Congratulations to the class of 2010! For most of you, the beginning of June will bring the freedom you’ve been waiting for since fall 2006: your high school or college days are behind you and it’s time to join the fabulous “real world” – almost. Graduating seniors have no doubt been told by now that it’s not quite all smooth sailing from here and yes, unfortunately, that is the case. However, there are lots of people who have been through it all before and who are more than willing to offer their insights and advice for the upcoming challenges.
One of these people is J. R. Parrish, author of “You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way: Making it in the Real World.” In his book, which he calls a “guide for graduates,” Parrish tackles many of the issues that arise after graduation. By combining stories from personal experience with general advice that could be applied to any life, Parrish offers a valuable resource for any graduate hoping to survive in the real world without, as he says, learning the hard way.
One of the first topics Parrish discusses in his book is how to achieve success or, as he puts it, how to “make your dreams come true.” Parrish relates a story about one of his first jobs and the struggle he went through to attain it. Because he did not graduate from college, Parrish was at first turned down for a job he wanted at Xerox. After that position was denied him, he went to Xerox’s main competitor, where he was given a job and enjoyed not a small amount of success. After some time at that job, Xerox got back in touch with him and offered him the job he had wanted originally, which he gladly took.
There are several lessons to be learned from Parrish’s experience with Xerox. The first is that it is highly unlikely that you will get the first job you inquire about; the second is that it is crucial not to give up. It is all too easy to experience a failure, such as Parrish’s with Xerox, and to decide that it would be pointless to keep trying. However, Parrish is right when he insists that you not give up so easily! Whether you choose to seek another route to your desired job, the way Parrish did, or to try a completely different job opportunity, the most important thing to remember is not to give up. As a graduate, you’ve put in a lot of hard work to this point and you deserve to land in a job that’s right for you.
Another main point in “You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way” is Parrish’s belief that marriage (or a serious dating relationship) is something best avoided at this stage of your life. Parrish shares his own experience in getting married early on: though his parents and other respected figures advised against it, he was sure at the age of nineteen that he was ready, and ignored their advice. His marriage lasted for seven years, during which time he and his wife grew increasingly distant from each other due to Parrish’s personal goals and ambition. At the end of those seven years, Parrish decided that his individual journey needed and deserved more time and attention than did his marriage.
Parrish’s includes a list of suggestions with his personal advice, to include “have at least a year-long engagement” and “take plenty of time before having children.” Though Parrish would certainly have benefited from his own advice, based on the outcome of his own experience with marriage, his counsel should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt. Some people are truly ready to get married at a young age and take great joy in facing this difficult stage of life with a spouse as a partner. It is important to keep in mind that what works for Parrish may not work for you, and what he counts as personal failures may be the brightest spots in your own life.
One piece of extremely valuable advice in this book is to “solicit, listen to, and weigh your parents’ advice carefully because they have your best interests at heart and can help you avoid costly mistakes.” For Parrish, that mistake was marriage; for you, it might be the wrong graduate program, the wrong career path, etc. Though it might feel great to finally be an adult and not have to listen to your parents anymore, it is important to realize that they have been a huge part of your life for the last however many years, and therefore are likely to be able to offer insights that you might not see for yourself.
J. R. Parrish’s “You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way” is ultimately a practical, concise guide for recent graduates who seek some advice on how to best reach the next stage of life. Find it in your local bookstore, and consider it as a gift for yourself or for a graduating loved one!
When Kelly Cutrone found out that a People’s Revolution intern had blogged about her working experience online (equating her internship with a “Devil Wears Prada”-type ordeal), Cutrone did not hesitate to pick up the phone, call the intern, and fire her on the spot—but not before threatening to sue her and her parents for every penny they owned. All interns who work at People’s Revolution are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which meant that this particular intern had breached her contract. Cutrone recalls how ten feet away from her office, the remaining interns sat frozen in their seats with their mouths hanging open, shocked at what had happened.
