1. Being hungover in class is nothing compared to being hungover at work. Gone are the days you can chug a bottle of tequila the night before, shuffle to class with sunglasses and a burrito, and take a nap during lecture. Now that you’re receiving paychecks, yacking in the bathroom and skipping out on conference calls are big times no-nos.
2. Running across campus when you’re late to class, or climbing the endless staircase at the frats are no longer available to you for a regular work-out regime. You must now brave the grounds of a gym. Or, at least do some squats during your lunch breaks.
3. You need a checkbook.
4. You need to know how to write a check.
5. You understand why Taylor Swift is so pissed off all the time. You begin to empathize with Taylor fucking Swift, because life is hard.
6. A lint roller is not a vacuum. Buy a vacuum.
7. Those dating mind games we all indulged in with old boyfriends/girlfriends probably won’t go over as well with people in the ‘real world’ as they did in college. 22 is a time to say what you mean, mean what you say, and cut the shit.
8. It’s not quite considered socially problematic to go out and get smashed on a Monday night yet, but it’s not as justified as it was when you were in college. There are no more ‘date parties’ and ‘formals’ you can attend, so there’s not really a huge reason to get weird during the week. Unless you’re a club promoter. In which case, I would still recommend you get a different job.
9. Breaking up is more definitive. The likelihood of running into your ex is considerably low compared to how it used to be in class, or the dinning hall or at parties. You’ll have less opportunity to rehash the past and convince yourself your only option is to get back together with him/her. It’s less back and forth. This might be for the best.
10. Thursday evenings become less about hitting the bars and more about ironing an outfit for casual Fridays at the office. You look forward to casual Fridays.
11. You can’t get away with wishy-washy responses to things you’re trying to avoid, like facing that creepy guy at the office who keeps asking you out via email, telling your boss she’s been calling you the wrong name for 3 months, your roommate refusing to pay you back for trash bags and dish soap. Being out on your own means beings direct, even if it means compromising a potential friendship.
12. You’ll start to see some of the friendships you relied on in college will start to fizzle out. Despite your best efforts, some of those people you thought you were destined to meet will stop responding to your texts and phone calls and quirky Facebook posts. This will be both deeply disappointing and utterly heartbreaking. But, soon you’ll forget about the people who had forgotten about you, and make room for the people who you’re really meant to be with. There may not be a lot of them around, but you’ll be better for having them.
13. Cooking nutritious dinners (chicken, asparagus with seasoning, salad and tomatoes) is among the most gratifying feelings. It’s probably something akin to how Tina Fey must feel when she’s actually mistaken for Sarah Palin—pure success and satisfaction in the work you’ve put in. Cooking healthy food like this is mandatory after treating your body like a hazardous waste dump for 4 years. But, it’s also fucking exhausting, and you remember why Domino’s is on speed dial.
14. You’ll have a conversation with the cleaning lady at work, or your Lyft driver, or with someone you’ll only come across once in your life time. Sometimes, it’ll feel like these people have a more profound understanding on who you are than your closest family members and very best friends. Encounters like these are few and far between, and you’ll never forget them.
15. Going home for the weekend starts getting harder and harder to do, and soon you may only be able to visit your parents on every other major holiday. But, this will make the little moments spent with family more meaningful than it’s ever been. Sitting in a squished car with your siblings on a long car ride won’t seem as bad as it did when you were a kid.
16. It’s time to start on those extra-curricular creative projects you’ve been putting off all of college because you ‘didn’t have time.’ Read an entire saga, finish your highly-anticipated painting, hike that iconic trail by your home, write a whole book. You owe it to yourself to follow through with these promises you’ve made.
17. Neighbors aren’t how they seem on Friends, or Desperate Housewives. They rarely end up becoming your closest companions, and they’re certainly never your soul mate. The neighbors dwelling in your apartment complex (or neighborhood if you’re lucky) are probably total dicks. Sorry.
18. People rely on you much more than you may expect or may hope. Maybe you run more reports than the other new employee in the office, or you’re the one the Execs go to for their lunch order. This sucks. But it just means they trust you more than the other dip-shits in the office. Find flattery in this and don’t complain.
19. It’s harder to go unnoticed with facial piercings and crazy hair dye in the office. You’ll have to choose whether you’ll comply when your boss tells you to take the metal out of your face, or whether you’ll tell him/her to fuck off. I recommend the former, but there’s nothing more badass than someone standing up to their boss over something that’s important to him/her. Just make sure whatever you’re standing up for is actually something that matters to you, and you’re not just having a riot girl moment.
20. Just because you’ve started an office job or only surround yourself with an older crowd doesn’t mean the gossip and cattiness stops. People can be mean at any age, it’s not just a college or high school thing.
21. You have to start taking care of yourself. You’re not at that age where your bones start to ache in the morning, but you’re no longer in that time in your life where you can binge eat Doritos all week and sit on the couch after work without doing damage to your overall health. 22 means limiting the number of drinks ordered in a sitting, looking at the nutritional label on your food before buying, allowing yourself a reasonable amount of hours to sleep, and trying out new methods of organization in your home.
22. You feel old and rich of experience. You’ve finished up your education which has occupied almost the entirety of your life, and you have entered the job world. However, you are in fact, not that old and have barely started writing on the slate of who you are. This is not heartbreaking. It’s a wonderful truth.