the #SAsearch is over!!

Seven months.

It has been seven months since my #SApro search began.

I remember sitting in a Which Wich in early January, writing about the journey that is “job searching”. That was 200 days ago.

200 days of job searching.

200 days.

This job search has been the most complicated, interesting, suspenseful, stressful, confusing, exciting, anxious, weird adventure. And now that it’s officially over, I feel like I can properly discuss this process that I have tried to keep vague and private until now.

But before we board the roller coaster for one last ride, let me share my big news!

I accepted the offer of Coordinator for Programs at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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Ways to know you’re adulting besides getting married



I started my graduate assistantship two years ago.


731 days ago (leap year surprise!), I bought myself another two years of fake adulting before the real world.




Sometimes I forget how many different paths of life are available. I have three degrees, moved to a new state with my boyfriend, and just adopted a dog (!!!). I have no ring. I have no children. And right now, I have no job.

Some people my age have rings. Or they’re married. Or they have children. Or they still live in our hometown. Or they’re still in school. Or they never went to school.

Our generation really likes to milk the whole “adulting” phase (example, example two, and example three, for your enjoyment). Although we borderline mock it, I think we are so obsessed with the concept of “adulting” due to the great pressure we have from others on proving that we can be independent and make it in the real world. From some set of expectations that everyone agrees on but no one knows who set them, we believe the following:

In order to become an adult, you must:

Find “the one”

Get married

Have children

Pay bills

Earn the title of “adult”

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 4.05.27 PM
Our expectations of adulting

This can be cool. This is traditional. (Trust me, I’m a sucker for tradition). But welcome to 2017, folks, where we can have a million ways to earn the same result: happiness.

A lot of these experiences (getting married, having children, okay maybe not paying bills but you get the point) are so sensationalized that we forget the real reason we should do them isn’t for others, but for ourselves.

I don’t care how you adult. I don’t care if you never adult. I don’t care how you measure it. I just want you to be happy.

“Adulting” isn’t a thing. It’s not adulting. It’s just living.

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24 things to do while 24, featuring the evil blue square

Disclaimer: This blog post really includes three posts in one!
Click here to jump to “23 Things To Do While 23”
Click here to jump to the blog about the evil blue square
Click here to jump down to “24 Things to Do When 24”

I had another birthday, and I’m late on my next birthday bucket list again!

Last September, I posted a blog about 23 things that I wanted to do while I was 23. Last June, my “friend” (aka my boyfriend) suggested that I do this list. Well, if you’ve kept up with my blog posts, you’ll know how chaotic 23 was for me! I’m excited for 24 since I’m a lot more settled in my life– but that doesn’t mean I’m slowing down! First, I want to do a review of my 23 list, and then I’ll share my 24 list!

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Expectations Are Fancy (and usually wrong) Guesses

Thank you to Erica Noll for this great idea, from my Blog Idea Contest.

Topic:  Dealing with the expectations of everyone (including yourself)

plural noun: expectations
  • a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
    “reality had not lived up to expectations”
  • a belief that someone will or should achieve something.
    “students had high expectations for their future”

I’m not going to lie– I wrote my first draft of this blog yesterday*, and it was complete crap. Okay, maybe a little harsh, but it certainly wasn’t good. My personal editor (aka my boyfriend…) always reads over my posts before I post them to check for clarity, grammar, spelling, repeated words, made up words, etc. I had him read this last night because I felt that it was just “meh.” He agreed. It was just “meh.” Not like it was bad, but, well let me just quote him (sorta because not like I actually wrote down what he said):

“Amanda in writing is usually funny. She’s usually sassy and funny and real. This post didn’t have any of that Amanda in it. It just, was a normal post. Unless I knew you wrote it, it didn’t even sound like your writing, because it was just, meh.”  – Boyfriend

Okay, you get the point. I was meh.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t have coffee. Maybe it’s because I didn’t feel great yesterday.

Or maybe, I was writing what I expected to write, so the more I tried the more disheartened I became.

Did ya catch it? Expected, get it? Because this post is about expectations?!

*Giggles at self while writing* Well, normal Amanda writing is back!

Here’s the thing about expectations: none of us are That’s So Raven, so no one really knows what to expect (and even she was usually wrong, seeing something out of context!) We have expectations to try to prepare us for something, or pump us up, or excite us, or calm us down, but really, I think we usually use expectations more as a crutch than to admit that we don’t know something.

