There’s no doubt about it—college is a blast. It is just the right combination of freedom and responsibility. You’ve got your best friends, a summer break, and all of the time in the world. But what happens after you walk across that stage, have one last night out with your roommates, and pack up? These are the 5 things I would have liked to know before I took the leap into the waters of the real world.
1. You can’t run errands when you have a full-time job.
But really, when do adults get their hair cut? Go to the eye doctor? Get their dry cleaning? (Don’t worry—I have yet to advance to this level of maturity. I wash those lights and darks together and if they don’t like it they can get. over. it.) I had to go to the bank the other day ON MY LUNCH BREAK. I wish I was kidding. Gone are the days of getting those small To Do’s out of the way during the daylight hours. Looks like I’ll get to the grocery store sometime after 6PM with the other stiffs.
2. You have to buy insurance for everything.
I thought the only insurance my post-grad self would have to worry about was for my car. But noooo, someone came along and decided to make renters, car, life, and accident insurance all things. Is there mental health insurance to save my sanity?
3. You actually need to start caring about what you eat.
Still munching on a handful of chewy Sprees and Ramen for dinner? Guess what, buddy—your body is about to let you know that it needs more. Since graduation, I have become increasingly more aware that I can’t have pantry that looks like the inside of a concession stand. And no, simply ordering my latte as fat free isn’t going to be enough. I’m talking veggies, vitamins, and LOTS of water. I will be honest with you, I still enjoy a good candy binge, but everything in moderation.
4. No job is 9 to 5.
As I and many of my friends have learned, you are probably going to spend more time working than you expected. The first job out of college is one of the most important building blocks of your career; how could it not be? It’s the foundation. With this being said, you have to work hard to establish a reputation for yourself and your credibility. We have a lot to prove, us entry-level boys and girls. Here’s the thing: It will eventually pay off. All of those 40+ hour weeks will turn into promotions, responsibilities, and the experience that will prepare us for our future.
5. You are not who you were in college.
Unless you want to be. Otherwise the floor is yours. Once you drive away from campus, you wipe your slate clean. Sure, there may be some familiar faces in whatever far-off town you decide to move to, but that doesn’t mean they know you anymore. This is your time to be how and who you want to be, without the judgment that can come with people’s perceptions of you. Now you can be, unapologetically, the only version of yourself that would ever make sense to you. Good luck!