In Cutrone’s own words, “I believe in an occasional public firing (when deserved, of course) for exactly this reason. Usually, we hide consequences away, in prisons or in rehab. But telling seventh-graders that crime doesn’t pay is probably less effective than taking them to a prison to let them see for themselves…” This episode, which comes about three-quarters into the book, exemplifies Cutrone’s trademark no-nonsense attitude.
What makes If You Have to Cry, Go Outside an especially compelling read is the heartfelt advice Cutrone offers her readers. Young women especially have a lot to learn from this book. All too often, we second-guess ourselves and end up allowing others to make decisions for us. Even when these decisions are based in good intentions, they may not be the plan of action we need to move forward in the right direction. Cutrone recalls how even when her heart was set on her career, her parents were determined to pressure her into a domestic lifestyle, replete with marriage and children.
Cutrone devotes a solid amount of her book to lamenting the state of women in modern society. She is appalled by the way women treat each other, by how women seem to take every opportunity possible to criticize their female friends and colleagues with overused words like “bitch” and “slut.” What sets this book apart from so many of the other self-help books out there is the realization that career advancement means nothing if an individual is not also prepared body and spirit for the greater responsibility and hard work that lies ahead.
Cutrone understands that to be successful is first and foremost an inner battle with oneself. As one of the most powerful women in the fashion industry Cutrone is, of course, a shining example of this kind of spiritual awakening. In a few years’ time, she went from being a country bumpkin to a homeless, carless drug addict living in New York. She partied in New York’s most risqué clubs until 4 in the morning, drinking, taking on multiple lovers, and enjoying life in the Big Apple. There were essentially two turning points in Cutrone’s tumultuous rise to fame. The first was Cutrone’s accidental run-in with heroin, which led to her waking up unexpectedly in someone else’s bed. The second was Cutrone’s painful detox and the spiritual enlightenment that followed, in which she saw the Universal Mother floating above her body. However, these experiences constitute a small part of Cutrone’s larger message: that people should always listen to their inner voice, to their gut. We young women should not allow this instinct to be subdued by what we hear from friends, colleagues, coworkers, and family – no matter how much we love them.
The book, beyond being a celebration of women, is also a practical guide for recent grads still on the lookout for a job. Cutrone offers tips on what to wear, how to act in front of one’s superiors, and how lower-level employees can make the most of their job, even when all they seem to do is drudge work. Readers are guaranteed to take away an assortment of lessons and experiences from this book, among the most important of which is extracted right from the title: If you have to cry, go outside.
By Hannah Penfield
Imagine you have a job. It’s your dream job, but only because you cannot get any other jobs as an illegal immigrant. You are paid around $10,000 US a year, if you’re lucky. That’s less than half of the poverty threshold for a family of four. You have none of the normal rights of a US worker: no right to organize, to overtime pay. You have no health insurance, sick leave, vacations, pension, or job security. This is the life of a farm worker subjected to forced labor, as described by antislavery.org.
There are no firm numbers, because forced labor is a secretive criminal activity, but antislavery.org estimates that about five percent of farm workers are subject to forced labor. The vast majority of these workers are migrant workers from Mexico, Guatemala, and Haiti. Most of those are undocumented, and therefore are easy pickings for traffickers looking to exploit these vulnerable immigrants.
However, not all of these migrant workers are undocumented. Legal workers and even US citizens can be victims of forced labor due to the need to find work, transportation, and shelter. People who are in serious need are the most vulnerable.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a workers’ rights activist group based out of Florida, documents cases of forced labor. Every case they have documented involves some form of debt bondage. Debt bondage is forcing someone to work off a debt; the debt is generally inflated over time with interest or the initial amount is raised without warning. In these cases, traffickers promise to provide transportation to work locations on credit, saying that the debt will be paid off quickly through work. Often, the workers arrive thousands of dollars in debt. This gives the trafficker all the power.