When I was first brainstorming for this blog, I thought it was going to be so cool to share my expectations and the reality of each situation. But maybe the reason my blog was so “meh” was because, well, I basically just kept saying “expectation was wrong, expectation was wrong, expectation was wrong….” and, well, that’s not very exciting to read about. And that really got me reflecting on expectations, and then I realized that I actually share them all the time.

Look at my past posts: I talked about my expectations for TPE and NASPA and then the reality of the situation. I talked about my expectations of post-undergraduate life, and then the reality of going to graduate school when I swore I never would. I even talked about the reality when life started kicking my butt in my second year of graduate school, when I thought that my hard work would keep everything else in my life in place (spoiler alert: A LOT OF IT ISN’T IN MY CONTROL). Are you seeing a pattern yet?

So what’s the point of expectations anyway?

That’s where the real debate comes in.

In a way, expectations are fancy (and usually wrong) guesses. We can’t predict the future. While I’m all for preparation (especially for things like job interviews, meeting the parents, studying for a test, etc), a lot of times I have expectations for things that 1) really don’t matter, or 2) are going to change anyway.  It is interesting, however, to see how much expectations and reality match up, or how far off they are!

Let me give you some examples, shall I?


I’ll never go to grad school

Grad school will be like undergrad

I’m going to save money and meal prep

Long distance is going to be so hard and straining

I am going to pay attention and work hard

I will not be “friends” with my students

I am going to graduate with a job

I’m not moving in with my boyfriend

I will not get Chipotle. I will not get Chipotle.

I am going to finally start getting into a workout routine

I’m going to stay BFFs with all my sisters

I’m going to work 20 hours a week in my assistantship


I got my Masters in April

Just 80 pages of reading and three papers!

Chipotle… again…

When you care about something, putting in work isn’t difficult

Hard work doesn’t always prevent mistakes

Sends snapchats because I miss them

Summer is actually kind of nice!

Hey babe, when is rent due?

*dips chip in guacamole*

Does dipping my pizza in ranch count as burning calories?

Barely talks to more than family

32 hours later…

Okay, so what IS the point?

I know for me, it provides a sense of comfort. It allows us to begin thinking proactively about what we might encounter– like benefits, challenges, happiness, etc. It gives us a sense of security and ability to prepare for a situation. The problem with expectations is when a result differs, and we are unable to be flexible with the outcome. This is disappointing when it’s something like your food at a restaurant not tasting as good as you hoped, but it’s problematic when you end up hating a job or experience when you were really excited about it. Although it could be positive, if you take a chance and end up being thrilled with the result. But once we have several confirmed or denied expectations, we begin assuming that each scenario will be like the previous, and it begins to shape the way we think.

Think about food. If you keep going out to restaurants (or one particular restaurant) and expect the food to taste great and then, well, it doesn’t, you start to really dislike the restaurant. After a while, you probably won’t go back because, well why pay for a “eh” meal when you can get Chipotle? But the reverse is true. I LOVE Chipotle, and almost always have a great experience. So even if a few times it doesn’t meet my expectations, overall they are met, and I hold on to that knowledge for the future.

This is where we bring in self-fulfilling prophecy.

“A selffulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.” – Thanks Wikipedia

Ex 1– If you expect food at a restaurant to be good, and it isn’t then you’ll start to predict it won’t taste as good. Then, even if it does, you’ll probably think it doesn’t.

Ex 2– If you start a job that you expect will be amazing, then it isn’t, so you quit and find something new. Then that one, which you expected to be better, isn’t, so you quit and find something new again. Then you start to predict the job won’t be as good either, because you have bad luck with jobs, so even if it is pretty good, you think it’s not great.

Ex 3– If you have a strong friend that you talk to a lot, you expect to stay close. You call, text, FaceTime, and snapchat often. Since you expect to stay close, even when you don’t talk to them for brief periods, you know it’s about to change. So while you may not actually talk that often, you predict that you’ll stay close, which urges you to text them and check in.

See, expectations don’t have to always be bad. Even self-fulfilling prophecies aren’t bad– they can convince you of good things, even if that’s not the case.

The problem with expectations is when they are negative, and we turn those expectations into a self-fulfilling prophecy. We eventually just see the pattern, and stop giving each individual circumstance a chance.

