@seachange I was in a somewhat similar position: I took a job in my (very small) college town after graduating. I was reluctant about "sticking around" when my peers were all striking off for big cities and new adventures. To K: If you end up taking the job, my biggest advice would be to make your life feel distinct from life as a college student. Live off campus. Use your municipal library, not the college library. Join a club or volunteer or whatever so that you start identifying as a person who lives in Town X, not a person who goes to College X. I set some ground rules with friends who were still living on campus — I'd be down for cooking dinner together at an apartment, but not eating at the dining halls. Hanging out the weekends? Cool. Just not on campus/in dorms. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the world beyond my college campus opened up to reveal an amazing, intriguing community, one I hadn't even noticed while still in school. And even if the work doesn't feel relevant to your long-term career goals, there's something to be said for having a steady job and a line on the resume. Suddenly you're not a fresh-out-of-school grad with no work experience — you're a year older, a year wiser, and for whatever karmic reasons, new jobs tend to find people who already have jobs, rather than those who don't.
@highjump I'll just throw this out there: There are funded programs to be found. It often means moving to a part of the country you might otherwise never have considered, but they're out there. My stipend while in my fully funded MFA was, if memory serves, about $1200 a month — plenty to live on with roommates, or if you have a partner with even a part-time job. I also was able to tap into some sweet fellowships and grant money for travel that would otherwise never have been possible. Just do your research. I still have mixed feelings about the MFA in general, and even with the money, I'm not sure I'd do it over again. That said, I'm sure as hell glad I didn't go into debt for it. Even if it was a mistake/superfluous/not truly that helpful, at least it was "free." (Not counting opportunity costs of giving up a better paying job, etc.)
This is extremely relevant to my interests! I'm nearly 10 weeks along in my first pregnancy, and I keep reassuring myself that there will be plenty of time to research all this crap once I stop feeling like such a zombie. (Fingers crossed?) I'm bookmarking this one for the months ahead.
Oh, this is all so relevant to my interests/horrible addiction to buying dresses. I went through a big Anthropologie phase when I was first out of college, paying very little in rent, and making a decent wage. And it was yes, one hundred percent aspirational spending. My new goal is to spend less on clothes — or, at least, spend less on cheap clothes. I'm easily seduced by the idea of "investment" pieces, which I know could be a hoax for getting me to part with my money, but in truth I'm very attracted to the idea of buying well made, flattering pieces that will last for years and years. But as far as I can tell: Those clothes do not exist! Plus I spent an embarrassing amount of money to buy a handmade dress from an independent designer on Etsy only to discover 1) it didn't fit as well as I would like and 2) expensive and handmade doesn't prevent me from spilling coffee all over myself.
Save the $11! It will buy you many many creemees, which are a Vermont summer staple. Also, Burlington! Let me know if you need any local recs; I love this place.