Once this power structure is in place, the worker is forced to work 12 to 14 hour days, generally from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. Their wages, which are the only means the workers have of paying off their debt, face deductions for transport, accommodations, food, work equipment, and supposed tax and social security payments (a scam to take more money). Wages are sporadically paid, but often there are so many deductions that the wages are reduced to nothing.
Employers also expend some effort to protect their free labor. They work in what can be described as concentration camps, facing total domination and brutality. Workers live in small, poorly kept trailers with 11 to 15 fellow workers. They are under constant surveillance and are tracked by armed guards. The employers and guards also threaten the worker’s family. In some severe cases, public beatings, pistol-whippings, and shootings are used as intimidation.
This type of slavery is the easiest to fight back against. Simply choose carefully where you buy your food. Taco Bell, Burger King, Subway, Whole Foods Market, and Bon Appétit have all signed agreements with CIW to pay fair prices for their vegetables and to not work with companies who use forced labor. The companies that CIW is currently boycotting to stop using slave labor for their stores and restaurants are Kroger, Ahold (parent company of Stop & Shop and Giant), Publix, Aramark, Sodexo, and Chipotle. Avoid these companies and visit ciw-online.org to find out more.
Special thanks to antislavery.org.
The appealing aroma of these light and lean veggie burgers is divine. You can store these ready-to-make patties in your refrigerator for up to a week for a simple go-to meal that’s speedy and scrumptious. Have your dinner ready in a flash! The components of this burger aren’t the same as your average plain old veggie burger, and above all, much better than the frozen stuff you buy in your grocers’ freezer isle. It backs a punch of flavor and nutrition. The robust fusion of tastes like curry, teriyaki and cilantro all create a tasty and unique combination that will trigger anyone’s senses and leave you feeling satisfied and delighted about the burger you’ve just eaten.
Yield: 4 servings
2 ½ cups chickpeas
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 cup alfalfa sprouts
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, plus more for frying
½ teaspoon curry powder
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste
In a food processor, combine chickpeas, eggs and cilantro, season with salt and pepper, pulse until mixture is smooth and creamy. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl; fold in the remaining ingredients, until evenly combined, season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate mixture covered with plastic wrap for 10-15 minutes and allow flavors to combine. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add grapeseed oil to coat the bottom of the skillet with a thin layer. Remove mixture from refrigerator, shape into 4 even patties. Fry patties 2 at a time for 5 minutes per side until golden. Remove from pan; serve with toasted buns with your choice of toppings.
By Janie Dumbleton
When Spring and Summer roll around, there are endless opportunities for spontaneous picnics, beach trips, pool visits, etc. Each of these occasions warrants some preparation, therefore a cute bag to pack food, towels, sunscreen, and all other warm weather necessities is a must-have.
To make a cute carry-all tote personal, gather some cute letter stamps and a plain canvas tote (both available at craft stores) and get to work. This is a quick and easy project that takes about 10 minutes. The result is a fantastic addition to a spring wardrobe.
Typically spring ushers in great new music and albums fit for a summer soundtrack. Choose a favorite album (new or old) and look at the song titles and decide if they are clever enough to display. Decide on song titles from the album and start setting out those letters. With an inkpad (black works best) and letter stamps, start stamping song titles to the canvas tote. Arrange them however you please in order to create patterns, shapes, and so forth. Use the creativity the cold weather had suppressed.
The two totes shown have song titles from Johnny Cash and “Rabbit Fur Coat” by Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins.
By Emily Herring Dunn
For the past year or so I have been doing many things to try to grow in my faith. One of those things is reading a One Year Bible to try and “know my stuff” and grow closer to God. While I do have moments when I let the everyday world take over and I fall behind on my God time, I am doing a better job than I ever envisioned.
OK, so that’s not quite good enough. I asked for the One Year Bible so I would get up every morning and spend time with God. While some mornings I’m full of excuses or tired from the previous days of the week, I shouldn’t let that interrupt the relationship.