But contradictory statement– negative expectations can be a good thing, like when you’re in a lot of bad relationships. You start to expect he’ll be a “jerk” boy, so you already have your guard up. Bad example, but you get the point.

So yeah.


They’re weird.

Maybe you expected this post to be shorter, or to make sense. Well, sorry if I let your expectations down.

Point being: I never thought I would get into such a deep, personal reflection on expectations. But they’re definitely weird, and I will definitely be more cognizant of it now. I guess what I’ve really learned from it, is that you can expect whatever you want, but only some things are in your control.

Like for work, and grad school, and everything, I am going to expect more out of myself than everyone else does from me. My supervisor’s expectations of me were to work hard, and grow. She didn’t expect me to be perfect. She didn’t expect me to never make mistakes. She did expect me to own up to my mistakes. I realized that we often set the highest expectations for things we cannot control, or for ourselves. Which is silly, because then we will just be disappointed if they aren’t met.

But you know what? Don’t expect perfection. Expect your best. And strive to work for that every day.

And that’s how I deal with expectations.


XOXOXO, amandarae

quote of the day: “Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.” – Marilu Henner

*Yesterday — I wrote this blog Monday, then again on Tuesday. Meant to revise it and post it Wednesday, until I noticed it was the one-year anniversary of my blog to which I wanted to post in honor of that. So by “yesterday” I mean Monday, but it really was the yesterday of when I wrote it!


It’s been a year! A whole year!

24 posts published. 2 currently sitting in my drafts that I’m writing/editing. (Guess I’m posting the next one tomorrow!)

The earth has completed a full orbit around the sun, and we are back in the same physical location as we were 365 days ago.

My oh my, how much things have changed!

*starts thanking important people in her life as if she won an Oscar or Tony or something cool* 

But really. A year ago I was spending my summer in Tennessee at my internship. I had no idea how much I would grow in my second year of graduate school, or know that I would basically be the sole advisor to my organization after my supervisor left in the spring. I had no idea I would have so much success at TPE, but also turn down every opportunity so I could be with my boyfriend again. Heck, at this time last year, I didn’t even think we were going to last through the summer, but here we are! So yes, a lot can change in a year.

In fact, let’s talk about some of those changes, and my reflections on each scenario. This goes a little hand-in-hand with my expectations blog I’m posting tomorrow, but I’ll try to keep it separate enough that you won’t get bored if you read them both!

First off, let’s go back to that whole turning down job things so I could be with my boyfriend. I talked a lot about this struggle and my justification in one of my last posts, but I was reading the other day and found a section that really resonated with me about it as well.

“I looked at these friends and realized: Well, duh, work is gratifying, but it isn’t everything, and it’s not fun to sleep with at night.” – Lauren Graham, Talking As Fast As I Can, page 90-91

What an interesting quote, Lorelai Gilmore! But honestly, I wish I would have had this quote a while ago. Work is gratifying, especially if you get to do what I do, but it’s not as gratifying when I go home to stare at my phone screen every night.

So my entire living situation with my boyfriend has changed. But what else?


NowI’mlivinginNorthCarolinahwhenIthoughtImaybelivingsomewhereelseespeciallyaftergettingajobafterTPEandayearagoIwasinTennesseeandwasn’tevensureifIknewwhatfunctionalareasIwantedtogointowithmycareerandIwasrunningbeforeIbrokemyfootandIwasstrugglingtofindselfcareandreallyfindsatisficationinthequietandthatiswhyIstartedthisjobinthefirstplacebutthenIrealizedIactuallyreallyloveditandIgotintoagreatroutineofbloggingandreadingatnightwithaglassofwineallcurledupinmybed. *starts huffing and puffing* Then…  *deep breath* IwentbacktoschoolandmovedintoahousewithsomegirlsinmyprogramandonefriendofmineandIbecamereallycloseandwehadafulltimestaffmemberleavesoworkgotalotharderbutIwasproudofmyselffordoingsowellbutLawclasswaskickingmybuttandmakingmecryalotandtherewasjustalotgoingoninmylifebutthentheholidayswereanicebreakbeforethejobsearchbaganinthespringandtheneverythinggotreallycrazybuthenIgraduatedandImovedandI’mhappyandjustabouteverythingisdifferentthanitwasayearagobuteverythingisdefinitelybetteranditsdefinitelycrazyhowquickthingscanchange. Ineverpredictedmyselftobehere,butIwouldn’tradeitforanythingelse!


