All posts by bittercoffeeho

I am just a salty, bitter ho trying to make my way in this world with nothing but my razor sharp wits, eye-bags and emotional luggage in tow. Although I am bitter like black coffee, I cannot actually stand black coffee.

Disaster adult…

Yes, this is a real thing.

Especially for all the grey area adults, those kids born between 1994 and 2000, who aren’t millennials and aren’t Gen Z kids. And are coming into this world as adults and frankly sucking ass as it.

So we coined the term disaster adult. Here’s to my fellow disaster adults.

To all the kids stuck eating ramen for 3 meals a day because they weren’t really taught how to grocery shop.

To all the kids who can tell you the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, but can’t tell you how a tax bracket works.

To all the kids who can drive a car but can’t change a tire.

To all the kids who can’t afford fresh produce because they have to pay for their lights to stay on.

To all the kids who drown their sorrows in social media and memes because they can’t afford therapy.

To all the kids coming to terms with the capitalist hell we exist in that dictates our every decision in life.

I raise my glass to you.

Tarot 101: The Basics…

So this is one of witchcraft’s more commonly portrayed aspects in modern media. Everyone knows of the crazy old gypsy woman reading Tarot cards and palms at her velvet-covered shop with a big ass crystal ball and jars filled with unmentionable items.

While some of this is true for witchcraft (looking at all those memes about mason jar hoarding), Tarot is way more basic than that.

Tarot decks are made up of 78 cards. These cards are split into two main categories, Major arcana and Minor arcana. Major arcana makes up 22 cards of the deck and have all the most famous cards, like The Lovers and Death. The Minor arcana cards make up the remaining 56 cards of the deck and are split into four suits, like a standard deck of cards.

However, the suits are different than a standard deck. Where a standard deck is made up of Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, and Clubs, a Tarot deck is made up of Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands. Now the Tarot suits do coincide with regular suits, so if you’re trying to be sneaky or looking for a new Tarot challenge, you can use a regular deck just as you would a Tarot deck. Cups coincide with Hearts, Pentacles with Diamonds, Swords with Spades, and Wands with Clubs.

An interesting note about the Major arcana is that although they are numbered, they are numbered from 0 to 21, instead of 1 to 22. We’ll go over more of the Major arcana later on.

Tarot is a form of divination magic, like reading tea leaves or casting oracle bones. Another form of card divination is using oracle cards, which are different than Tarot cards because oracle cards can come in different kinds of deck sizes and content, whereas Tarot is normally based on one set standard.

Tarot decks are usually illustrated and based off the Rider-Waite Tarot deck structure. Most decks use their face illustrations off the standard Rider-Waite deck that’s been in print since 1910 and are considered the standard for  Tarot decks. Nowadays, there are many illustrators creating their own stylistic face illustrations for their own Tarot decks, drawing from the Rider-Waite deck as the foundation.

Speaking of the Rider-Waite deck, many pros agree that to start learning with a deck based on the Rider-Waite deck since it is such a common and accessible deck. As well as being the most common deck available, since everyone uses it basically, the resources online are countless if you need help interpreting a card or learning a new spread.  Besides online, Tarot has been around since the Middle ages, meaning that there are books upon books you can reference, although some books reference how Tarot was used as a simple card game before it was used for divination purposes.

That’s just some of the basics involving Tarot. With a topic this old and rich, there’s always more to explore and discover and learn.

Intro to Witchcraft…

We all know about the witch hunts where many woman were burned at the stake or drowned for any reason at all. Witchcraft was more of a blanket term back them to describe anyone who wasn’t fitting in with societal norms.

But witchcraft itself has somehow persevered through the years and is seeing a resurgence of late as more and more women are delving into the history behind it and are finding that it is a much more open community than originally led to believe. Not only is it an open community where members are more than willing to teach and answer questions about witchcraft and wicca, but it is also becoming a more holistic approach to spirituality than other forms of organized religion.

Some of these benefits include worshiping who you want without any guidelines on exactly how you HAVE to worship your deity. You also can pick from across cultures all around the world to find a deity that actually suits you and your life instead of a monotheistic religion. Not only is the spirtuality aspect a major winner of why so many people are turning to witchcraft and wicca, but the fact that many attributes of spell work and witchcraft itself revolve around nature and appreciating nature.

So for some who are wiccan, a day at church could be hiking a local mountain and cleaning up litter, or taking a walk through the woods and appreciating the nature that surrounds their area, or maybe it means going down to a local park and sketching some of the squirrels and birds to give as offerings to a deity. I personally understand how any of these activities, done with the proper reverence, beat sitting in a musty old church all morning listening to a man try to interpret a book instead of doing so myself.

Now before I get carried away, let me make a disticntion.

Wiccan is the nontraditional belief system (however considering witchcraft has existed longer than organized religion, maybe this should be considered traditional) of worshiping Non-Christian deities and more than one deity. Most people refer to it as a form of paganism and I guess it counts on a purely technical basis, considering how the dictionary defines words.

Witchcraft is the blanket term for practicing various forms of magic, usually in correlation to a deity, but not always.

So you can be wiccan and practice witchcraft or you can be wiccan and not practice witchcraft, or you can practice witchcraft and not be wiccan. But that’s the beauty of witchcraft. It give you the options and choices to grow spiritually how you want to and with what suits you.