I am slowly but surely realizing that this is a tough world we live in. While I knew this to begin with, it is sinking in more and more as I grow older.
I’ve realized that as Christians we have it even harder. We are living in a secular world that focuses on everything from sex to drugs, to little things like “bad words”, and that secular world idolizes such things.
In high school and college, I think things are even worse. Here we are from ages 13 to 22 and we’re learning how to be adults. I mean, let’s face it, we are learning, and perhaps no one truly ever learns what that word “adult” means.
Just to help this devotional along, let’s give you a definition:
Adult’ a. grown-up; mature—n. mature person, animal, or plant.
So, what does that mean? We could go in circles forever! You could look up grown-up, mature, person, and even animal or plant. How are we supposed to know when we’re adults and when life is supposed to be really tough? I can tell you, for me, life has seemed the most difficult between 13 and 22.
Between ages 13 and 22, a person is supposed to learn how to be mature. A person is supposed to learn good life choices, and as Christians we are supposed to learn how to live according to God’s will and plans. We may make plans of our own, but how do we make sure that everything is for the glory of God? As other individuals around us are focused on the secular world, making decisions that we don’t look at as lightly as they do, how are we supposed to grow up to be Christian adults?
Christianity’ n. religion based on the teachings of Jesus—Christian a., n.
According to Webster’s New Pocket Dictionary, Christianity is a religion based on the teachings of Jesus, so we can assume a Christian would be a person, animal, or plant that follows the teachings of Jesus, correct? So, an ‘Adult Christian’ may be something like this:
Adult Christian’ n. mature person, animal, or plant that bases his, her, or it’s life on the teachings of Jesus.
As ‘Adult Christians’, we are held to higher standards. We base our lives on the teachings of the number one teacher, the Messiah, the Son of God who died for our sins. And yet we are sinners everyday and surrounded by sinners as well. What does that mean? It means that we do not deserve to be Adult Christians, but we are blessed with God’s grace and forgiveness because of His son’s teachings.
OK, so what does this have to do with being between the ages of 13 and 22?
Between the ages of 13-22 a person is more apt to change, more apt to molding, and out on his/her own more so to experience what this world is all about. That’s a scary step, wouldn’t you say? Because when a person is 13 you don’t think much of him/her going out in to the world and becoming a new adult. At the age of 13, a person is still a child to most.
Then, suddenly, at age 18, a person is expected to become a ‘mature person,’ step out in to the world, and make the right choices.
I don’t think so.
We as Christians are growing every single day. As young adults, and as adult Christians, we strive to live by the teachings of Jesus Christ and to witness to those around us. It isn’t easy. The people around us give in to the temptations of everyday life, as we do, but the difference is that some of them don’t have the Savior to forgive them and rescue them from a damned life.
I know. It’s intense.
Psalm 37:3-4 says, “Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”
How amazing is that? As long as we trust in the Lord, do good, and take delight in the Lord, then we will live safely, prosper, and receive our heart’s desires. Now, who deserves that?
I can tell you who. No one.
We are living a blessed life. Though at times it may seem more difficult to be an Adult Christian than to just be an adult, it’s a choice we have made and a life we have been blessed with. Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins, and we must live each day with that in mind.
Though other adults may seem like they’re having more fun living a life that isn’t by the teachings of Christ, we have the ultimate blessing and fun a head of us—even after death! We live on forever by the grace of God, simply by glorifying Him and doing good by Him.
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again—my Savior and my God!” Psalm 43:5.
Your life is in God’s hands. Put your hope in God, praise Him, and He will give you your heart’s desires. As an adult, that’s a pretty good thing to know. We trek through life wondering if we will ever get what we desire, ever get what we think we deserve—and God says yes you will. Praise Him through the storms of high school, of college, or growing up and He will mold you in to an Adult Christians.
By Stacey Wilson
Lately, the Richter scale has seen its fair share of news headlines. The first quarter of 2010 left its mark in history as a period of earthen instability – thousands and thousands of people shaken from their normal routines within a matter of seconds, many of them changed forever.
