A Response To 'The Defining Decade'

A Response To 'The Defining Decade'

Meg Jay, you really know how to stress an 18 year old out...


For my Communication class, we were told to read a book called "The Defining Decade" by Meg Jay PhD. Her words of encouragement and advice really stuck with me so I wanted to share a response to the "work" section of her book. Over the next week, I will be reading her book so I hope to comment on her other sections but as for now, here is my opinion on "Work".

First of all, this book really stressed me out. A lot of the things presented in the book were core beliefs of mine that had been muddled in recents months of being away from home. By the first page of the introduction when she begins to speak on how people in our generations, specifically Kate, have begun to believe that 30's are the new 20s, I immediately agreed with her point. I have always been looking ahead and saw my 30s as being the year that my life would finally start to come together because 20 seemed so close and 30 seemed so far away. While I am eager to start my future, sometimes choosing a path doesn't always seem easy. When she mentioned how Kate never had her driver's license, I began to think I was really different from her. I do have a good relationship with my dad and I've been driving since I was 15. However, what made me realize i might be similar was what she quoted from Socrates "The unlived life is not worth examining" (pg. xix) I realized there are so many paths, I could take but there's only really one with a few side streets and cultasacks that I'm supposed to take. While I'm sure what that path may be, I know it's out there. I really did resonate with Kate and how she felt that her friends were always moving faster than her. I was the last of my friends to have their first kiss and quite honestly, I've always felt behind in the boys department. I think that really does scare me because I don't want to be 50 and wondering why I'm not married but I think this book has put a lot of things into perspective that being your 20's is the best time put yourself out there whether it be for a job or even a nice boy who asks you out for coffee.

I really liked the part when she talk about pop culture. When she referred to s17 year olds who act like they're 26 and 50 year old housewives that act the same, it really stuck with me. I thought of famous YouTubers such as Emma Chamberlain and how she is already living on her own in California, making millions of dollars and I haven't even moved out of my parents house or thought about or had a more serious job than lifeguarding. Pop Culture is what's molding the 30's to become the new 20's. People are so scared to take the leap because everyone is so focused on making a good living that any miscall job seems like the wrong way to go.

The next quote that hit me hard was one that referred to hope. Meg Jay talked about this idea of optimism and how hope isn't always enough. She referred to a saying "Hope is a good breakfast but a bad supper". The way I took this was that being optimistic is enough to get your foot in the door but it isn't going to get you that far. It's like a car. Turning it on is a start but you have to put your foot on the gas to make it go.

The next person was Helen. Helen's story made me laugh because the first thing it mentioned was her parent's dreams for her to be in Tri-Delt. That was my dream coming into college but here we are in April and not even in a sorority, let alone Tri-Delt. She used Helen as an example to bring up Identity capital. Identity capital is our collection of personal assets. I really liked this because it made me think about my individual strengths and what is that I'm good at. It reminded of my yoga class and how she told us to be grateful for one thing about ourselves and she said it could our health, or our body or our heart as examples. I immediately picked my heart. It goes back to what she was saying about how now all identity capitals can be put on a resume but my future employers should know that I truly have a big heart.

I really resonated with the quote she put at the beginning of the "Weak Ties" chapter, overall I think that was my favorite but the idea of how "Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse and even your kids." It was crazy to think about how true that really is. You say "I do" as an affirmation that you want someone and it's the same as how you say yes when accepting a job. "Yes" is the leap you want to take. She talked about this idea of an urban tribe and how the people you are closest with actually slow you down. SHe didn't directly say this but it reminded of how my friends at school aren't as driven as myself and how sometimes I fall into their old ways. When she talked about Cole and Betsy. I thought that was really inspiring about they just met by random and she became the reason that he found his drive again. While I am a sucker for a good love story, I found it amazing how someone he barely knew was the one who got him back on his feet. It reminded me of how when I was upset about my dad having cancer, I found it a lot easier to tell people outside of my inner circle for some reason, my weak ties.

The about unknown thoughts also really scared me. I feel like I have a better clue with what I want to do with my life compared to Ian but I still see some of my dreams as impossible. That tends to set me back a lot. While I have a dream to be a Broadway star, I took the Communication route because my love of writing is just as strong but a lot more practical. However, even with that, I fear that I won't get a dream job. I won't work for the magazines that I want to and I will end up in the ocean right next to Ian with no sight of land.

