The limbo between college and the “real world” can be a difficult adjustment. But it’s inevitable, and the sooner that you accept it, the quicker you’ll be able to start building a happy life entirely void of Greek letters, empty bank accounts and plastic furniture. Most of us have, loosely, similar life goals: to be successful, happy and healthy (though there are varying definitions of each). And while college is a lot of things, it is not a way of life.
If you want to become the best adult-version of yourself that you know it’s time to start being, you’ll need to start forming good habits and begin waving goodbye to the bad.
Below is a list of some stuff that should be left on campus, aside from your lanyard, bean bag chair and meal plan.
1. Partying 6 nights a week.
If you’re serious about getting serious, then it’s time to sober up. No one ever got anywhere when they were wasted, except maybe the McDonald’s drive-thru. Challenging yourself to see how much you can drink while still being able to wake up for your job is a lot different than challenging yourself to see how much you can drink while still being able to make it to your 10 AM class. You paid for those classes. Your job is paying for the roof over your head.
2. Chasing and pursuing unbeneficial relationships.
When you start spending more time focusing on and improving yourself, you are going to attract the right kind of people into your life. If you have to chase someone for their attention, it’s probably not going to be a beneficial relationship to have in the long-term. Whether this is someone you are romantically interested in or a friend you’re constantly seeking the approval of. You twenties are your “selfish years”. Now is the time to focus on what makes you, you. Keep the good, cut the bad—starting with toxic relationships. (Note: a lot of this behavior naturally fades away when you stop partying every night).
3. Finding the cheap way out of everything.
It’s okay if you are not making six figures straight out of graduation. But basing your schedule around when the local college- hang outs are having $1 Bud Light pitcher specials is unacceptable. Learning to budget is not the same thing as living like a college kid. Living within your means does not mean it’s okay to splurge on a new Tory Burch purse so long as you’re okay with eating Ramen Noodles until next pay period. One of the largest struggles, yet most beneficial, is learning how to properly divide and manage your paycheck. The sooner you get started, the better. Your student loans, and hopes of future travel, will thank you.
4. Thinking you’ll figure it out later.
You can’t spend your days dreaming about being rich and successful. But as cliché as it sounds, your life is happening right now. You need to put in the dirty work that is going to ultimately get you where you want to be. The more days you spend making (even baby steps) of progress, the less time you’ll have to get wasted, chase unhealthy relationships, post-pone your degree, and deplete your bank account. Stop cutting corners.
Making a smooth post-grad transition isn’t easy, especially if the people you associate most closely with are lagging. But if you want to be happier, healthier, and successful than most of the people you know, you need to start doing what most people are not.