GF and I saved 10k each on salaries ~35k. It was the first year out of college, we didn't have a ton of loans to pay off, etc. Mostly we just lived on the wrong side of MLK, so the rent was cheap. Just the gap between our Oakland rent and any place we could get in SF accounted for about 5k of savings for each of us. We ended up traveling around California and then South America for 6 months. Hella worth it.
My girlfriend and I met at UC Berkeley, which is about as ivy as a state school can get, but still the other day when we met up with one of her high school friends and their small tribe of friends from Princeton it felt like we were watching a sketch comedy performance in which everyone acts and dresses (ALL J-CREW ALL THE TIME: AJATT) like a young Jack Donaghy/Sheryl Sandberg. The bottom line is that if you send your kid to Princeton they'll come out of it thinking that wearing pink khaki shorts and tasseled loafers while day-drinking on the west coast is a non-ridiculous thing to do, and that is incorrect. Life skills, people.
The use of "ask" as a noun is a monstrosity that must be stopped before it consumes us all. I don't know if the users of noun-ask really think it means something other than "request", or if they're unfamiliar with the word "request", or if they know all about "request" but are code-switching to match the apparent stupidity levels of their corporate superiors and avoid sounding like a SNOOT, but something has to be done to quash this. It makes you sound like a poorly programmed office robot, and it's just grammatically wrong in a way that if you heard a first-grader say it you'd correct them without even thinking about it just so they don't sound stupid their whole lives. END OF RANT. PS these were all good suggestions, especially, ironically, having a specific question in your email.
Live in Seattle, still waiting for a weed store to open up in my part of town. For now I call some people with a nice website and they dispatch a car full of weed to my house. The drivers are always super chill in the way you'd expect of weed dealers that used to equate their business with The Wire and now see it as something more like selling individual cigarettes on the street in NY - illegal, but only in a not-paying-the-right-taxes/not-having-the-right-permits kind of way. I'll absolutely switch to a store once they open up, unless the prices are just crazy.
Learning the equipment-intensive parts of science is what college is for. Also, everyone had to buy their own graphing calculator at my school. Also graphing calculators are not necessary to learn calculus (though a good teacher definitely is, and it sounds like you didn't have that). Seems like you didn't study a STEM subject (let's remember that there is no STEM - there's physics and biology and a bunch of other ologies) because you wanted to study something else more, or just didn't want to study STEM, or because of a constellation of social forces suggesting that it would be hard and that you wouldn't be good at it because of the boobs, but lack of equipment can't be that high on the list of reasons. Maybe you would have been more passionate if you got to look through a microscope in high school, but all the english classes had was books and that seemed to work ok. Anyways, don't blame the equipment.
@Liz the Lemur Agreed. The problem is that if you hate your job then going to work sucks however you get there. Trying to separate the spheres of your life completely so you have this job where you work most of the day in the capitalist machine that crushes your soul and then you come home and take a bike ride and feel free and beautiful and whatever: that's a bad strategy, but even there you'll feel better about reality if you bike to work because endorphins (and/or adrenaline, depending on the biking infrastructure on your route).
@Pete Alfred best comment ever
As someone dating a self-employed graphic designer with a nice apartment in a coastal metropolis I can tell you that all that even people with these great-sounding jobs still think there's something better and that their current jobs are a compromise and why aren't they just creating REAL ART instead of a stylish poster for health insurance, etc. I always thought the thing to do is to shoot for the middle. At the end of college I wrote down dream jobs and found that I really wanted to be a location scout and field advisor for PBS Nature, but there is like maybe one actual full-time job in the world doing that and if you really insist on shooting for that job you will most likely end up working at Starbucks or Walgreens instead after your parents make you move out of the basement. Instead I got a job at a consulting firm where I got to do fieldwork about half the time. Good 'nuff.
Bummer. My girlfriend just got insurance through the Washington site and it worked fine, which I know is not comforting or helpful in your case, but just to say that the exchange does work sometimes (also we qualify for hella subsidies, which is pretty nice). My understanding is that the ID verification for determining eligibility for subsidies under the ACA was contracted out to Experian. Anyone who has ever tried to deal with an error on their credit report will be familiar with the level of customer service and responsiveness they offer. Good luck. Just keep thinking of those sweet sweet subsidies.
Agreed: moving is terrible. But getting paid to produce esoteric research and critical essays of no discernible economic value is also pretty nice, and having everyone take like four days for Thanksgiving and two weeks for Christmas without batting an eye is really nice. As a first-year grad student I kind of have to tell myself that though, just to stave off despair. Also those were pretty good deals on the Seattle group houses: well done.