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What Happens After Graduation

I finally broke up with my “Student-Athlete in love with health and fitness” tag line in the blog header above. About time, considering I only graduated….11 months ago. It took me a ridiculously long time to settle on “Post-Grad Life – Balancing Health & Happiness.” Finding a new direction takes time, y’all!

The timing of this is so appropriate and unplanned, since most of you are in college yourselves and graduation season is just around the corner!

What To Expect After Graduation  New Blog Post!  Stronglikemycoffee.com

Now that I’ve officially cut ties with my student-athlete title (no looking back now!), it’s time to fully embrace the unpredictability and freedom that come with that first year out of school. There are unlimited directions. You can eat gummy worms for breakfast. You can move to a new city. You’re probably going to want to update that resume.

The most important thing that I can offer one year after graduating: be flexible with your plans.
What Happens After Graduation  Stronglikemycoffee.com

Having goals for our career and lifestyle once we earn that degree is expected, but make sure you aren’t getting caught up in what everyone else is doing. Figuring out post-grad life isn’t a race or a competition; try to focus on working towards your own goals instead of comparing everyone else’s. Especially not what they’re showing on social media – you have no idea what else is going on behind the scenes of that strategically and perfectly curated post!

We see other people’s individual achievements and take them as a collective goal. What I mean by that is we see one friend with their dream job, someone else with the most gorgeously decorated loft apartment, another friend with a daily habit of $15 Whole Foods smoothies, a different someone with the most flawless make-up and hair, someone else in the most inspiring relationship and yet another who seems to spend everyday on a hammock at the beach sipping sangria (with a ridiculous bikini bod, to boot). And as a natural human instinct, we want all of these things too! We take these individual accomplishments and expect ourselves to achieve them all. But the reality is – no one has them ALL at the same time.Eli Young Band Guinevere Song Quote | Stronglikemycoffee.com

I think that social media, “reality” television, and our generation’s culture in general have provided a false sense of reality for a post-graduate. Of course there are the lucky select few who are the exception to this rule. In general, though, the vast majority of recent college graduates (or just those in their early 20’s) should expect to put a lot of time, energy and sacrifice into working towards the lifestyle that they admire. Dream jobs don’t land in your lap, and oftentimes they require a great deal of tedious or dirty work at first. Expensive habits like daily fancy coffees, superfood green juices and bottles of champagne can only happen if you pay your utilities, gas, phone bill, etc. first. (If you have to prioritize, hint: electricity > organic donuts.) And things don’t happen exactly as you picture them in your head. Exhibit A:

What Happens After Graduation | New Blog Post |Stronglikemycoffee.comI’m just going to use my own personal experience because I know a lot of my friends relate and you might too. Right before graduation, I had the fantasy goal of moving across the country, renting my own apartment, decorating it like Lauren Conrad, throwing adorable and elaborate parties, working out on the beach, finding the dream marketing job for a non-profit company with co-workers who would all become my best friends, meeting a guy straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, running an uber-successful health and fitness blog and never feeling an ounce of stress.

Wrightsville Beach, NC  Stronglikemycoffee.com

There’s nothing wrong with GOALS and we should all have an idea of what lifestyle we want to create for ourselves! But expecting it all to happen the day after graduation was my downfall. I felt like having a gap between graduation day and this fantasy life meant I failed. I was disappointed that I’d have to move in with my parents until I worked everything out. My expectations were so far-fetched that I let myself feel disappointment and failure RATHER than feeling damn proud of graduating college, appreciative of my parents for all of their support, and excitement towards the possibilities of my post-grad life. No More! My parents have helped me become more realistic, and even though my personality type will always have pretty big goals and dreams for myself, I know that nothing is instant and that the time and work we put in will make it worth it. And taking a little time after graduation to figure it out is okay!

Mammoth Lakes Running and Hiking Blog Post | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Now that I’m wrapping this up, I hope this doesn’t come across as “make your dreams smaller” or “don’t aim so high.” My original post-grad southern life on the beach is still my dream/goal/plan! I’m just saying expect to work for your goals, you have to earn that end result, and don’t set such strict deadlines. Don’t be so hard on yourself, or compare your journey to anyone else’s. It’s not a race.

And P.S. The majority of these types of posts are things that I know I need to remind MYSELF, so I’m not writing this as a mentor or a preacher – I’m right there with ya. :)

Thoughts? Post-grad experiences? What are YOUR goals?

Starting New in Boise!

