An Alumni’s Voice: How to Prepare for After the Storm

Erin-Therese Vecchi

Erin-Therese Vecchi, Class of 2013. (Photo by William Biersack)

by Erin-Therese Vecchi

At some point, maybe not right away, it’s going to hit you that you’re no longer in college. For me it was seeing “Monster’s University” with my freshman year roommate. I literally started sobbing to the G-rated Disney movie in the theatre with a bunch of six-year-olds. Breaking up with college is the hardest break up ever. You were together for four years. It knows your deepest secrets and what you did last Friday night. Taylor Swift has nothing on this break up. I’m sorry for your loss.

I’m not about to give you tips for how to have the perfect resume and secure a job right out of college. Mrs. O’Keefe and Mrs. Nolan can teach you that, and if I knew how to secure a job right out of college, I wouldn’t have been unemployed for the past year. I graduated last May with a bachelor of arts in English and communications. I double majored and had a concentration and minor, I had the cool honor cords to decorate my gown, my resume was pristine, and I had several job interviews lined up. I expected to be working and have health insurance by September. College prepares you for success, so I’m going to prepare you for failure.

A week after graduation, I had my first interview. I was so ready to work and be the first of my friends with a job. My roommate invited me to go to Disney World to celebrate the day after the interview. I was so worried that if I went and got the job, I wouldn’t be able to start when they wanted me to. Only now do I understand the significance of my choice. You can stop living until you get a job or enjoy the ride. For a while I wouldn’t let myself buy anything new or have fun because I was punishing myself for not having a job. That’s dumb. I’m eventually going to be miserable at work so why should I be miserable now? I have a job. My job is to live life, so that’s what I’ve done this year.

The first thing I did after college, besides going to Disney and hanging with Mickey, was detox. As amazing as Aquinas food and Ramen Noodles are, your body needs to get reintroduced to real food again. Take a week to eat everything in sight, then start a new healthy lifestyle. You’re an adult now, so forming good habits is really smart. I started running the track by my house and eating a lot better, which made me look and feel a lot better. It’s also really awesome for when you run into people from high school and they’re amazed at how good you look.

For me, moving back home was a killer. I wasn’t used to acting like a normal human being in front of my parents and not living with my friends. It was like trying to domesticate a puma. The first Thursday I was home, I got all dressed and pre gamed to Ke$ha only to realize that I was alone. My neighbors didn’t appreciate me ordering a bunch of cabs just so I could hear the honks and feel better. Sometimes I blast music in one and try to read a book in another so I can feel like I’m in the dorm. Unfortunately, my mom isn’t as lenient as the RA’s.

I tried online dating, which has been my main source of entertainment this year. I’ve gotten to go out on a date with a guy who wore rhinestones and have gotten some free drinks. It’s also good for when I miss school because I look through the emails and correct their grammar/spelling. I highly recommend that everyone try this because you feel better about yourself, meet interesting people, and according to the commercials-find your soul mate.

Try something outrageous. This year I enrolled in Comedy College and did stand-up comedy. I stood in front of a crowd and attempted to make them laugh for fifteen minutes. This opened some doors for me; I’ve done a few shows, an appearance on a radio show, and have a few upcoming gigs. I’ve made friends, met some famous comedians, and now have no fear of public speaking—should have done this before I took Professor Beard’s class.

I’ve taken a few painting classes and have made peace with the fact that I can’t draw a straight line. My friend is currently taking a woodshop class—lumberjacking it up—and loving it. It’s a great way to meet people, get a skill, and dull the pain of not hiking up to Aquinas anymore for class. I’m trying to look into ballroom dance classes, so if anyone is interested in being my partner, let me know. Thanks!

With all the time on my hands, I traveled. I spontaneously flew to North Carolina and Florida, took a train to Connecticut for a weekend, and drove to Boston for a Red Sox game, and I’m currently planning to go to Texas. Yes, some may say it’s irresponsible to ignore your college loans and to them I say, “Mom, if the government can bail out the auto industry, they can let me take the Friday Night Lights Tour in Texas.”

You spent four years trying to make your parents proud, but now is the time to start making you proud. If you don’t land a job right away (hit me up, we can get drinks) don’t doubt yourself. When people tilt their heads and ask if you’ve gone on this site or that site and suggest you try this because their sister’s best friend’s husband got a job that way, just smile. Good things will come. If you do get a job right away, please email me so I can give you my resume.

I’m sure where you want to go is great, but the journey to get there can be just as fun. Remember, there’s always grad school.