Fall is here, and for many young and naive 90’s babies, that means it’s back to college for another year. For those of you that have already graduated, this time of year is better known as the time when you go and cry in the corner thinking about how old you’re getting and reminisce on those magical days you spent before graduation, when you drank copious amounts of alcohol within walking distance of all your friend’s rooms.
But since this is my second fall season without going back to school, I’d like to think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ve graduated and have adjusted semi-well to my new, post-grad life. To help you prep for the transition, here are a few things tips that I’ve learned during my first year out in the “real world:”
Maybe my parents were right and getting myself a credit card wasn’t the best idea.
It may seem like a good idea at the time (Rewards just for shopping online and spending money? Yes please!), but this is one of many things your parents were right about. After racking up some credit card debt myself, I learned the hard way that spending money you don’t have now is not as easy to pay off when you finally do get your paycheck.
Supporting yourself entirely is not going to be easy after graduation. Make sure to create a budget and stick to it to avoid having to get a credit card that you insist is for “emergencies only,” but end up using for festival tickets, clothes at Forever 21, and the occasional drunchies sesh.
Feeding myself is expensive and hard.
Frozen pizza for the 6th night in a row isn’t as enjoyable as you might think. Do yourself a favor and learn how to cook at least 3 or 4 affordable and nutritious meals (Ramen doesn’t count). Your digestive system and wallet will thank you.
One year of actual work experience in your chosen field really does open a lot of doors.
Securing a job in your chosen field within three months of your graduation and getting a solid year of work experience under your belt actually does make you a desirable candidate for a wide array of job opportunities. Finding the job is the hard part, but making sure you stick with it can be just as challenging. A 9 to 5 job can be no fun at first, but give it a chance before you put in your two week’s notice. It will go a long way on your resume.
It’s never too soon to follow your dreams.
As important as it is to get some work experience under your belt, don’t stay in one place or one job because you’re comfortable or a lot of your college friends did. Your early twenties are the best time to make a major life change because it’s one of the few times in your life you aren’t tied down. Your graduation opens up the world to you. With no kids, mortgage, or serious S.O., you are free to do whatever you want and go wherever you want. Been dying to move to NYC? Do it. Always wanted to teach English abroad? Start applying online.
Before you know it, you’ll be turning 30 and then it might be too late to take such a big risk.
You have less in common with some of your best college friends than you thought.
A few of the friends you meet in college really will be your best friends for life. But, beware. You don’t want to confuse your college party friends with the one’s that actually care about you and your well-being. You will most likely find that chugging beer and staying up late were the only things you had in common with a majority of your “friends.” It doesn’t mean they are bad people or that you are any better, it just means you have served your purpose in each other’s lives and function better as a fun memory than an actual friend to call when you need someone to talk you off the edge.
Celebrities and contestants on shows like The Bachelor are actually so young. (Or am I just super old now?)
It may not seem like the most important lesson, but damn is it shocking to realize that most of these so-called adults are 22, 23, or worse, even younger than you. It makes a lot more sense why they always act wild, breakdown on camera, or have hilarious employment descriptions. They’re in their early twenties and just trying to figure out this whole adulthood thing too, so maybe reconsider judging them as harshly as you did before your graduation day!
The Dollar Tree is your new BFF.
Toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, car charger, power steering fluid, the list goes on. The Dollar Tree is your new one-stop shop for all your home, car, and personal necessities. Everything, as far as the eye can see in that white and green store, is only $1. If that doesn’t excite you, you clearly haven’t been cut off yet.
Eventually, you’ll find paying for rent, car and health insurance, your cell phone bill, utilities, cable and Wi-Fi, student loans, food, and beer doesn’t leave much room for anything else, so you need to make that cash go as far as possible. Enter, the Dollar Tree.
Staying in, watching Netflix, and going to bed early is a wonderful weeknight well spent.
Drinking on a weeknight just doesn’t have the same appeal when you have an 8-hour workday ahead of you, plus the commute. Call it lame if you want, but me and my well-rested self frankly don’t give a sh*t.
There you have it, a few pointers from a post-grad millennial just trying to get by. Remember, college may have been the best years of your life, but that doesn’t mean that after your graduation, the rest of your life is downhill . The experience is up to you, so make the most of it without going totally broke, if you can swing it.