Does this make witchcraft evil? In the eyes of some of the more extreme Christian groups, yes. But for one group who believes that being gay is wrong and that vaccinating your kids is wrong and that divorce is wrong and that only one person has the answer and the other that appreciates other cultures and nature and works primarily to bring about positive solutions to problems… You can see where I’m going with this right?

So maybe you can see why I’m getting into witchcraft. I can do my own thing without have to play into the notion that only one god exists to try to explain the vast amount of uncertainties in the world. Or maybe I’m just an old-fashioned kind of girl 😉

How to: Vodka Gummy Bears…

So here’s how to make my personal favorite drinking snack.

It’s really easy, but does take some set up time.

So all you need:

  • A quart-sized mason jar or a reusable food storage container (any size will really do)
  • big bag of gummy bears (whichever brand you prefer, I always get the biggest bag possible for multiple batches)
  • a big bottle of regular vodka (whichever brand you prefer, I always just get the cheapest, biggest bottle I can find)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 12 hours

Step 1: Fill container 2/3 with gummy bears

Step 2: Pour vodka over gummy bears until just covered

Step 3: Put lid on container and put in fridge overnight

This is the best make-ahead party treat (for adults, duh) and it stays in the fridge pretty well until you want/need them. I usually just keep a jar in the fridge for a fun little something on Friday nights to treat myself for getting through the week. Because nothing says happiness like gummy bears and alcohol.

Tarot 101: Overview…

To start off my new series of Tarot posts, I just want to go over some basic stuff with you.

For starters, this is more of a way to document my learning of the Tarot deck than to be used as an absolute guide. One of the best study methods is to teach the concept to someone else, so by writing it all down and teaching the internet about it, it should help me learn it all better too.

Secondly, I’m not claiming I’m an expert. Yet. So if you see something wrong, shoot me an email or comment on the post. I’m open to learning anything and everything.

Thirdly, I plan on posting every few days, so I’m not going all out all at once.

Any comments or questions, please let me know. This is definitely a group journey at this point!

My new thing: something spooky…

Since nobody asked, I’m going to tell you anyway. I did give you all enough time to vote and guess though 😉 My new thing…

So my new thing, hobby or what have you, is witchcraft and tarot.

I’m planning on posting some cool witchy stuff over the next couple of weeks, including run-downs of tarot cards, some basic witchy item stuff, maybe some lore and cryptids too.

So let me know in the comments below if there’s anything you’re curious about and I’ll see if I can answer your questions.

Fashion: My favorite accessories…

This post has some affiliate links listed below, so if you decide to click on the links and buy that item, I get a little money as well, at no extra cost to you. 

I live a very busy life. Like, super busy all the time.

So I figured I would make a list of all the tings I carry with me day to day.

  1. Lip balm
  2. Wallet
  3. Phone (duh)
  4. Lighter Here’s one that I carry cause it’s cool af  Zippo Dragon Tattoo Lighter
  5. Butterfly knife (now fair warning, this is legal to have in my area but maybe not yours, check local laws first friends)
  6. Journal Here’s one I LOVE and the journal inserts I use  Refillable Leather Journal
     and Set of 6 Travel Journal Inserts
  7. Pack of smokes
  8. Lipstick (right now I’m using Mally Beauty Lip Crayon in Chic Cherry)
  9. Mascara ( get some Elf brand from your local store, it’s cheap and better damn good)
  10. Pens

Now, most of this stuff I do carry in a bag, but it’s never a huge bag. I love backpacks or messenger bags because they’re a bit more manageable and lasting than normal shoulder bags in my experience. Below are some of the bags I use or would definitely get in the future. (these are picture affiliate links, so if you click on the picture it will take you to the page where you can buy the item if interested. See my affiliate link disclosure at the top of the post)

Student life: Why I hate common college tips…

I absolutely hate all the advice floating around about college courses. I HATE it. And it’s not because it’s bad advice, it’s because it’s one-perspective advice. It’s all the tips and tricks that particular student found works for them.

So I’m going to go over all the dumb little tips I’ve found to be impossible for me.

  1. Don’t take any classes before 9 am or Don’t take any 8 am classes. This is the most bullshit advice I’ve ever heard. I know when you first get into college you overbook yourself. It’s just what happens. But it is sometimes impossible to avoid taking an 8 am class. At my school in particular, many required courses for my major are only available at 8 or 9, which means that to graduate I gotta drag my ass to class. College isn’t about living the Dream™, it’s about putting in the work to get a future and be more comfortable later in life.
  2. Find a club. I hate this advice because there is no way some of us can be committed to a full course load and a club, especially if you have a job you HAVE to work to afford eating and sleeping with a roof over your head. Not to mention the people who only want to focus on getting through their courses or can’t devote any other personal energy to a club. If you really think a club is going to help you get into some grad school or to get some job after you graduate, then maybe you should also keep your options open about what you want to do after college. I have gotten many jobs without the help of some club and I’m going to get into grad school without a club on my academic resume either, because I’m going to work hard at the other aspects of my life.
  3. Don’t forget to exercise and take care of yourself uwu I hate this advice because it only works for some people. There’s no reason to look at your already packed schedule and try to fit in an hour of intramural sports or 30 minutes at the rec center. If your campus is like mine, then you can bike or walk to class every day, which is just as healthy as hitting the gym every day because you get fresh air, sunshine (on sunny days of course) and some moderate exercise. But there’s no reason to kill yourself trying to keep up with everyone else who’s schedule allows for them to hit the gym or the rec every day.
  4. Focus on school, hustle, hustle, hustle Gods, I hate hustle culture. I hate that fact that people act like if you just work hard enough all your dreams will come true. Let me sit you down and give you some real life advice; You’re NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IS YOU. For me that means I will sacrifice everything except the basic needs. I will not lose sleep or skip meals. All those dumb graphics and dumb rhetoric about ‘stay up late and get up early to achieve your dreams’ is absolute bullshit. You can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor if you’re sitting in a hospital bed with malnutrition and exhaustion. So don’t skip work, dinner, or bed, because you have to make sure you are taken care of before you start trying to make your life better.