The ground shifting beneath us, however, hasn’t been the only unsteadiness we’ve felt these past few months. Lingering economic problems, more terrorist attacks, and heated political climates have also contributed to a sense of global shakiness.
And then there are the seemingly ever-present personal issues “us girls” deal with that can shake us pretty badly: Will I ever find the right guy? What will I do after I graduate? Am I really where I’m supposed to be in life?
It can prevent us from moving ahead with confidence. It can paralyze us from making important decisions. And it can permeate us with a sense of uneasiness that makes life just plain hard sometimes.
When I find myself in this boat of apprehension, waves crashing around me in the middle of the deepest ocean, I can usually look back on my journey out to sea and realize that it was just me paddling.
There will always be uncertainty in life; the apprehension comes when we lose sight of who’s in control, who should be paddling with us. You see, there’s certainty in the uncertainty.
John captured these words of Jesus in his gospel account: “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
It’s certain that we will have trouble in this world. It’s also certain that Jesus has overcome it. So how do we live in the midst of the world’s uncertainties with confidence?
I think these verses in Proverbs 3 sum up what our actions should look like: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Straight. I like that word. It implies that even in the crookedness and debris of life, our paths can cut right through the heart of unexpected obstacles. We can become living examples of Christ’s overcoming power in this world. That’s how we’re supposed to live; trusting that God will make our path straight even when we don’t know if there’s a fallen oak tree somewhere up the road. We don’t have to know where the tree will be or how we will get past it, we just have to trust that he’ll provide an axe or the strength to climb over it.
Staying constantly focused on who is ultimately in control of the storms and tragedies that affect our lives can take the sting out of uncertainty. Each obstacle is an opportunity to experience more of God’s grace, mercy, and provision. When we look at our uncertainties in this light, we can’t really be moved.
I know that I have my regular column entitled Married in College, but I thought it may be refreshing to write an actual article on being married young. After all, many of you may be nearing an age where you feel ready to be with that person whom you love.
My husband and I knew each other all through high school. Though we were friends and we were there to support each other through rough times, we were not romantically involved until our senior year of high school. In the first month of our freshman year of college, we eloped.
While this may seem extreme and not well thought out to many of you readers, we are still going strong and still feel like we did when we first started dating.
It’s not easy. Being married young is NOT easy. No matter how easy people may make it look on the television or through articles or books, it is not easy.
I think it’s and for people who got married young to admit the trials and tribulations they faced. Why? Because when you marry young you are automatically put into a category of concern. People do not understand why you couldn’t wait; if it’s so meant to be, why can’t the couple wait a few more years?
Everyone has their reasons, but being in a category that is so questioned these days makes it hard for younger couples to admit they’re struggling. Getting married young is typically viewed as a mistake to the outside world, so for those who got married young they have to stay strong and appear as though nothing is ever wrong.
OK, you may think that’s a little over the top. There are the few who look at young married couples with admiration and wish that they could do the exact same thing. Perhaps others have patience, perhaps others aren’t sure, or perhaps others wait because they don’t want to be seen as other young married couples.
I cannot speak for everyone. I can simply give you some pointers.
One: If you feel as though you are ready to be married, make sure you talk it through. Don’t just get up and get married because others are telling you not to, or because you want to prove people wrong. Those are NOT good reasons. Get married because you know it’s right, because you know you don’t want to wait another day to start your forever together. Don’t get married for sex. Talk everything through and make sure you are getting married for the right reasons.
Two: Look at your financial situation. One thing I do look back on and laugh at is that Clark and I were not ready financially. We were both college students and the only reason we had money is because I had quite a bit saved from babysitting the year before. Neither of us had “real” jobs, and we were trying to make it in school. If you’re going to get married, you need a support system—friends, family, finances. Clark and I didn’t have any of those, possibly because we didn’t tell anyone we were getting married. Make sure you have enough money to stabilize yourselves in the beginning—especially if you are both in college.