Moral of the story: I never predicted my life to be where it is now, but I also couldn’t imagine if it wasn’t this way. I am just so genuinely happy, so excited for the future, and still in slight disbelief that this is actually MY life.

Sean laughs at me because sometimes I’ll just break out into hysterical laughter, and say “Whose life IS this that I’m living?!” Because it just feels so surreal, like it’s something I hear about from friends or on Facebook but isn’t actually mine.

But wrong.

This is my life.

Because I worked for it.

I worked for my happiness. I worked for where I am.

Grad school wasn’t easy. A long distance relationship wasn’t easy. A big move by myself, without a job, wasn’t easy.

But when I care about something enough, you find the will power and motivation to make it easy-ER. (Get it? I was going to say easy, but then said easier? Yeah? No? Okay.)

Like I said in my one month birthday postI will focus more time and energy on growing myself and pushing myself than pretending my problems don’t exist. You can’t solve a problem until you’re willing to overcome it. And you can’t overcome a problem if you’re not real about it.

And I did just that.

Good job, past Amanda.

Now go have a glass of wine and toast to the next 365 days.

XOXOXO, amandarae

quote of the day: “Write to teach about a topic you know something about… not to sell” – a quote I stole from Cindy Millet’s tweet 


Well hey, it’s been a while.


TL;DR (which is the cool, hip, social-media way of saying too long; didn’t read AKA here is the short story):

Graduation – CHECK

Moving truck – CHECK

Apartment – CHECK

New car – CHECK

Next adventure – SURPRISE, I’M NANNYING


Full Story: 

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How lucky am I

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

I’m feeling emotional.

To be honest, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind.

I definitely thought I was going to blog about my job search more, but it’s hard to publicize it. I am extremely cautious about my word choice because I want to be respectful of all the schools I apply for and interview with. I’ve had to say no, and that’s not fun to talk about. I don’t know who reads my blog, and I don’t want any current/past/potential employers reading into any information wrong because I keep it so vague. But I will say this: waiting for the right job is hard, and being location bound / doing a partner search is even harder.  B U T – I am thankful I am able to prioritize myself and my personal life and know that I will find a great job to follow, even if patience isn’t my strong suit. I will be moving to North Carolina to be with my boyfriend, but I will be sure to update once I accept an offer and can focus on the next chapter of my life.

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Don’t live through your countdowns

29 days.

15 more one-on-ones.

9 classes.

4 more weeks.

3 more exec meetings.

2 more projects.

1 more month.

Everything is assigned a number.

With the end in sight, I’m focused on how I am going to get there. How many steps are left until I reach the finish line.

But the truth is, I have the same amount of time left. It doesn’t matter if I measure it in meetings or classes or silly conversations with my students, or measure it in love (teehee)– it’s going to be the same number of minutes until I cross that stage.

So how am I going to spend it?

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At last I see the light


Let me tell you what has happened in the last 44 days in my #SAGrad life:

  • Found out my supervisor was leaving
  • My sister-in-love found out she has brain cancer
  • Took my comprehensive exams
  • Had my first on-campus interview
  • Served as a graduate intern for NACA Nationals
  • My supervisor left
  • The Placement Exchange (TPE) with about 20 interviews
  • Found out my boyfriend was offered a job at Duke University
  • NASPA National Conference
  • Finished prep for my organization’s biggest event of the year with all professional staff in my office out of the office for ACUI
  • My boyfriend accepted said job at Duke University
  • Began looking for jobs in a 60 mile radius of Durham, NC
  • Discovered I PASSED my comprehensive exams!
  • Spent a 17-hour day at work for a challenging but successful #BigOrangeFest event

And now I have 33 days until graduation. 33 days until I receive my hood and officially receive my Master of Education (okay, well I’ll actually get the degree in the mail a few months later, but I’ll get the bragging rights in 33 days).

I don’t share that list for sympathy. I don’t share the list to be competitive and prove that I work more/harder/do more/any of that unhealthy crap. I share that list because this blog is all about me being transparent and being raw and sharing the fact that while I am proud of what I have done, the last 44 days have been HARD.

But now I am 33 days away. I can see the light. So why is everything harder now that so much of the craziness is over?

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