As much as good advice is out there, there’s tons more than you can’t even use 9 times out of 10 because it just doesn’t apply to your situation.

 

Survivng retail…

Retail is literal hell. Not metaphorical at all. I would not wish retail work upon my worst enemies.

But for those poor souls stuck working retail, here are some tips to get you through this.

  1. Treat your self. I don’t mean spend your entire paycheck on something you want cause it just came out. I mean, every week buy one little thing to motivate yourself to get through the week. Maybe it’s your favorite latte from Starbucks or maybe it’s Kitkat bar or maybe it’s a rental from Redbox for a night in. Whatever it is, I have a few ground rules to keep myself from going overboard, like nothing over $5.
  2. Go out. Not every night. But take yourself out every so often for ice cream or a movie. I know working retail is exhausting. I know it’s hard. But sometimes you have to take a break from being the responsible adult who’s going to work and paying those bills. So take a little break and enjoy something trivial.
  3.  Start a project outside of work.  You’re going to want to slap me for this, but hear me out. Start something big outside of work, say like repainting a room or starting a 1000-piece puzzle. Just start something to motivate you to finish the work day to go home to. Think about how expecting parents are more than happy to get off work to finish their nursery or how people join recreation sports teams. When you find something to get excited about after work, it makes the work day go easier.
  4.  Clean. Again, you’re going to want to slap me. But again, hear me out. I know how shitty it is to come home from a busy day and see a messy kitchen or bathroom and you feel all lingering motivation for anything flee your body. But think of cleaning like cheap therapy. No one is going to yell at you for beating the dust out of your rugs. No one will fault you for throwing out old magazines and junk mail. Or for aggressively scrubbing the stubborn grout stains on your tile. Cleaning is a good way to safely relieve some of the stress from work while still being productive.
  5. Take a fancy bubble bath. This goes hand-in-hand with treating yourself. Once a week, on your Friday (cause in retail do you ever work a real Monday to Friday, 9-5), go home and run a bath. Get some sweet ass bath bombs or some scented Epsom salts or some super bubbly bubble bath, light some candles, and soak for a few. Rest your tired feet and aching back in a nice hot bath to help relax your muscles. And there’s no shame if you’re a man. Seriously, a hot bath will do wonders for your back and hips and feet and knees. If you don’t have a bathtub, then just take a nice hot shower before bed and when you crawl into bed still warm from your shower, it’ll help you relax and sleep easier through the night.

I know working retail is a thankless job and it’s hard on your mental health and your body. Let me know in the comments below what you do to get through a long hard day in customer service.

My new thing…

So recently I’ve developed a new hobby so to speak.

It’s an old hobby rich in tradition and history

It’s been becoming popular again after falling off the map for a bit, since it seemed to have fallen out of style for one reason of another.

This hobby has ages of books to sift through not to mention all the new blogs and forums devoted to it.

Need another hint?

One word.

Starts with a consonant.

Guess in the comments below 😉

Working Retail: Expectation vs. Reality…

This is the only post I want anyone to read if you’re thinking about working retail.

Long story short, it sucks.

Long story, it sucks ass.

So here’s what I expected walking into retail:

  • Standing for 8 hours a day
  • Lifting things that are really fucking heavy by yourself
  • Cleaning up after grown ass adults

 

Here’s what I get every day working retail:

  • Standing almost my entire 8 hour shift. I get to sit for lunch and when I take a 5 minute pee break once a day.
  • Lifting things in the stupid conditions and having to be the only girl on any team willing to lift the 50 lb. dog food bags that are literally HALF my body weight.
  • Cleaning up after both customers and associates because not only do the assistant managers not do shit, our maintenance doesn’t do shit, our overnight stockers don’t do shit, no one does anything.
  • Giving up my weekends and days off that I put in for because my managers can’t figure out how to run a department for 2 days.
  • Giving up 90% of my free time because not does overtime exist, but the hours as so shitty for starting positions. I started out as a daytime stocker, with the shift running from 4 am to 1 pm. I was dead on my feet by quitting time and asleep on my couch by 7. I lost any social life I had and my boyfriend and I barely went out on date nights ever because I was always fucking tired from not only getting up at an unholy hour but because I was busting my ass all day, putting in overtime to make up for the shitty hourly wage of $11 an hour (which YOU CANNOT LIVE ON NO MATTER WHAT ANY ONE SAYS)
  • Being constantly cranky because I only have time to grab fast food on lunch and I constantly want to eat the fries at the McDonald’s across the street. I gained a good 10 pounds working here (I’ve always been a bit on the underweight side), but I also probably gained heart disease and diabetes because I’m downing fast food and energy drinks and anything with sugar in it to keep going throughout the day.
  • Managers who don’t care to do their job. They act like since they have a fancy title and a nice salary that they get to push off every responsibility onto every other employee, including other managers. But they want to keep their jobs because they like the pay.
  • Unreliable co-workers who will leave you high and dry on those horrid weekends with high traffic. These are the people who do the bare minimum already, expecting you to pick up the slack because they’ve been there for long enough that the managers can’t figure out how to get rid of them. But they will call in all the time and leave you to deal with the rude customers and high-strung managers.

