8 things to know about life after college
How has it already been two years since I graduated college?! It feels like it was yesterday when I was moving into my freshman year dorm. Over the past two years I’ve really learned a lot about myself, becoming an adult and entering a new phase of life. It honestly wasn’t the easiest adjustment, and there are still days I struggle with it...but that’s the beauty of life, it’s constantly changing and throwing challenging yet wonderful things at you.
For those about to graduate college or are still in the transition phase, I wanted to share some things I’ve learned along the way that may help as you enter #adultlife. While I received a great education at my university, I never felt that I was fully prepared to jump into the reality of working everyday, being responsible for expenses or really learning how to be your own advocate. I've always had a strong sense of self and have set pretty ambitious goals, but I was really nervous about the unknown! I'm not an expert, so take what I say with a grain of salt because everyone's experiences are different.
1. Work really, really hard.
Whether you have a job right out of college or are still in the applying stages, keep pushing yourself and work really hard. You're in a time now that you have to put your best foot forward, so be a sponge, and learn every step of the way. I guarantee you that you'll get noticed if you put the time and effort into pursuing your goals.
2. Being an adult is expensive, so it’s okay to live at home.
When I graduated college I wasn’t in the financial position to find my own place and I didn’t want to live with roommates. Even after two years I’m still living with my parents, but am so appreciative they let me stay with them. Not only has it helped me with saving money, but it’s helped me immensely during this new phase of life. Their support is tremendous and I am so thankful for all their help. Living at home also gives you the opportunity to save a lot of money, spend time with family, and have a sense of comfort after long days.
3. Save. Save. Save.
Getting a salary opens a lot of doors, but create a strict budget for yourself! I'm constantly asking my parents questions, and they helped me build a savings plan and 401K savings that will set me up for success in the near and long term future. You'll find new costs like cell phone bills, taxes, car insurance, (even replacing car breaks, OY), you name it...but if you have a structure to follow you'll be off to a great start! It's also OKAY to treat yourself too, and set aside money to do things you love like travel, eating out or buying new clothes for yourself.
4. Having a full time job is an adjustment, but rewarding. You go from sitting in a classroom with a flexible schedule to trying to prove yourself at a full-time job where the work really matters. I was very excited to start at my company just after college, but it took me a while to get used to the change in schedule. I don't work a 9-5 job, so learning to pace myself and understand that some nights will be long while others I can relax took a bit of getting used to. However, the work I do can be very rewarding! Find those little joys in your job that motivate you everyday. But it's also okay to have days that aren't the best!
5. Give yourself time to adjust.
This is something I would always forget (and still do), but with anything in life, it takes time to get used to a change. Don't expect yourself to adjust right away, and give yourself enough time get used to all the changes and adjustments.
6. Surround yourself with supportive family and friends.
You'll find that friends come and go, but keep the ones close to you that are supportive and have the same goals as you. Please always remember toxic friendships just aren't worth your time or energy. Also surround yourself with family because they are always looking out for you! I've also met so many wonderful people n my professional life that I am truly lucky to have as friends or mentors.
7. You don't have to have everything figured out.
It's funny because I spent 16 years of my life dancing and believing that was what I wanted to do as a career. However after multiple injuries and a surgery just before my college auditions, I slowly realized it was time to pursue other avenues. Roger Williams University gave me the opportunity to find my voice as an individual and in a new path. I honestly just kind of fell into public relations, the classes I was taking and my professors that inspired me everyday. What I learned from this is you don't have to have everything figured out, even now I don't!
8. Find time to relax and sleep.
I never realized how much sleep I actually need until I graduated college. There were times I was able to stay out all night or pull an all nighter, but that's just not the case anymore! Listen to your body and find times to relax or disconnect from everything. Also try to build in enough time to sleep. Work takes a lot out of you!