Three: Talk to others about it. Clark and I were concerned that no one else would understand. We told my roommate, a few close friends, and hoped for the best. The day we got married, we e-mailed both of our parents a long letter explaining why. While I know that their advice would have been full of questions of, “How are you going to,” “Don’t you think you should,” “You are far too young,” I think we could have handled it. I think we would have seen things we didn’t think about, and things we needed to wait on, but I know we still would have done it. Premarital counseling, I think, is important; though we didn’t go through it, I think it’s a good suggestion—especially if you’re young. You need to have someone else talk you through situations, point out the importance of communication, and so on. We didn’t get all of that until after we were married, and I think the first few months would have been a lot easier had we talked to our closest friends and family.
The times that we live in do not support young marriages. Women and men are supposed to go out and establish themselves on their own. However, I think that if you are ready—you’re ready. If you know, you know. No one else can make the decision for you, but I think it’s a decision that is not to be made lightly and should only be carried out if you are completely positive.
While my three pointers left out the most important in my opinion, I thought it would be best to end with.
The Most Important thing to Remember: Always put God first. In the relationship, you must remember that there is Someone who needs to come before your spouse. It should be God, each other, and then everybody and everything else. God is always first, and if He is not first in your relationship, then you need to rethink your decision. Clark and I struggled with God in the beginning because we were so enamored with each other that we seemed to forget Him. Talk to Him about it, pray about it… because only He can give you the right answer.
Marriage is one of the most important decisions you will make in your entire life. It doesn’t matter if you decide when you’re 18 or when you’re 65 as long as you’re sure it’s the right decision, the right person, and God is not going to be pushed aside for it.
I married at age 18. Now, at age 21, I look back and know that I would still make the same decision, with the same man, but I would tweak it just a bit. I would make sure we had the support systems, would make sure we talked to someone, and would enforce the most important thing to remember: that God was first in the decision.
By Emily Herring Dunn
Now that you know the condition our apartment was in, you can understand the stress that would come with a family visit.
In April Clark and I prepared for my mom and little sister to visit from Germany. They were coming for my birthday as well as my older sister’s graduation from Roanoke College in VA. We had a fun-filled planned vacation, but my mom and little sister were not prepared for Homespun Hills.
The other thing that we all weren’t prepared for?
When my mom and little sister visited, all of a sudden I was possessive of everything. After all, it was our house. I was angry when they insulted anything, upset when they didn’t consult me about their plans—even if I was in class.
The first visit of my family coming to stay with us did not go entirely as smoothly as planned.
My mom and little sister arrived shortly before my birthday. The plans we had for while they were “in town” was simply to go to the outlet stores up the mountain. Mom said she would take me on a mini-shopping trip for my birthday, and my little sister wanted me to help her pick out some clothes.
Well, the day after they arrived I left my house key with them and went to class. My mom wanted to run a few errands, and she needed the house key, obviously, to get back in.
Well, when I returned from class my mom and little sister were gone.
Clark had one key, and they had the other. Luckily, one of our windows didn’t lock, so I took my time (this wasn’t the first time) maneuvering the window to get it open and get in to the house.
I was furious.
I had told them what time I was done with class, and had thought we were going shopping when I got home. Mom said she just wanted to go here and there and would be back in time. How could they be so inconsiderate?
Between 30 minutes to an hour later they walked in carrying shopping bags.
I started spouting.
I gave them evil looks and wondered what on earth had happened. I thought we were all going shopping together. Did they forget what time my classes were over? I had to break in to my own apartment because they were out doing something we were supposed to be doing together!
After my mom explained and my little sister cried, we all settled down. However, this was only the beginning.
My birthday was on a Friday that year, but we had decided to drive to the outer banks for the weekend. We couldn’t leave until around 4, though, because Clark had to work. Though he assured us we’d get there in good time, mom didn’t know good time still meant 11:30pm.