 

Obviously, each job is what you make of it and attitude is everything. But coming in day after day and busting ass to get shit done, being nice or at least courteous to every single person, staying late and coming in early, all this shit wears you out so fast.

I’m in my early twenties and I feel like I’m in my late 40s, the way I ache and cramp and lock up especially with my knees and back. I would definitely recommend never working retail if you can help it. But I know you probably got bills to pay and mouths to feed, so only start in retail if the only other options are turning tricks or stripping.

High school mentality…

I can’t believe how often people working retail act like high schoolers. It’s ridiculous.

I just witnessed a grown woman afraid to tell the salaried managers that she was being bullied by other members of her team and it had escalated to the other team members now shoulder-checking this woman if they were in the same aisle. Like a grown woman was afraid that it was going to turn into a ‘he said she said’ thing. And she was worried about being seen as the guilty party.

I had to finally go to a manager and tell him that I was concerned for her safety and that this isn’t the first time the transgressors had tried to start drama. Luckily, he confirmed that he had suspicions about them and assured me that the woman they were victimizing was going to be treated as the victim in this situation and there was no need for her to feel that it was her word against theirs. But I know this isn’t the case everywhere.

I know there are managers who play favorites all day every day. Many of my managers play favorites all the time. I was lucky enough to have 3 siblings to contend with and know how to play the favorite game. But not everyone had a dysfunctional childhood like me. They help contribute to this bullshit going on and on, where someone can’t report sexual assault or harassment without fearing that they’ll lose their jobs, where girls are allowed to act however they want and do whatever they want while everyone picks up their slack.

I just can’t wrap my head around how these people allow high school behaviors to rule their lives and make them act immature while at work.

It’s even worse that people don’t seem to understand that in these situations, HR is your friend and that documenting everything is what will keep your ass covered.

It’s sad to think that the American public education system can turn out bullies instead of giving people the tools to succeed and therefore keep the cycle going. It’s sad to think that people are still so afraid to reach out for help in these situations, as though they’re going to get called tattletales and snitches.

It’s a vicious cycle and it’s a vicious way that people have to live their lives; coming to work to pay their bills and getting bullied by some high school drop-out who thinks they’re hot shit, when they’re nothing more than children playing at adulthood and addicted to drama.

Working retail: Dogs…

I fucking love dogs. I really do.

My dream is to own a cute little cabin in the woods and have at about 6 dogs and a little herb garden and a library and scare all the local children into thinking I’m a witch who will eat their souls.

The best part of my day at work is when people bring their dogs in.

Now, I know some of you are jumping to conclusions and shit, but let me say first; every single dog I have seen come into the store is better behaved than any of the children that run around screaming and breaking things and throwing stuff every where.

I even have a couple regulars who come in with their dogs (some are service dogs, of course) but it still makes me happy just to see them.

  • One couple comes in and they have this big beautiful Saint Bernard service dog and every time I see them, I imagine that putting that dog is soft and sweet. (I don’t ask because the dog is working and he’s on duty full-time)
  • One lady comes in with her sweet Golden Retriever, who i have pet and she is the sweetest thing and reminds me my golden who lives with my parents.
  • One lady came in a few weeks ago with her fat Dachshund, and I got to pet him and he was a sweetie and kept trying to get pets from everyone who passed by.
  • One man comes in with his dog sitting on his shoulder regularly. I have not pet this dog, but I love seeing this man come in, cause he wears a cowboy hat and his scruffy little dog perches on his shoulder like a parrot. It’s the oddest sight, but it makes me happy.
  • One man came in with his dog (I make faces when I see dogs at work because they just make me so happy), and he saw me make my stupid face and told his dog to go to me and I got to pet him and the dog gave me kisses and I fed him treats and it was the happiest day working retail because that dog was so sweet and the man was really nice about letting me pet his dog and give him treats.
  • One guy came in with his beefy pit bull and I was petting it when a lady came up and i was worried she was going to make a fuss over the dog being a pit bull, but actually just asked me and the man questions about the service dog laws for our area. The dog was very sweet and had this big blocky head.

 

These are the only fond memories I will hold of working retail. And I know what you’re all saying, if you loves dogs so much why don’t you just switch jobs to work at a doggy daycare or a kennel or something?  The short answer is I’m poor af. The long answer is that I cannot afford to switch jobs at the moment and expect to get paid the same amount I am currently getting paid because any job I find at a kennel or clinic or even retail will be at minimum wage and I can’t afford another year of working minimum wage if I want to go back to school or eat.

Procrastinating: what helps me…

Everyone procrastinates from time to time.

Some people (like me) do it all the damn time and we get very frustrated with ourselves because we feel like we should be able to get over procrastinating.

But every single time we look for help, the advice is usually along the lines of ‘well just stop procrastinating’. It doesn’t work like that, Brenda!

That’s like telling someone that their leg should just quit being broken or that they should quit having depression.

I know I procrastinate a lot because I feel inadequate. I know, I’m the queen of this hell hole and I feel inadequate? But its true. I feel like anything I turn out is substandard to anyone else even as I huff and mutter under my breath that I’m the best damn (insert progression here).

But that’s what’s helping me get through some of my procrastination.

