Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

How I am coping (and not coping) with the COVID-19 crisis April 18, 2020

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 9:05 pm
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Let me preface this post by acknowledging how fortunate we have been during this. So many people are sick, dying, or out of work. Or they are forced to continue working in situations that put them at risk of catching the virus. We have been lucky enough to keep our jobs and be able to work from home. Sure, it’s been challenging keeping the kids occupied and happy while also trying to get work done. But that pales in comparison to some of the dangerous and frightening conditions and situations so many people find themselves in.

We are in an unprecedented situation and I’m trying to figure out how to keep a level head even as everything can get so overwhelming. I’m still figuring out how to keep my mind in the right place without spiraling.

We’ve been watching plenty of Frozen and Frozen 2 these days (two kids under 5 years old) and every time I see this quote from Olaf, I think of how apt it is in these current times:

“We’re calling this ‘controlling what you can when things feel out of control’”

Many things I’m doing these days are just me trying to make things feel a little less out of control. Hopefully some of these things also have an actual positive impact on a broader group of people.

Number one, of course, is limiting our physical contact with anyone outside our family. I’ve shifted to grocery shopping only once every 2 weeks, rather than my usual once a week. The trips are more stressful as I navigate the aisles trying to avoid people and get enough food to last us for the next two weeks. And making sure my homemade mask stays put on my face. But limiting those trips helps reduce the chance that we could get/spread the virus. I’ve considered trying the delivery services but time slots are hard to come by and I’d rather let folks who are higher risk or otherwise unable to go grocery shopping have those time slots.

I haven’t set foot at work in over a month (again, we’re lucky enough that we can do a good amount of work at home. I’m not working in the lab right now, but I’m getting a bunch of other things done). It’s definitely a juggling act trying to keep the kids safe and happy while trying to do at least a little bit of teaching (whether it’s practicing writing letters with the older kid or identifying colors and shapes with the younger kid).

We are trying to stay in contact with as many people as possible. So far it’s lots of FaceTime with family and texting with friends. I’m trying to reach out to folks I haven’t heard from in awhile; I’ve found that catching up has really helped both me and the people I’m talking to. We all need to talk! The kids have even been able to have zoom meetings with their daycare classmates, which has been fun for them.

We try to get outside on the nice days. Whether it’s a quick walk, or just having a snack outside with the kids, some sunlight and fresh air (and a little bit of exercise) gets us feeling better.

I’m growing a victory garden. Angela at Tread Light Retire Early had a great post about this. I’ll admit, my garden is basically a sad attempt at getting just a little bit of fresh produce to make me feel a little more secure in our food supply. In a true food crisis, a few tomatoes or pea pods aren’t going to save us. But it helps me feel better having this extra bit. I’ve planted some seeds from some tomatoes we had, and have found some seeds packets I had stashed away that I will try to plant soon. We’re still signed up for our local farm’s CSA, and the last we heard, they’re still planning on doing it, and have added a curbside pickup option to reduce potential viral transmission. So we will hopefully have access to fresh produce one way or another!

I’ve started composting. Well, really at this point it’s more of a squirrel buffet than a compost heap. I’d been meaning to get an actual composter from the town for awhile now (they offer ones at a discount) but it sounds like I won’t be able to get one from our local DPW until the end of May. But I’m getting into the habit, and I like reducing how much we are throwing away. And if we actually get some good compost out of this, it will help with that victory garden.

I’m raising money for Walk For Hunger. I’ve done the Walk for Hunger quite a few times and was going to sign up again this year until they cancelled the event (for obvious reasons). Project Bread turned it into a virtual fund raiser, and I decided to sign up for that. This is a cause I really care about: making sure our most vulnerable neighbors have access to healthy food. Especially now, with so many more people out of work, we really need to help feed folks. Here’s a link to my fundraising page if you’d like to contribute.

How are you coping with the chaos and uncertainty? What has been hardest for you? What has helped you the most?

 

Walk for Hunger: Because it’s not over yet April 9, 2015

Filed under: Boston,Fitness,Food — Stephanie @ 7:42 pm
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CIMG0259 In less than a month, I’ll be joining thousands of others in walking 20 miles throughout Boston and neighboring cities for Walk For Hunger.  The Walk for Hunger is an annual fundraising event run by Project Bread to raise money and awareness to combat hunger.

This will be my 4th year participating in the Walk For Hunger. I’m happy to say that for the past 3 years, I’ve raised more and more money each year. I passed $1k my first year, $2k my second year, and raised over $3k my third year. I’d LOVE if we could raise over $4k this year, but we’re still a ways away.  I believe in this cause, and I love that this program allows me to help people gain access to healthy, nutritious food.

