in person, that I was not as attentive to what was going on in her life. At the end of the trip, I knew two days wasn’t enough time to catch up, and that the only way to get a more accurate picture of her day-to-day would be to, well, visit. Which I’m doing. And to try and check in more with her — to draw out the everyday, ongoing problems she may be having.

It all really sounds simple on paper, maintaining a friendship from afar, but it’s hard to water a plant that is not right next to you.

-Malia

P.S. On that note, a little birdie told me Tas is visiting Jen in a couple weeks in London. So much jet-setting!