Fake it till you make it

My life motto most days.

All you have to do is pretend that you’re a spy and you have to do this task and it doesn’t matter how bad because you’re undercover.

But seriously, you just have to tell yourself that whathisname is just as good as you so you have to be better. Or that if this guy can do so can I.

This method usually boosts my motivation for a half-second to at least consider getting my shit done.

But this doesn’t help you magically get your shit. There is no answer that I’ve found for waking up and everything being done.

Baby steps

I’m bad about this. Logically, if you can’t complete the whole task you can at least start on something small to get the ball rolling.

Now I’m an all or nothing kind of person and that has bitten me in the ass more times than I can tell. Sometimes from procrastinating and sometimes because I’m just too damn stubborn for my own good.

But this method has helped me get through so stupid ass essays for school.

Everyone will go on and on and on and on and on about their favorite way of breaking down a task into steps. Do this thing first or that thing first.

But you have to find what works for you. This means brainstorming. If that means sitting down and staring at a computer for three hours trying to break down an essay into parts you can handle, or if that means doing the bare minimum at work while trying to figure out how to handle that big project, then do what needs to be done so you have the right plan in place.

Take Your Damn Time 

This seems counter-intuitive, but here me out. You know how it feels when you half-ass a project and then feel guilty because you could’ve done better, but you rushed and scrambled to get your shit together.

Well quit rushing around like a headless chicken.

Stop for 15 minutes. Take a deep breath. Take another deep breath. Take another.

Now you’re good to keep going. Make a list of everything to do for the day. Now, what has to get done in 10 minutes? 20 minutes? An hour? By the end of the day?

You’ve got your priorities now. So take your baby steps and get the ball rolling. If it means just taking it a little at a time, it’s better than getting burned out and feeling bad about shitty work.

Now, this does mean that some priorities are going to have to be put aside or even dropped to keep other obligations. Let them go. Don’t feel bad about it.

So you miss a homework assignment. So you have to cancel a dinner with your friends to finish a project at work. So you have to stay late at a study group instead of catching another shift at work.

You have to know when to make those calls. But don’t feel bad, because at the end, you’re work is going to be whole-assed instead of half-assed and you’re going to feel motivated to get onto the next task.

Remember, it’s that whole thing of ‘to make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs’, but this times eggs means obligations and omelettes mean meeting deadlines.

 

 

Everyone procrastinates. Just don’t forget to keep moving. And for the love of whatever gods exist, don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not going to stop procrastinating overnight (if you could, I would have done it already and then summarily conquered the world by now). But you can still make progress.

Image that procrastinating is being stuck in one of those foam pits at a gymnastic gym. Those things are incredibly hard to get out of, but you have to keep moving. Just a little bit will get you closer to the edge of the pit and you can get out. But if you stop moving, you’re going to sink. If you stop moving you’re going to get even more stuck. So take those baby steps and think about how if some stupid grade schooler can get out of a stupid foam pit, so can you.

 

The First World Problem…

We’ve all heard that joke abput #firstworldproblems. It’s funny. Sometimes.

I love laughimg about the Starbucks girls with their uggs and leggings. Because there’s no way that can legitimately hurt someone.

But I can’t stand when try to debate higher education with me.

I’m not saying that higher education is the best and that everyone should go to college, because school isn’t for everyone. What gets to me os the people who look and me and other people like me like we’re stupid for going to college. Like we’re stupid for not going to trade school. Like we’re stupid because we have to pay for college out of pocket.

And then they start this debate and don’t care about all the facts and figures saying that college is way more expensive than the past and kids aren’t getting enough financial aid to cover it all.

I hate having to hold my tongue (and my hands from going slap-happy) because there’s no way I’ll ever be able to explain that college is important for some people to get certain jobs, like doctors and architects. But they keep looking at college like its a choice people can make and still go about their lives and get the job they want. How would you feel is your doctor came into the room like ‘hey this is my first day, just started, didn’t even have to go to school…’?

So when people ask me why I’m working at [insert retail giant name here] instead of going to school, I simply say that I have The First World Problem: my parents make too much money for me to qualify for government aid and they gave me a great childhood where I didn’t starve and I had a roof over my head so I can’t qualify for 90% of scholarships out there.

Now I’m not nay-saying on all the kids who worked harder than me and got full-ride scholarships or had tougher formative years and are able to get some amazing scholarships. I’m just saying that I’m stuck between a rock and hard place and if I open my mouth the wrong way about it, then I look like a major asshole.

Sure, I am a major asshole, but I’m not against these kids out there busting their asses to get an education.

But I’m saying I have a few critiques of the system.

  1. The financial aid application should not rely on your parents income unless your parents sign a waver agreeing to help with college costs and the propose amount they can help with. My parents aren’t able to help me pay for school because they’re still workong on loans from my older siblings. They should be able to tell the government that they are hnable to help financially.
  2. Colleges should make it easier for kids to petition for financial aid. My best friend tried to petition her school to let them know that her dad had lost his job and that she would need more aid since her mom’s salary would not be able to cover the cost of school. They denied her because they stated that the aid was awarded based of off last years income reported from the financial aid application.
  3. More colleges should allow payment plans. My college which has been around since the late 1800’s just allowed payment plans LAST YEAR. After I had to leave twice to pay off my bills to both school and lenders.
  4. Advisors and financial aid offices should work more closely to help students decide what classes they can take and what they can actually afford to take. Advisors will tell you everything you need to take. The financial aid office will tell you how much money you don’t have to spend out of poclet. But then you have to decide if you can even afford to go taking a full-class load of 15 credit hours at $400 per hour. Because of you’re not full-time you lose your government aid.
  5. The rule for becoming an indepedent student in the eyes of the government don’t even apply to half of the students entering grad school. So the government will look at only my tax information I have to be 25, married, or have a child. I can’t afford two of those things and one is impossible to become overnight. And grad students, kids who have been on their own for years now working and going to school and all that jazz, still have to sit down with their parents once a year to fill out a stupid application for money.