I was hoping to just casually slip back in and start posting about running and smoothies again, but I’m pretty sure some sort of explanation is necessary after a 6-month hiatus ;)

Six months ago I wrote the post “One Last Note” {scroll down} because I needed to take some things off of my plateFinding balance between working a full-time job that involved 2 hours of commuting each day, studying for my NASM personal training certification, training for a marathon, getting enough sleep, trying to keep a social life, and continually coming up with new blogging material all at the same time was a struggle. Eventually I realized that I couldn’t handle it all, and since I wasn’t able to give Strong Like My Coffee the 100% effort I would have liked, I removed it from the equation.

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Fast-forward to today – a lot has changed! And in this case, change is good :)  I’ve finished up my NASM course and earned my personal training certification. I’m no longer training for a marathon. I’ve quit my full-time job and freed up 2 hours a day from the commute alone. But the most DRASTIC change of all – I am moving to Boise, Idaho in 5 DAYS.

I’ve lived in the same cute little blue corner house my entire life. (Except for 4 years of college in Flagstaff, AZ). Over the past three years, I’ve had more than my fair share of challenges which affected my mood and outlook. One quote that I’ve always LOVED: “If you don’t like where you are, move. You’re not a tree.” Starting somewhere new has been a dream of mine, and I’m finally ready to take the jump! New city, new apartment, new job, new friends. Boise is such a gorgeous scenic vibrant city that I cannot wait to explore.

Boise river Greenbelt Run (stronglikemycoffee.com)

All in all, I’m just happier with where my life stands and I realized that my plate isn’t too full anymore. And that I miss blogging.

I love creating new recipes, taking pictures, writing, designing, and interacting with others. I love reading blogs and gaining new perspectives on fitness, nutrition, balance, and general life stuff. And I have so many fun ideas to share, so many fitness topics to discuss, so many conversations related to finding balance in our crazy, busy, stressful, wonderful lives.

Mammoth Lakes Coffee Shops Stellar Brew Basin Bowl Stronglikemycoffee.com

It’s taken me two full weeks to figure out how to revive Strong Like My Coffee though. Ever since Strong Like My Coffee was created, it was a “Healthy College Girl” blog. Where does that leave me, as a graduate out in the real world? Well as my dad reminded me, everything in life evolves. Just because one phase is over doesn’t mean that we can’t blend into something new. Is “Healthy Post-grad Girl” a thing? ;) Maybe not. But I am right in the thick of handling job applications, interviews, moving into an apartment, having to make new friends, starting a brand new job and living my very first year without homework. And managing stress, finding new fitness goals after my collegiate athletic career ended, and transitioning from student to full-time adult takes some time. You may have noticed I’ve thrown out the word balance quite a few times in this post already, and I think that’s the direction this whole blog is headed.

Graduation Cap Decoration Stronglikemycoffee.com

SO – now that the whole “hey, hello, what’s up, I’m back, miss me?” explanation is over, we can get back into the fun stuff! I’ve updated my “About” page & lined up new interesting posts to kick off next week! :)

Today I’m working on packing up my entire life into Home Depot boxes while listening to Sam Hunt on repeat and sipping an iced vanilla Americano. While going through my entire closet, I found so many coins in random pockets and bags, so I cashed them in for a $13 Starbucks gift card – score! Hey, I told you I’m recently unemployed ;)  It almost makes the multiple hours of packing bearable.

Candle and picture frame with quote | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Creating a brand new fresh start in a new city, new apartment, new job, and new friends sounds so glamorous – and trust me, I’ve been dreaming about it for 2 years now. But there are some really un-sexy parts of relocating too, and I want to keep it real here! Like the 14 drive, climbing three flights of stairs with heavy furniture, having to register at the DMV and getting lost on new running routes. Thank goodness for smart phones, I don’t know how people relocated before them. Can’t wait to share all of the ups and downs of this new adventure!

P.S. Thanks for sticking around while I was on a little break, you guys are the best :)

XOXO Kenz.

Thirteen Things Thursday

I saw the above post title on another blog a while ago, I can’t remember where. I’m a sucker for alliterations sooooo today is a perfect time to copy this cute little theme.

Rather than hit you with another Throwback Thursday (which I was really tempted to do), I made a list of Thirteen Things I thought about this week. There is no rhyme or reason, just thirteen things that came to my head. Because who made the rules? :)

Thirteen Things Thursday on Strong Like My Coffee  Stronglikemycoffee.com

1.) Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy

This online article is so extremely relevant to everything I have been feeling lately. And according to the article itself, so have the millions of other millennials. It has been shared over 700,000 times on Facebook. I have a feeling I’ll be checking out more posts on this website. Please, if nothing else, read this article. And don’t let the stick-figure-illustrations fool you, this message is golden.

