I signed my first contract before passing the National physical therapy boards (I did pass though) and picked up and moved to Virginia to start my first contract. 13 weeks? No problem, I could do anything for 13 weeks! I moved in with family to start saving money towards my loans. (Highly recommended if possible, when you are first starting out in the “real world” and key to building your initial emergency fund of money).
Day 1: No orientation, first job fresh out of PT school, full caseload. Initiation by fire. Holy Moly, what have a done?
I did survive and quickly learned the downfall of being a traveler. Learn to ask for what you want, before you start. Once a contract is signed, changing it is hard and nearly impossible. I started working only 25 hours total a week because the facility could “send me home” when not needed. How is this going to help pay off my loans early? It’s not.
I lasted 8 weeks of this 13 week contract, picked up and moved again, this time to central NY.
I approached my second contract a totally different way”
1. I had days off written into the contract, to not get trapped working holidays or weekends (travelers are not guaranteed anything if it is not spelled out in the contract)
2. Guaranteed 40 hour work week (to avoid the 25 hour issue of the first contract) because after all, those loans are not going to pay themselves.
I got my very first apartment, lived alone for the first time ever in my life, and bought my very own puppy. My rent was $440 a month and I thought this was ridiculous (ha!). In hindsight, maybe I didn’t need the responsibility of a puppy with my life changing every few months, while trying to save as much money as possible, but he became my constant. I still have him now and couldn’t have imagined doing all this without the little monster by my side(and he is a monster).
I stayed at this contract 8 months and will look back at that time as one of the best, if not the best, job I have ever had.
During those 8 months, I started to learn how cool being “an adult” was and how much fun it was to make money!
The downfall? I discovered shopping (that will be a whole other post in itself).
Living alone for my first time brought several other lessons:
1. Who is going to shovel the mounds of show we got last night so I can make it to work on time?
2. When lights are left on…you have no one else to blame (and you actually care now that lights are left on because you pay the bill)
3. Winter is cold and heat is expensive. LAYERS.
4. Car tires do not last forever, and bald tires do not work in snow.
5. I am no longer in college and cannot go out on weekdays and function well helping people all day anymore.
6. Puppies are like babies; they cry, a lot; especially when you put them in their cage. Not following through with training your dog leaves you a dog that took 3 years to train. Oops, at least he is cute!
7. Cooking my own meals takes work, and it is a lot cheaper to eat unhealthy (way, way, way more on this later).
8. Cable is an unnecessary expense.
I bought my own shovel, ruined several pairs of cute boots, and vowed to never live another winter in the north alone again.
I learned the value of candles and why my dad used to get so upset when I left every light on in our home.
Blankets…so many blankets. For anyone that knows me, they know I am ALWAYS cold. Always. Ill tell you what though, when you are paying the heating bill, you complain a lot less about how cold it is and just put on a lot more clothes.
Winter ended, I took what I learned from my first taste of living alone, and I hightailed it out of New York (with Riley of course). South Carolina here I come!