How many of you have been in similar situations? Any one have practical solitions to this mess? Leave a comment or send me an email.

Student life: Study Tips that actually work…

You’re here because you’re procrastinating. You can’t get the info to stick in your information-saturated brain and now you’re scrambling because you have midterms next week. After reading article after article after blog post after blog post, you’re seeing the same bullshit everywhere. And it’s not working for you.

Maybe you were a gifted high school student who didn’t need to study. Maybe all the methods shoved down your throat in school just don’t work or you can’t grasp the intricacies of the method. Worst of all, maybe you’re just trying to find something that actually works outside of what everyone else has been doing since the dawn of higher learning.

So here’s some tips from me that I found work for me.

  1. Spend 30 minutes every day unwinding. This seems counter-intuitive, I know. But if you just spent 6 hours learning and running around, you’re overloaded mentally. First thing I do when I get home from classes (unless I have to work right after class), is take off my shoes, put on a pot of coffee, grab a snack, and do some quick little chores, like the dishes or starting a load of laundry. These are all mindless tasks that you don’t have to spend any real thinking time doing. It also helps set you up for the next few hours. You have coffee (or tea if you don’t want to drink coffee that late, or milk or water or juice or whatever you drink) to keep you going through your homework, your dishes are done, you have clothes started for tomorrow.
  2. Set up your desk. Don’t count this time as part of your break. This is your pre-study prep time. Set up your desk with all the things you need, like you pens, your notebooks, your textbooks, your notecards, your laptop, your drink and snacks. Get your computer up and running and the online homework portal up. This is were everyone else shirks away in their tips; there is no way for you to do your work 90% of the time without being on your computer. 90% of homework is completed or submitted online so you will need your computer.
  3. ‘Eat the Frog’  This is a tip I saw floating around on the internet. It’s basically just starting with the thing you hate most. The thinking behind this is that when you do the thing you hate most first, you won’t push it off, you won’t half-ass it, you won’t ‘pretend’ it doesn’t exist (I’ve been there, don’t lie to me). This isn’t exactly what you want to hear, but you still have to get the work done. So if you have to work on Lit, Math, and Chemistry, and you love Math but hate Chemistry, then work on Chemistry first. Channel your energy hating it into beating that stupid class into submission. Then to reward yourself, work on your favorite class last to give your brain a little break.
  4. Give yourself a montage. Something that oddly inspires me to work hard is pretend that I’m in a movie. So play some music in the ‘background’ (headphones please, not everyone shares your taste) and pretend that Speilberg is filming a dramatization of your life in a Legally Blonde-esque montage of you doing schoolwork and putting your nose to the grindstone. Don’t act all embarrassed by this, you do it in your head already when you’re on a bus ride. So just channel Elle Woods and pretend you have to put your ex-boyfriend in his place by being better than him at his own game.
  5. Google is your new study buddy. Everyone acts like your teacher or your textbook hold all the answers to the class. But that’s utter bullshit. Your teacher may be an expert in the field but sometimes it’s hard to communicate ideas to each other. It’s the drawback of language and human thought. So don’t be afraid to Google a concept or find a Youtube video explaining it. Not everyone learns the same way, so you’ll have to do some legwork on your own to find what works best for you to learn a difficult concept in a week. And Google is very useful for finding practice exams from other professors across the world, or presentations, or study guides.
  6. Avoid brain-drain. You know the feeling; you’ve been staring at the same page for an hour and nothing is soaking in. This is your indication to take a real break. Now, people preach about taking breaks every hour or so, but I take breaks after I finish a flow. A flow is when you get rolling on a project or a section of reading and it’s all just rolling along. So why break a flow when the timer goes off, instead of riding it to the end and keeping the productivity going? But when you get to brain-drain, call it night. Only go back to the desk if you will absolutely fail tomorrow. So when you ride a flow to the end, get up and refill your cup, grab a handful of trail mix or something, and switch projects.
  7. Plan time Do this at the end of your study session. Pull out your planner and update your assignment tasks. Personally, I put vague notes in my physical planner, like ‘Lit class, reading sess, essay revise’ and in my digital planner I put all the details, like page numbers, upcoming projects, essay to-dos. When I plan, I cross everything off that I did accomplish for the day and plan for what I need to get done tomorrow excluding things like pre-assigned reading or homework that needs to be completed daily. This helps me to stay on track with my studying and lets me plan for the next day, including where I can study between classes or what I can push off if my homework runs late.
  8. Work, School, Play. In that order exactly. Everyone brags and boasts how they were able to go to school full-time and work full-time and all they did was prioritize, blah, blah, blah. I take my priorities into account by the hierarchy of needs by Maslow. If you don’t know what this is, Google is your friend, remember? So I spend my time working more so that I can eat and sleep in a real bed. Then I study to get myself ahead in the world. Then if I have anytime left, I plan for dinners with my family or date night with my boyfriend or movie night with my friends. But they don’t get my priority. If you really feel lonely, you have a magical device that allows you to contact people anytime, anywhere.