So, again this year, I’m asking for your donations.  Any amount you contribute can help!

As in years past, my blogging friend Joe Taxpayer has put forth challenge funds. This year his challenge is the same as last year: When we raise $1k, he’ll contribute $500, and when we reach $2k, he’ll contribute another $500. It’s a great added incentive to get everyone to donate!

How can your contribution help?  Below are just a few examples:

$25 Provides a nourishing hot meal for 15 people at a community supper program
$50  Helps a low-income family purchase $100 worth of fresh produce at a farmers’ market through double value coupons
$100  Provides grocery gift cards to low-income seniors.

The good news is, any donation, big or small, helps get healthy, nutritious food to those in need!  Even $5 or $10 makes an impact!

And if you donate, you can see if your employer will match your contribution.

Also, if you’re local, you can also help out by volunteering, either before, during, or after the Walk!

Or join me in walking!  You don’t have to walk all 20 miles if that’s too intense for you!  You can sign up as an individual walker or join a team (look to see if your company has a team!)

If you have any questions about how you can help, let me know!

Thanks for all your support!

[Edit:  For those of you wondering, we didn’t hit $4k this year, but we did raise $3016!  Thanks for all your support!]

 

Walk for Hunger: Nutrition is Important April 27, 2014

Filed under: Boston,Fitness,Food — Stephanie @ 5:11 pm
Tags: , , ,

The opposite of hungry isn't full, it's healthy

This is my third year doing the Walk for Hunger.  The first year, I raised over $1000.  The next year, I raised over $2000.  This year?  I’d love to hit $3000.

I know it’s an ambitious goal.  But I figure, as long as I keep getting donations (both small and large) I can hit this goal!

As of this posting, I have raised $2721.87.  With special thanks to everyone who donated, especially JoeTaxpayer for his Feed The People matching challenge: $500 when I raised $1000:  complete!  And another $500 when I hit $2000!  Also completed!

Wait.  If you’re new to the blog, you might be asking “What is the Walk for Hunger?”  GREAT QUESTION!

The Walk for Hunger is an annual fundraising event from Project Bread.  It’s a 20-mile walk beginning and ending in the Boston Common, weaving through Boston, Brookline, Newton, Watertown, and Cambridge before heading across the Harvard Bridge back to Boston.  The money raised from the Walk for Hunger goes on to fund many initiatives that feed the hungry with healthy and nutritious food!

This is a really important topic to me.  Besides personal finance, some other topics I care a lot about are STEM Education and Fitness.  When it comes to education, good nutrition is incredibly important.  Without enough good food, children’s brain development is hindered, they can’t concentrate on their schoolwork, and they are set up for all sorts of future problems.

And an important part of being physically fit is having the right nutrition!  You can’t stay in shape, maintain your muscle mass, or really be healthy if you don’t have the proper fuel!

So, how can you help?

There are lots of options!

*You can donate on my fundraising page (click the Donate To Stephanie link on that page) Thanks in advance for your support!

(you can also search for other people to donate to, or donate to the walk in general)

*You can sign up to walk!  It’s not too late!

*You can sign up to volunteer!  They need lots of people to help out along the 20-mile walk route!

*You can help spread the word about the Walk for Hunger!  Facebook, twitter, in-person!  This is an important issue we should be talking about!

If you have any questions about the Walk for Hunger, or want to share any fundraising ideas or your own insights on food insecurity and feeding our hungry neighbors, please leave a comment!

THANK YOU!

[Edit:  THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!  This year, I raised $3,318.87!  AMAZING!]

Every $ Every Mile Makes a Difference

 

Walk for Hunger: 20 miles of Boston April 28, 2013

Filed under: Boston,Fitness,Food — Stephanie @ 11:04 pm
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Let me start out by saying, I wasn’t quite sure how to write a new blog post.  Do I ignore the terrible events that happened in Boston?  Or go into a long post about it?  The whole Boston Marathon tragedy is nothing to ignore.  It is sad, upsetting, and confusing.  And the plant explosion in Texas was also terrible.  I realized the best way to process these sad events is to acknowledge them, remind you that there are plenty of ways to help, through donations: (The One Fund Boston, Officer 179 fund, and others for Boston, and Various West, Texas charities), and continue with blogging.

And so, I embrace the mantra, Boston Strong.  Because I will be walking with thousands of others in Boston for a great cause.

