Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

New Year’s Resolutions: Surviving in the Real World

Even though I graduated from college in May, I have trouble with the concept of not being in school. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but I love school, and I miss all the things that come with it: being a part of a community, constantly learning new things, the surety of having something to work toward for the next few years.

Obviously, these are all part of living in the real world as well, but they seem harder and less tangible. I’ve lived in the Bronx for three months now, and I still only know the building super and the guy at the convenience store down the street. I’m so busy trying to make rent that I’m not learning the way I was in school. Sure, I learn new things on the job, but it’s very different. As for goals to work toward, instead of aiming for a degree I know I can get, I’m working toward a career in an industry that’s too busy trying to land on its feet to notice my efforts.

There’s no despair in this. Just readjustment. And resolutions.

I don’t need to be in school or have my dream job to learn new things or to be a journalist. I just have to carve out the time to do what needs doing.

So here’s a list of things I want to learn or do, regardless of jobs.

  1. Formally learn Javascript. I have some experience, but mostly in the vein of searching for the code that will do what I want, and implementing it. I’d like to be able to write a little on my own.
  2. Learn PHP. Like Javascript, I know quite a bit just from fiddling with websites (especially WordPress). But I’d like the formal knowledge that would allow me to manipulate databases without have to do a Google search every ten minutes.
  3. Write. I recently signed up at BrightHub, a science and technology site. I’d like to write at least one article a week. In addition, I want to try some pitching for publications. I think that my deficiency in published writing (due to a proficiency in multimedia and programming) has been detrimental to my career goals.
  4. Produce multimedia and web development projects. I want to keep my skills fresh, even if I’m not using them in day-to-day work. So each month I’ll come up some sort of project to work on, be it video, photography, data analysis…just something to keep me from getting rusty.
  5. Find a way to participate in my new community. I’ve been poking around community boards for the Bronx, and have also found some interesting groups in Manhattan. I want to get involved. There are also a few online communities that I’m a part of that I’d like to be more involved in.

I think these are good ways to be a journalist without the benefits of working for a publication. I’m still busting my butt to get a job in news, but until then, this is a good simulation.

What else can I do to be a journalist without the framework? What tips or advice can you give me for fulfilling these resolutions?

  • I hear you… my first time living in San Jose, I knew no one, I interacted with no one… sigh. But these goals are excellent, specifically that last one. I think the only thing these goals are missing are deadlines and measuring sticks. Since all of these are personal and specific, you are already on the right track.

    Don’t worry, hang in there. You’re gonna be fine.

  • I hear you… my first time living in San Jose, I knew no one, I interacted with no one… sigh. But these goals are excellent, specifically that last one. I think the only thing these goals are missing are deadlines and measuring sticks. Since all of these are personal and specific, you are already on the right track.

    Don’t worry, hang in there. You’re gonna be fine.

  • Thanks! I didn’t want to publicly set deadlines on learning PHP and Javascript because I have no realistic idea of how long that will take. But making myself write weekly and produce something else monthly will help.

  • Thanks! I didn’t want to publicly set deadlines on learning PHP and Javascript because I have no realistic idea of how long that will take. But making myself write weekly and produce something else monthly will help.

  • Stumbled upon your blog… hi.

    Re: #5… have you considered meetup.com as a means for meeting new people? There are some great groups to join on there, and I’m sure there’s plenty located in NYC. Also, volunteerism is always a wonderful way to meet new, awesome people, if you have time of course.

    Good luck with your goals!

  • Stumbled upon your blog… hi.

    Re: #5… have you considered meetup.com as a means for meeting new people? There are some great groups to join on there, and I’m sure there’s plenty located in NYC. Also, volunteerism is always a wonderful way to meet new, awesome people, if you have time of course.

    Good luck with your goals!

  • I’ve been browsing meetup and upcoming. Found some great tech groups on meetup, just have to figure out how they might fit into my schedule.

  • I’ve been browsing meetup and upcoming. Found some great tech groups on meetup, just have to figure out how they might fit into my schedule.

  • I too stumbled upon your site, I think from reading a comment you had left on one of my regular reads, and since I teach young people to go out into the real world, I was curious to see what you are doing with that challenge. You seem to be doing well, and I am listing you on my blog roll so I can follow your pursuit of happiness.

  • I too stumbled upon your site, I think from reading a comment you had left on one of my regular reads, and since I teach young people to go out into the real world, I was curious to see what you are doing with that challenge. You seem to be doing well, and I am listing you on my blog roll so I can follow your pursuit of happiness.

  • I’ve never seen your blog before, but I’m glad you found me and thank you for the link!

  • I’ve never seen your blog before, but I’m glad you found me and thank you for the link!

  • Hey Megan, I definitely hear you about the challenges of post college life. It’s definitely tough. I think your goals are great and clear. I’m trying to come up with a similar list. The key is following through and I’m still figuring that part out! But I think blogging this stuff is a great start because it can make you more accountable… good luck. Look forward to reading about how these things work out.

  • Hey Megan, I definitely hear you about the challenges of post college life. It’s definitely tough. I think your goals are great and clear. I’m trying to come up with a similar list. The key is following through and I’m still figuring that part out! But I think blogging this stuff is a great start because it can make you more accountable… good luck. Look forward to reading about how these things work out.

  • hey, that’s interesting about you wanting to get involved… was it maybe because you spent the summer in the Grove where everybody knows everybody, and is
    involved in everything! lol You don’t have to look at my blog, its for my map analysis class but I’m thinking of using it to blog my year abroad. Dunno.. Miss you!

  • hey, that’s interesting about you wanting to get involved… was it maybe because you spent the summer in the Grove where everybody knows everybody, and is
    involved in everything! lol You don’t have to look at my blog, its for my map analysis class but I’m thinking of using it to blog my year abroad. Dunno.. Miss you!

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