 

Some of these topics I may cover in depth later, but please take to heart that you don’t have to do things like everyone else. If you still need answers, or you’re just frustrated that you can’t get this whole school thing to work, hit me up. I’m an open ear if nothing else and maybe all you need is to just talk your problems out.

Why I’m doing this…

So I just want to clear the air. I’m not here to blog and make money off all you people on the internet. There’s enough of that going around. Would I like to make a little cash here and there from my blog? Hell yeah. But I’m not working to turn this into the ‘full-time career’ that every other blogger brags about.

Because that’s just not feasible. At all. How are these people able to quit their jobs as productive members of society just to sit around all day and rake in money from other hard-working people? I don’t want to quit my job to blog all day (I do want to quit because retail sucks ass, but because I want to blog all day).

I love working, and I know that some things just can’t be accomplished yet with technology, like stocking shelves or mopping floors (okay, I know rumbas are a thing, but those aren’t good for commercial places yet). I don’t want to sit back and let the cash roll in.

I’m blogging just to get some of what I think out into the great internet void. Because you can only complain so much to the people you know. And it’s fun to watch people to get all pissy because I’m throwing their lying asses under the bus for trying to mislead regular people into thinking that all their problems can be solved with a simple blog post and some affiliate links.

So don’t think I’m doing this just to get money from you or to live off the system and money made from other people’s generosity. I’m just here to scream into the void.

Student Life: Organization…

Just a heads up: There is an affiliate link below and I may get compensation if you decide to click through and buy some of the neat stuff I’m showing. But don’t worry that I’m trying to charge you out the ass; there’s extra charge for you. You’re the best, I appreciate you!

All those kids out there working and studying have all sorts of tips and tricks to keep on track. So I thought I would give you all my unnecessary input. Cause why not?

While working full-time, it’s hard to keep things under control, and adding in social time and clubs is next to impossible.

And everyone has their ideas on how to stay organized. EVERYONE.

But there’s no right answer to these questions. There’s no one way that works for everyone and sometimes you have to mix and match tips to find what works for you. Here’s what works for me, most of the time :).
Two forms of calendars: one paper and one electronic

Using two calendars helps me really keep track of everything. Most people say just use one, but this method helps me because it’s two reminders: a physical copy I can hold and carry and a digital one that I can set reminders for constantly from my phone and laptop.

Having both a physical planner and a digital calendar makes me keep deadlines in mind at all times so that I’m not overbooking myself on other assignments or meetings.

I take the time at the end of each day to make sure each is updated for the next few days so I’m always on track.
Two notebooks

This is a common tip and if you’ve ever tried you’ll see why. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this method, allow me to elaborate.

You can two notebooks. Simple enough. One is for your pretty notes and one is for class/reading notes. You begin by writing your notes in the ‘ugly’ notebook, from reading or from class, taking as many notes as possible. Then when you go over your notes for studying later in the day, you rewrite them in your ‘pretty’ notebook.

It sounds completely redundant and like a waste of time. But it’s a great study tool. Because not only are you having to recall from memory what was reviewed in class, but the repetition from writing the notes again makes you remember it better.

This method has really helped me work on recollection and associating concepts.

Color-coding and Filing Systems

This seems like another obvious idea. But for those who are clueless with filing systems, then listen up.

Every semester I try to keep every thing based in color-coded files based on the class subject; say, purple for lit classes, red for math, blue for sciences, etc.

As you get assignments back, you file them in these folders. How? One side use for handouts given in class, like resource pages, and one side for worksheets, homework, quizzes, and tests by DATE, oldest in front, newest is slipped in the back.

Then you have all your materials ready come test time to review.

Also color-code between classes. In your planner(s), color-code your time for classes and study time per class. For example, Math Class 1 is red in your planner, Science Class 1 is blue, Lit 1 is green, and so on. Then when you look at your schedule, you can quickly glance over it and see which classes you have coming up and what you need to study that night.

Wilderness Scout Bag

You can guess what this one means. Always have your bag prepared for the day.

Besides all the stuff you definitely need, think of all the things you MAY need. Maybe you’ll get out of your second class early and this will give a few minutes to review between classes. Maybe you’ll get stuck late at your lab tonight so bring a snack.

Here’s everything I pack in my bag for class everyday:

  • blank notecards and notecard holder (these can usually be found around back-to-school time)
  • calculator
  • phone charger
  • pencils
  • E-kit
    • Tampons and/or pads
    • Band-aids (you never know when those heels will give you a blister or you’ll get a nasty papercut during research)
    • Hair ties
    • bobby-pins
    • ibuprofen/acetaminophen
    • make-up if you wear it
  • planner
  • Colored pens
  • Holding folder (this is a folder/binder I carry to hold my papers until I get to class or home from class to file away properly)
  • Any books for Lit classes (unless you have a digital version, then maybe an e-reader if you have one)
  • A granola bar or two, or some trail mix
  • Water bottle : More often than not I don’t carry a water bottle on campus because I basically live off coffee and caffeine but stay hydrated folks
  • My laptop and charger (depending on where I’m going and what I’m doing that day)

This seems like a lot, but most of it fits in a pencil case or those smaller accessory pockets of a standard backpack.

Keep your bag organized and ready for the day so you can maximize your time but not having to search for papers, or pens, or your books, or a snack.