Right away when I saw Happiness = Reality – Expectation I knew I would connect with this article. I say this all time time, but I have very high expectations of myself and of others. The author hits the nail on its head when he points out that our generation has an “inflated view” of oneself and unrealistic expectations, as well as the trend of inflating our success on social media to inaccurately compare lives with each other.

2.) My Hulu Queue is building up!

Watching TV is a rare event these days…..I log maybe 90 minutes of tv shows a week, which I’m not complaining about. Usually by the time I cook dinner, eat, clean up, shower, work on homework, work on work, squeeze in some exercise, get ready for the next day, type up a blog post and check out Instagram, I’m beyond exhausted and ready for bed. I can’t wait to catch up on my favorite TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, The Voice, the new show Secrets & Lies, and Nashville.

3.) I think I went overboard with “Treat Yo’self Tuesday”

Sushin, Suja Juice, Diet Lemonade and Quest Bars make me happy (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

These are a few of my faaavorite things….

4.) The 10 Secrets of Well-Balanced Women

Okay, another article. Sorry for the over-link-ing. It’s worth it though! This list of necessities hits home as it points out our natural craving for connective relationships and stimulating mental activity. I can personally attest to the fact that a lack of connective relationships and a sense of community are detrimental to your health. And I love the comment “No you will not turn into a puddle of mush by recharging with your magazine”! For those of us who are constantly tackling the to-do list, taking time to unwind can make us feel guilty or lazy. *You probably will, however, turn into a puddle by “recharging” with 5 episodes of Netflix on the daily. Moderation! :)

5.) I blog-post binged on this entire website Elle & Company.

I spent some time researching how to grow a blog into a business as well as how to work with companies for sponsored blog posts. If you are a blogger, you can find a ton of very useful information here!

6.) Starbucks has a new S’mores flavor bottled frappuccino.

I haven’t tried one yet but I’m tempted ever since this new flavor caught my eye at the grocery store a couple weeks ago. Has anyone tried it yet?

7.) Researching Fitness Tracking Watches…HELP.

Long Run Garmin Time (stronglikemycoffee.com)

I’m researching and comparing fitness tracking watches. My Garmin is 5 years old and the size of a computer on my wrist so I’m thinking of upgrading. So much of the technical information is over my head.  I want the basics: likes, dislikes, glitches. Do you use one? What do you like about it? (I think I would like one with a heart rate monitor.)

8.) Playing with the new Comic Book theme on PicMonkey was my form of “playtime” today.

Do not judge me…but when you spend a few hours per week maintaining a blog, new photo editing features are “fun.” I always use the website PicMonkey because it is free and simple for a not-so-techy person like me. They have cute little pictures and themes to add to pictures, the most recent of which is a Comic Book theme. I’m not an actual comic book reader, but the speech bubbles and narrative labels were pretty fun for pictures so I had to play ;)

Comic Book Picture Editing StrongLikeMyCoffee.com

9.) It’s Baseball Season! And my whole marketing class knows it.

Typically I am very good about silencing my phone during class and work. Yesterday though, I failed. My afternoon marketing class had an exam. Two minutes in, the SportsCenter app on my phone sends me an alert about the score on the Yankees game. “Doo-doo-dooo….Doo-doo-doooo” (That’s my effort to type out the special SC ringtone..hah). My classmates and teachers all turn around. The boys probably thought That ESPN sound came from you?!? And the girls probably thought WTH kind of lame ringtone is that?! After I announced the score to my curious teacher, we carried on with the exam and the Yankees won. ;)

10.) People rarely give random compliments anymore and so when a stranger called me “Sweetie” in the grocery store, it kind of made my day.

Not much to elaborate on this one…I guess we can all remember to give more compliments?

11.) My iPod has over 2,000 songs on it but I keep playing the same 4 over and over.

And one of them is this:

Yes it’s dramatic. But then again, so am I.

12.) How do you entertain yourself on long car rides by yourself?

Friday and Monday both started with six-hour car rides. Aside from the obvious (music + coffee) how do you keep yourself from getting bored with your thoughts? I can manage to keep myself mentally occupied while I log 7 hours a week on the treadmill….but struggle with finding enough to think about during a few hours in the car. Maybe it has to do with the endorphins..?

13.) I have another blog, it’s called KenzieAlyse.com

Ok this is a bit of shameless self-promotion but my digital marketing course is really focused on first-hand experience. Because of this class, I’ve created a “professional” blog, Twitter Account, Facebook community page and other projects. If you’re interested in more marketing content, feel free to check it out :)

Thirteen Things Thursday Blog Post on Stronglikemycoffee.com

Not going to lie, coming up with thirteen things was not that easy. I struggled after about seven or eight so I’m sorry if some were a bit random. Think I’ll bring back #TBT next week.

OK your turn, TELL ME SOMETHING. :)

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