identity

9 Mistakes to Avoid After College Graduation

The moment you graduate from college is the best feeling in the world. But riding that wave of relief for too long can have serious repercussions. Here’s what not to do after shedding the cap and gown.

Taking a Me Break

Sometimes you just need some fucking me time. (Tw: @shaylamcraee)

A photo posted by thefatjewish (@thefatjewish) on

Nothing sounds sweeter than spending six months on your parents’ couch watching the entire series of OITNB after four grueling years of school. Beware, too long of a break tells prospective employers you’re lazy.

Career Flip-Flopping

Typing Computer
Credit: millenniills / Tumblr

Jumping from job to job equates to no expertise and starting over at every new company. Next thing you know, it’s been three years since graduation and you’re still working as an assistant.

Selling Yourself Short

https://instagram.com/p/23Gx99rZW9/

It’s easy to get discouraged, but it’s impossible to land a job without applying. Don’t limit your options.

Not Negotiating Salary

money
Credit: NBC / chrisevans.xyz / Tumblr

Out of approximately 8,000 graduates who entered the workforce between 2012 and 2015, only 38% negotiated salary. Say what?! Why would you let yourself get jipped? Ask for what you deserve.

Shirking Your Student Loan

Rihanna MTV Gif

Most lenders give a six-month grace period after graduation to start paying back student loans, but some recent grads pretend that period never ends. Take financial responsibility before you do major damage to your credit score.

Social Media Fails

https://mrcheeksdesign.tumblr.com/post/10645991451

Job seekers! Hiring managers look at your social feeds. Don’t rant about your ex or post drunk #AboutLastNight pics, it’s not professional. If you just can’t help yourself, make all your profiles private.

Moving to Overly Competitive Cities

https://dustedwithflour.tumblr.com/post/73462839032

Heading to cities where the job market is exceedingly competitive may result in longer job search periods.

Jumping into Any Job

http://parisviol.tumblr.com/post/36284234920/all-i-see-is-signs-rihanna-pour-it-up

Money isn’t everything. And while paying off credit cards and loans is a priority, so is finding the right job — the one that challenges, stimulates and makes you want to stick around for more than a year.

Not Knowing How to Dress for an Interview

http://que-cooltura.tumblr.com/post/114762825626

Business suits are not appropriate for creative positions and Frida-inspired flower crowns are not suitable for a corporate gigs. Get to know your audience before picking out your interview outfit.

What mistake do you wish you’d avoided after college? Leave a comment below to let us know.

Latino, Gay, and Undocumented in the Rural South

Things That Matter

Latino, Gay, and Undocumented in the Rural South

Moises Serrano

Undocumented, gay, and living in rural North Carolina, Moises Serrano felt trapped in a world that didn’t understand him. His struggles and triumphs are captured in Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America, a documentary by filmmakers Tiffany Rhynard and Kathi Barnhill. We caught up with Serrano to talk activism, acceptance and hope.

What inspired you to become an UndocuQueer activist?

Serrano: I actually didn’t know that LGBTQ and immigration rights were intertwined. After coming out as undocumented in 2010, I started working for a national immigration rights group called United We Dream. I met other UndocuQueer people from around the nation and they showed me that you can be queer and an international immigrant as well.

Moises (Eyes Closed)
Photo Credit: Kathi Barnhill

When did you start to worry about being undocumented?

Serrano: I always knew I was undocumented, but living in our country, especially pre-9/11, I really didn’t feel a lot of repercussions. I started to grapple with my undocumented identity when I was watching TV and I would see the map of the Real ID Act. I remember feeling like we were under attack… like a scene out of a movie.

How did you deal with it?

Serrano: I don’t have an answer. I fell into a very deep depression, I just shut myself off from the world. It doesn’t sound like a good way to do it, but you also have to remember that there were no resources available for [gay and undocumented] kids like me. I didn’t have a support system until I was 21, when I met my friend Wooten [Gough]. We formed El Cambio. He helped me discover who I am.

Why didn’t you go to your parents about being gay?

Serrano: My parents were still very attached to their culture and their mentality, which is great, but I also knew that meant I couldn’t rely on my family as a resource of solace or empowerment. I knew that they would reject me at one point for being gay.

Moises UndcouQueer Sign
Photo Credit: Kathi Barnhill

What gave you strength?

Serrano: I’ve always been surrounded by strong women. I worked at a factory with these women, many whose husbands had lost their jobs in the recession, they worked multiple jobs. It was nights at the factory and cleaning hotel rooms by day. That degree of love and commitment they had for their families, that was something that has always stuck with me. I’m also inspired by mother and sisters and am grateful for all the times they have come to bat for me. If it were not for their sacrifices, I would not be where I am today.

Why did you agree to be in the documentary?

Serrano: [Co-Director] Tiffany said that when she first met me, she knew so little of the plight of undocumented immigrants in our nation. I just want to raise awareness and, if we happen to motivate someone to action along the way, that would be amazing.

Credit: Heather Mathews / Vimeo

READ: UndocuQueer Activists Changing the Immigration Debate

How did people at home react to news about the documentary?

Serrano: I came out as queer in the biggest Latino/Spanish newspaper in the state. I know my mother encountered homophobic comments that were said to her by her family and people at church. My mother is a fierce defender of her children, she has definitely become an ally to me and to my story. I think that after I came out as gay and undocumented, our relationship has gotten a lot stronger. Personally, I haven’t faced much pushback from the white-American community. I actually felt that we had a lot of support from them so it’s just the double dichotomy of these two worlds that I have a foot in.

Moises Y Mama
Photo Credit: Kathi Barnhill

Have you seen the political landscape change?

Serrano: Since 2010, I have seen immigrant rights issues grow from grassroots efforts to immigration reform at the forefront of our nation’s mind. I also see the mainstream acceptance undocumented, LGBT and queer issues. I think most Americans agree on a pathway for citizenship for undocumented youths, but what’s going to happen to our parents? Our parents were the original DREAMers. My hope moving forward is that we find the humanity in ourselves and that we find the humanity in immigrants, that there is a pathway to citizenship that isn’t filled with obstacles.

What’s your advice for undocumented, Latino youths?

Serrano: Always share your story. The moment you come out as undocumented or queer, your life will start to get better. It will open all kinds of resources that you didn’t know existed. If it wasn’t for the fact that I came out as undocumented, I wouldn’t have worked with United We Dream, I wouldn’t have found the resources to go to college and this documentary wouldn’t exist. I want undocumented and queer children to know that it’s okay and it does get better. Your dreams are possible if only you try.

Learn more about Moises’s story at forbiddendoc.com.

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