Notice I didn’t include my keys or wallet in this list and that’s because as an adult those are things you should be remembering every day.

Study Space

This is going to be your hub for school work. Most people think of a desk in their room. And that’s exactly it.

Keep this area clean and prepped for work every day. And after a long of studying and reading, it seems like a hassle to clean off your desk space, but it feels so satisfying to throw that shit in a drawer and be done with it for the day.

But keeping this area clean is critical to keeping your space organized. You’ll be able to find notes, flashcards, and worksheets with ease, especially using a color-coding system and folder system.

What little things kept you organized during your school days? Or maybe you’re struggling right now? Chat me up in the comments and let’s see what we can come up with it.

Working Retail: Immature…

The most startling thing about working retail is how your coworkers treat you.

You can meet some of the nicest, generous people working minimum-wage for a retail giant. And you will also meet some of the oldest high schoolers of your life.

I’m not talking about high school kids who are super seniors but trying to get out into the world. I’m talking about the people who, for no reason, choose to hate your guts and willingly make your job 20x harder than it needs to be. Especially when you need to communicate with these people regularly.

I currently deal with 4 of these people; two of which graduated school just a few short years ago, and two of which have decided to act like high schoolers, at their job, well into their 40s.

Now, this kind of attitude surprised the shit out of me because before I worked retail, I was a file clerk/admin assistant for a local contraction company (i.e. a construction office bitch). I had absolutely no problems with the other office workers and the field employees (all the service guys and the construction guys), whenever they came into the office they were more than respectful of me and the other ladies in the office.

Since working retail, I have been threatened to take our dispute ‘elsewhere’ because I laughed at a joke made at one person’s expense because the joke was made by a salaried manager and I was nervous. What else am I supposed to do when a salaried manager, who can make or break my day, who can fire me, who can write me up for any little thing, makes an inappropriate joke? Nothing. I can go to HR after the fact, but not during.

I have been told that, while working on a special project for my department, one of the previous managers over my department thought I wasn’t doing a good enough job and that if I had just ‘done it sooner, you wouldn’t need help’. She said it to my face, after I was not told that I needed to come in early to help with a different project. She has since been extremely cold towards me.

And a different manager who previously was over my department, but still works closely with mine, refuses to communicate with me about anything. Just last week, she purposefully neglected to tell me about some boxes that needed to stocked that had accidentally ended up with her freight. She was less that 10 feet away from me in the backroom and didn’t say shit. Not a single word. She left my freight on the floor in her area and neglected to tell me that it was even there. I only knew about it because I was 10 FEET AWAY FROM HER AND HEARD HER TALKING!

Now, I can theorize why these girls are all mad at me. It’s not hard to do. But this is your job; you  shouldn’t be causing drama and being completely immature just because you’ve been there however long or your apathetic about your job. Just because you don’t care doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t. I have bills to pay, college to attend, mouths to feed, etc. I can’t afford to settle this shit like I did in high school where I had no qualms about calling you out in public and calling you on your shit. Hell, I was constantly ready for a throw down in high school. But I’m an adult now and willing to have sit downs and communicate where these animosities are coming from so that I don’t hate coming to my job every single fucking day.

I think the worst part is that I’m not the only person these bullies target. The two younger girls I work with are now targeting two of the other girls on their team. Why? I can’t tell you. The two innocent girls come in, do their jobs, go home. They are just like me, trying to pay their bills and keep their heads afloat. They don’t start shit and they really are nice girls. But these two drama queens have decided they are the next best thing.

It’s absolutely ridiculous how people can get away with acting like this. And whenever I communicate that I’m being treated this way to my managers, they just shrug it off and tell me ‘you’re young so you have to learn to be the bigger person’. No the fuck I don’t. I am the bigger person by coming in every day, trying to be polite and courteous even though I really want to throw blows. I already am the bigger person for pleading with my managers to set up meetings with some of my colleagues so we can all get on the same page and clear the air. Just because my managers don’t do anything about it doesn’t mean that I’m not trying or that I’m not being the bigger the person.

But then again, why am I, the twenty-something having to be the bigger person to a forty-something adult woman who has no right to treat me the way she does.

Maybe I’ll start being the bitch I was in high school and show them I mean business, because apparently civility and honor mean nothing to these people. And they’re about to mean nothing to me.

Have you ever dealt with people like this while working retail or is this just my store? I would love some feedback below!

Fashion…

Fashion is stupid. Exceedingly stupid.

Clothes for women are so impractical; either too short, too thin, too cutesy, too slutty, or too old-fashioned.

I can dress in a short skirt and be called a slut, only because I am showing off my legs (oh god no, not legs! that’s too damn sexy).

I can wear a cropped sweater and be called dumb because no sweaters are a normal length.

I can wear a professional blouse and freeze half of the day because it’s made from the thinnest materials available (why? people don’t want to see my nipples when I’m giving a presentation).

I can wear a moderate length skirt and get dirty looks for not dressing my age. (Oh god, now I’m not showing enough leg! Where will the madness end!)

Or I can wear a simple t-shirt with unicorns and rainbows on it and look like I’m an 8 year old girl (even though I pay taxes and vote).

There’s no winning unless you start wearing men’s clothing and then people judge you based on stereotypes of sexuality.

Like, what do you people want from women? We can’t be naked unless it’s on paper and we can’t wear practical clothing unless we’re crazy, old, lonely, cat ladies and we can’t wear 90% of clothing available without getting shit for it. So what do you want?