Talia reminded me a lot of my friend from home who has been struggling at school. Coincidentally, she also reminded of a piece of advice that my other friend Grace gave me. Talia was in tears about the fact that her life wasn't as fabulous as she thought it would be. My best friend got into her dream school and cried about it. She was so happy to go but she got there and hated it. Now, she is so consumed with this idea of appearing that she's thriving because of the fear of "what happens if she's not?" Facebook lives should look better because of what my other friend grace told me. Everyone is going to try to convince that they're doing better than are because that's how our generation works. You post on Instagram to get attention and make it seem like you're doing better than you did in high school. When Meg Jay talked about the Facebook weddings where people choose their pretty friends over their best friends, I really felt this. I am not on a lot of my best friend's Instagrams because the pictures we take together aren't as good as the pictures they happen to look a little bit better in with acquaintances.

The Customized Life talks a lot about what I said before. There's only one path for me. However, the line that stuck with me was "That you can't pull some great career out of a hat in your thirties. You've got to start in your twenties." I found this to be really shocking. It felt like one of those moments where the author is yelling directly at you even though you know they're not. It just reminded me that I really need to go after what I want and branch out. I really liked the part about hte custom bike that Ian has and how he started with ordinary parts that all bikes need but eventually customized it to make it special for him. It reminded of how We start college by taking general education courses but eventually customize ourselves so we're ready for the jobs we'll go after when finally graduate.

Overall the first section of this book really scared me. It made me think about what is that I want to do and how I don't have that much time before they shoot that gun and me and every other graduated senior have begun the race, ultimately competing at life.

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6 Things I Didn't Really Need in My Freshman Dorm, And 6 Things I Wish I Brought Instead

I promise you, being Pinterest-worthy just doesn't make sense in a dorm.

As I packed up my dorm room and unpacked it all once I got home, I kinda felt stupid. I moved in with 2 cars full of stuff (yes, I know how extra that sounds and yes, it was indeed that extra) and I didn't end up needing half of it. Now, I'm swimming in stuff I need to get rid of while holding on to the stuff I didn't realize I would need and ended up buying mid-year. No matter how much you think you know everything, first-time dorm residents, please listen.

6 things I DIDN'T need but swore I did

1. All my personal books

I mean, I'm an English major and I love to read, but no one, and I mean no one, A) has free time and B) uses that free time to read in college.

2. Keurig

There's a coffee shop I can use my cafe credits at on my way to class. I never woke up early enough to brew my own coffee, and I never craved it bad enough in the afternoon to feel like I needed to make my own immediately. It was nice to make tea with though.

3. Dishes and Silverware/Excessive Mugs

All you need is 1 mug and a couple of water bottles. I promise you paper plates and plastic silverware are all you need.

4. An overabundance of office supplies

I didn't use all those fancy office supplies in high school, so as much as I love them, I have yet to reach for them in college.

5. T.V.

The T.V. I had was only slightly bigger than my laptop screen and the wifi at my dorm wasn't good enough for streaming. I hardly used it, but I know others used theirs a lot. Just a personal preference!

6. Tons of wall art

I totally believe wall art has the power to make a dorm room feel less institutional, but I wish I had brought more pictures from home to make my room personal. Pinterest dorm rooms just aren't real, and they aren't what you want when you're homesick.

6 things I wish I had bought before school started

1. ID Lanyard

I personally love these ones from Vera Bradley , but honestly, any way you can carry your ID, money, and keys all in one is a life changer.

2. Earplugs/Eye Mask

Dorms are loud even during quiet hours and sometimes your roommate stays up later or gets up earlier than you do. Amazon couldn't ship these to me fast enough.

3. Wireless Headphones/Earbuds

Personally, I'm an earbuds girl, but either one does the trick. It's nice to not have to deal with cords and to be able to connect to any of your devices without an adapter.

4. Laptop Shell/Stickers

Almost everyone ends up ordering stickers to put on their laptop to express themselves to those around them. On a practical level though, you're probably going to have the same laptop as 5+ other students in your lecture and you will probably throw your laptop in a bag and run at some point. A shell and some stickers will provide more protection than you realize. Check out http://www.redbubble.com for some great options.

5. Small vacuum

This is especially important if you get a rug. Sweeping is not pleasant, and the vacuums at your dorm are probably older than you are.

6. Pictures from home

Like I said before, wall art isn't going to comfort you when you want to go home. A picture of your dog or best friend sure will though.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Gherna

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.


If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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