Maria Sestito is a former Register reporter and current student at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She shares her unique perspective on life in her column “Jersey Girl,” which runs every other Sunday. Follow Maria on Twitter @RiaSestito or email her at

On my 30th birthday, I woke up alone in my “garden” apartment. Cosmo was nearby, but wasn’t cuddling with me. My mom hadn’t called me yet.

The first career day I ever spoke at was back in North Carolina at an elementary school. I was still in my early twenties and unsure that I was the best person for the task, but I loved being around kids and would probably say yes to most things my boss asked of me.

I’m running up a tall staircase. I’m almost there when my foot slips on the edge of a step. My face slams against the stairs, my chin hitting one, two, three steps or more. Bang. Bang. Bang. I reach out my arms, grasping for the top.

I’m thinking about moving to Florida. More specifically, I’m thinking about buying a house in Florida. FLORIDA.

My boyfriend’s dream is to own a house by the lake. Not just any lake – one near his favorite uncle’s house up in Clearlake.

I don’t really remember much from my childhood, but I do remember the first 150 creatures featured in Pokémon. I grew up in a Pokémon sweet spot, right when it was really taking off, so it didn’t seem weird to be obsessed with watching and collecting these “Pocket Monsters.” There was a Poké…

My friends and I, we feel we did everything right. We did well in high school, went to college – took out loans to pay for it – and then, upon graduating, had GPAs to brag about. Some of us, including me, even worked our asses off while in school to help pay for it and our ramen noodles.

When I bought my car four years ago, I planned on having it forever. I’d run that baby into the ground – travelling across the country, going on reporting trips, road trips and shopping excursions. It’s been everywhere with me and, in many ways, has served as a sort of home away from home. M…

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Student insurance is saving my life. The few thousands it costs every semester have equipped me with free prescriptions, low copays, short and long-term therapy options, a dietician, potential allergist and a colonoscopy that I was told should be 100 percent covered.

One of my favorite books as a little girl was Golden Sound Story’s version of “The Princess and the Pea.” The image on the front of the 1991 storybook was of a yellow-haired princess wearing a pink, billowing dress and holding a pillow atop of which was a green pea.

My eyes were closed and I was focused on breathing. I tried to keep it steady, consistent enough that I could eventually stop focusing and just be.

People sure do love to hate on some of the things I love – things that, yes, might be bad for me, but are also harmless in comparison to vices other people might have. One of the biggest targets of their trivial criticisms: soda.

Since living in our studio, Cosmo – my cat – has had an increased appetite. The amount I’ve had to spend on cat food has doubled and most of that extra cost is wasted when he vomits on my bed. (My laundry detergent bill has also increased.) I know this is concerning, so I’ve changed his food…

My first semester at Berkeley didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped. At best, it was up and down. At worst, I felt like I didn’t belong at the school or in journalism at all.

Love doesn’t always find you the way you hope it will. In fact, it usually doesn’t. When it comes – if you’re lucky enough for it to come at all – it’s inconvenient, it’s messy, it’s difficult. And, at the same time, it’s so easy.

One teacher can make or break how you feel about a subject. I’ve been lucky in my life to have many great teachers, especially in my English and writing classes. My luck has continued as I’ve found mentors in journalism, including my editors at the Register.

When I walked into my class Thursday morning, everyone in the room started singing. There was a big balloon waiting for me in my spot at the table along with some birthday cards handcrafted by my classmate’s children. (They used their best stickers!) And, when the song was coming to an end, …

I have lived my life amidst a constant stream of checkpoints. I grew up believing that once ‘thing A’ happened, life would really start — that everything would be better.

I don’t know if it’s the way I grew up or if most of us think this way, but when someone does something nice for me my next thought is “Why?”

My last day as a reporter at the Register is Wednesday. It’s been a good run – nearly three years – but it’s time for me to move on. Where am I going? UC Berkeley.

I love roller coasters. Because of this love, I have a season pass to Six Flags, but I hardly ever go. Although it is only a 10 minute drive from my house, I’ve only been there once this season.

Remember those relationship red flags I talked about ignoring? Well, maybe they did mean something – for both me and the almost, not-so-much man of my dreams.

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If you’re devout, I might be the worst person to go to church with and it has nothing to do with my beliefs. I just can’t handle it.

Dating is a full-time job. Unfortunately, in most cases, it doesn’t pay. I mean that both literally and figuratively.

A guy recently told me that he wanted to make it into my column. I told him that my next few subjects were already lined up, so he would have to stick around for a few weeks. He found a loophole: he ghosted me.

I’ve never been much of a sports fan, but when my team made it to the Super Bowl, I suddenly became a Phanatic – a Philly Phanatic. (Yes, that’s the baseball team mascot, not the football team. I do know that much, but it works.)

When it comes to writing my column, there aren’t many lines I won’t cross. But, I’ve discovered, just because I’m willing to share details of my personal life, doesn’t mean that my partners, friends and family are.

When the “Me too” movement revived last month it was amidst a whirlwind of wildfires scorching areas of Northern California. I saw my friends on Facebook posting away, joining others who have been sexually harassed or assaulted with either a simple #MeToo or by describing their own experience.

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