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Posts Tagged ‘life after college’

While I love the DC area, finding housing here is quite a pain. I check Craigslist almost every hour, but hardly any 3-4 bedroom houses are listed with July start dates. With a move-out date looming ahead of us, searching for a new rental in DC has not been easy. We currently live in Arlington (check out this rap video about the city), but want to move across the key bridge into Glover Park come July. Yes, some might call us “typical”, but I’m excited to move into a neighborhood that is “bustling without compromising its boringness.”  From this blog, it seems like nothing too newsworthy happens in Glover Park, and I’m just fine with that. What I’m really looking forward to is taking advantage of this local farmer’s market (even if it’s just to meet the neighborhood dogs),  looking out my window to see these “exotic” creatures patrolling the lawn, jogging (okay, power walking) around tree-lined streets, cooking out with young (and hopefully male) neighbors, and strolling to the area bars. My roommates will be especially excited to move closer to Gin and Tonic, their favorite Thursday night spot. They can likely be spotted in this video dancing to The Dolla Crew’s performance.  One of these hip-hopsters is actually a W&L ’06 grad. And now I digress…

Pole 5 in Lexington, VA aka Home Sweet Home

Suddenly, I realize how easy I had it living in Lexington, VA while attending W&L.  By the spring of my freshmen year, I was already set to live in the sorority house for sophomore year and at a coveted “Pole House” with five best friends for junior and senior years.  I miss having everything planned out so far in advance.

Pole 5's porch looking out on the Maury

 I also miss actually living in that coveted Pole House, better known as Pole 5. It’s second from the left in this satellite picture. As you can see, there are six of these houses on stilts (hence the name “Pole Houses”) lined up on a massive lawn overlooking the Maury River.  Each has its own huge deck looking out onto the water. Each has six similarly-sized large bedrooms and three identical bathrooms. Each has unlimited parking in the wide gravel communal driveway behind it. That’s right- parking was NEVER a problem. One hundred cars could pack into that driveway during Derby Days, which was always held on the Pole Houses’ lawn during spring term, and everyone would find a way to fit.  Students could even drive their cars onto the lawn so that they could blast their music while cooling off on our rope swing.  Traveler, W&L’s free sober ride bus system, actually had a regular pick-up/drop-off point in front of Pole 5. This place was actually our little slice of heaven.

Now, searching for rental s in DC, we are faced with questionable basement apartments, bedroom sizes that vary greatly, no off-street parking, the hassle of getting DC plates, and lease dates that don’t match up perfectly with our own schedules. We are no longer competing with other girls in our sorority to get the Pole 5 lease from the senior girls who are passing it down. Now, we are actually having to pit our credit scores (or those of our parents) and blind bids against those of other applicants. And in the end, we will undoubtedly wind up paying more than twice as much as our old Pole 5 rent.

Hanging out by the Maury watching Derby Days '09

 But I guess that’s the price of growing up. As Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz would say, we’re not in Lexington anymore. But it’s time for me to get back to browsing Glover Park listings on Craigslist. Wish me luck in our housing search!

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Two things that you should know about me: I am a big lover of learning, and I absolutely HATE change. Two things I’ve figured out since graduating from W&L last June: life after college gives you lots of opportunities to learn about yourself, and life after college presents you with lots of major changes. Sounds like I have a real love/hate relationship with my new grown-up life, right? Sometimes. But I’ve been able to come to better terms with my new life since a close friend introduced me to a popular, intuitive learning model that sheds light on why learning requires change.  The Conscious Competence Ladder may seem slightly obvious after you read it, but hindsight is always 20/20.

According to the Conscious Competence Ladder explanation, consciousness is the first step towards learning a new skill. To gain knowledge, you need to be conscious of what you do and do not know, or what your ability level is with regards to the task at hand. The idea is that as you grow proficient in a new area, you move from “unconscious incompetence” to “conscious incompetence” and then to “conscious competence”, finally reaching “unconscious competence.” 

The life changes that I SO hate typically occur between unconscious incompetence and conscious incompetence. During unconscious incompetence, you are blissfully ignorant because you are unaware of your lack of knowledge and skills in the subject in question. Often, it takes a major life change to make you recognize your incompetence in an area. Other times, a life change actually forces you to gain knowledge in a new area. Either way, when you move to conscious incompetence as a result of this change, you go through an uncomfortable, chaotic period. Your confidence drops as you realize that your ability is limited. You may wish that the life change had never occurred and that you were still blissfully ignorant. But if you stick out this uncomfortable time, you WILL learn the skills you need to succeed. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed during conscious incompetence, but everyone must go through this period to learn new things. Embrace the chaos, and try to recognize where you are on the ladder during the process!

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