The whole way there she muttered about his driving under her breath. It took all of Clark to keep his patience, and most of the time all of him lost.
When we first stopped for gas, and Clark asked mom to fill up, there was a conflict. Clark spilled out the how much we really had in our bank account, and then I was furious for letting my mother know how destitute we were.
Oh, how the list goes on.
While the weekend at the beach went very well, it was later that the true blow up occurred.
When we returned I had exams to take and we were going to have a “real” birthday celebration with a cake and such. While I was studying, my mom decided to invite our neighbor over for the birthday celebration. While I appreciated her thoughtfulness, I was annoyed.
I wanted my birthday to be with my family, only. After all, they were there for it—why did we have to invite our 40 year old neighbor who we saw everyday?
I started yelling.
I was yelling about my birthday, about my exams, about mom and Molly not respecting our house—everything.
I then commenced to tell our neighbor that my mom wasn’t feeling well and would he mind if we just sent over some food. My mom emerged from the apartment and started yelling at me, in front of our neighbor, telling me not to lie.
Our poor neighbor.
Clark pulled us in to the apartment and played peace maker, which was surprising because he and my mom had been complaining about each other to me just earlier that day. We then went back to apologize to our neighbor after Clark had calmed us down.
While the visit ended up being wonderful, it was a lesson-learning experience.
I learned that my mother is always going to be my mother, even in my house.
I learned that Clark and I still had a lot of growing up to do before we were ready for relatives to stay with us.
I learned that Clark and I had to establish ourselves as our own entity, our own family.
I learned that my parents, and Clark’s parents, still had a lot of accepting to do.
I learned that everything was going to take time.
I learned that everything would be OK as long as we kept putting God first.
So, this column probably isn’t as entertaining as the last few. I must say that while the visit still sticks out in my mind, I can’t remember a lot of the details. I can’t remember my exact words or my mother’s, I can’t remember Clark’s attitude before or after he played peace maker, and I can’t remember exactly all that my neighbor had to endure.
What I can remember is that we got through it. We survived the first visit of others that were to come, and I finished my first spring semester of college.
We had no idea what was on our schedules for the next year.
Those of us in our twenties don’t always fully understand money mishaps before jumping head first into the “real world,” so it’s a good idea to figure out how to manage our money now. One of the smartest things you can do is to start saving for retirement as early as you can afford to do so (enter: disgruntled sighs). Retirement sounds a long way away, and this may seem difficult since many of us are already on tight budgets. However, the more time your money has to grow, the more money you’ll have when you’re older. This is because of the power of compound interest, or the interest that is added to your principal, so you earn interest on the interest in addition to your contribution. Not too shabby, but if you need a bit more motivation to start saving for your future now, many companies even match your retirement contribution.
Another area to look into is an investment that many people overlook: health insurance. Even though it isn’t a tangible purchase, it will prevent financial troubles if you end up in the hospital. If you’re not covered by your school or employer, look into purchasing a health plan for yourself. Also consider an emergency savings fund to prepare for unexpected expenses, but don’t confuse this with your retirement savings.
If you’re more focused on the present moment, one thing you can do is build your credit now. Stick with one card, so it’s easier to pay your bills on time and in full. Although those “10 percent off your purchase” offers that retailers incessantly entice you with seem like a great deal, they’re also throwing in high interest rates and fees with the card. If you carry a balance on your credit card and are tempted by zero percent offers if you transfer your balance to a new card, be careful. Credit card transfer offers usually carry fees once the promotion period is over. On a similar note, avoid getting bogged down with debt by only charging items on your credit card that you can pay back immediately. Steer clear of only paying the minimum. This way, you won’t be in debt for a long period of time. It’s also important to only borrow what you need. Just because you may qualify for a large student or auto loan doesn’t mean you should borrow the full amount.
The bottom line is that living modestly will help you save more money for the future. In the words of British politician, James Burgh, “In prosperity prepare for a change; in adversity hope for one.”