As Ellen Parker (Project Bread’s executive director) said in a special letter sent out a few days ago, “This year, Project Bread faces a unique and unprecedented challenge. On Sunday, May 5, 2013, The Walk for Hunger will be the first large outdoor public gathering in the city since the tragic events at the Boston Marathon.”

So we will all be careful, and watching, but we will not allow the tragedy to stop us from participating in this event .  We will not be terrorized.

Sign:  The Walk for Hunger is the oldest continual pledge walk in the country
A week from today, I will be joining thousands of others in a 20-mile walk starting and ending in Boston, winding around many of the nearby towns.  Last year was my first year doing The Walk, and I found it to be a rewarding and inspiring experience.  I walked all 20 miles, and raised $1,215.50!  Super excited that this year, I’ve already raised (at last count) $1,526!  And I still have a week left!  Very grateful to all my supporters so far, especially Joe Taxpayer for his generous $250 match!  My newest fundraising goal is now set at $1800.

Sign:  MA has one of the greatest income gaps in the nation

I’ll admit, I’m posting this blog post in part to ask for donations.  Any amount helps, even $5 or $10, but Project Bread sent out some facts about how donations can help:

$25 provides a hot meal for 40 individuals at a supper program.
$50 helps a family on SNAP purchase twice that amount in fresh produce at a farmers’ market.
$75 subsidizes CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares for one week for ten families.
$100 provides food vouchers to five senior households.
$500 helps support a healthy summer food program for low-income children.
$1,000 helps create innovative farm-to-table programs that give low-income families a hand up and that also strengthen the community.

Sign:  Hunger is a SOLVABLE problem

It’s not too late to help!  You can still sign up to walk or volunteer.  You can donate to me or anyone else.  You can find out if your donation will be matched by your employer.

Thank you again to everyone who has donated so far!  And thank you in advance to anyone who joins in to walk, volunteer, or donate!  Are you participating?

 

Walk for Hunger: My first fitness+fundraising adventure April 20, 2012

Filed under: Boston,Fitness,Food — Stephanie @ 6:12 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve done “fun runs” in the past.  I’ve even finished a few 5ks.  But this is something new.

I signed up as a walker for the 20-mile walk around Boston.  I might be crazy.

My first fitness+fundraising event will be the Walk For Hunger, the oldest continual pledge walk in the country.  It is the main fundraising event each year for Project Bread, a Massachusetts-based charity dedicated to alleviating, preventing, and ultimately ending hunger in Massachusetts.

I’ve never done an athletic event to raise money.  I know so many people who do, but between my lack of athletic ability and my discomfort at asking people for donations, it never happened.

I found out that our company has a pretty big walking team (and a lot of volunteers) for the Walk For Hunger, and I wanted to spread the word among my colleagues.  I figured I couldn’t tell people about it without doing it myself!

So, I signed up.  I donated a little bit of money to get things going, and then I spread the word.  I posted it on facebook, my gchat status, and twitter.  I posted information on my cubicle to let my colleagues know they could walk, volunteer, or pledge a donation.

There are three main ways to participate for the Walk for Hunger on Sunday, May 6th:

As a walker:  You can sign up to walk part of or all of the 20-mile route.  If 20 miles is too much for you (and maybe it might be too much for me, we’ll see!) there are shuttles at each of the checkpoints to take you back to the starting/finish line in Boston Common.  I have a colleague who pledged per mile, because he doesn’t think I can walk the whole thing.  Well, I’ll prove him wrong!  You can join as an individual walker, start a walk team, or join a team with friends, family, or colleagues.  As an added incentive to walk, there will be refreshments and entertainment all along the walk route to keep you going!

As a volunteer:  If you’re not keen on walking, there are plenty of other ways to help out.  Check out these descriptions of possible volunteer opportunities.

With Donations:  You can donate to an individual walker or volunteer or make a general gift to the Walk for Hunger.  Like I said earlier, I’ve never personally done one of these fundraising events before.  So I was overjoyed to see how many of my friends from work, school, and twitter were willing to support the program by donating through me!

If you’d like to donate through my page, I would be so thankful!

Many of my twitter pals already donated!  So I’d like to thank them here:

Everyone else who donated so far is not on twitter (to the best of my knowledge).  But thank you all so much!

Have you ever participated in a walk/run/jog/dance for hunger/curing a disease/raising awareness/etc.?  Are you participating in the Walk for Hunger this year?  Do you hate me for making a post that all lead up to me asking you for money?

 

 
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