Congrats, you made it through college. But what things do you need to do to make the transition from college kid to normal adult a seamless one? Here’s my list:
A lot of success can be attributed to how well contacted a person is. You may have heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Which is true, but I find this even better: “It’s not who you know, but who knows you and what you know.”
- Keep a list of contacts
- Get recommendation letters from teachers
- Make sure your skill sets are known
#2 Shape up your online persona
Many employers today will look at facebook to make their hiring decisions. The question is, how do you look online? Is it worth having those pictures of that one awesome party, if it costs you a potential job?
- Sort through facebook pictures, delete anything incriminating
- Better safe than sorry
- Try googling yourself, anything unprofessional pop up?
- Do you have a professional email address? firstname.lastname@example.org won’t cut it.
- Make a list of all your online users. Delete accounts you don’t need or won’t use anymore.
#3 Get Professional
You’ve now reached the point where you have to stop acting like a student and start acting like a grown up. Be ready to present yourself and your qualifications.
- Update your voicemail message to be simple and professional.
- Create/Update your resume
- Create/Update your online portfolio
- Join Linkedin.com to create a professional network
- Make business cards; you never know when you’ll meet opportunity face to face
- Practice interviews and your 30sec pitch
#4 Be your own parent
Now that you’re an adult you can’t expect your parents to hold your hand and guide you through life. Learn some of the things you’ve been relying on you parents for til now.
- Learn how to take care of your own car.
- Learn how to do taxes
- Learn how to be a good tenant (whether you live in a house, apartment, or your parent’s basement)
#5 Be Healthy
Health is another thing you need to be accountable for. You have to decide now what you want your adult life to look like. If you don’t keep a healthy diet and exercise schedule, you will gain weight and you will have more medical problems down the road. Even a simple 10min walk can improve your quality of life. Also explore how to cook. Buying fresh food in bulk is cheaper and healthier than TV dinners. Prepare food ahead of time or freeze pre-made meals to save time and money.
- Limit your junk food. Only one fourth or less of your food should be junk food or desserts.
- Buy fresh food. Instant noodles and TV dinners are not the way to go.
- Get into an exercise routine. Find a buddy to make it easier to keep it up.
- Make sure you get medical and dental checkups annually.
#6 Get Organized
Organization helps you keep sane. Now is a great time to pow-wow with your parents to make sure you have all the paper work you need to fly solo.
- Get physical and digital copies of everything. Scanners are your friend
- Make sure you have medical, dental, auto, financial, and proof of ownership papers
- Get all that tax paperwork in one place
#7 Get a budget, save smart, pay off debt
You are now completely in charge of your money, and if you’ve ever been talked to about finances, you know they go fast, even under a close watch. Get a budget set up and stick to it. You’ll be amazed how not buying stuff here and there will keep you out of the red. And chances are, you already have debt that your not keen on adding to.
- get an account at mint.com
- start an emergency fund (at least $1,000)
- start saving long term now (even if you save $5 a paycheck, it’ll add up quicker the sooner you start)
- pay off all credit cards and only use them when you have the money to pay them off immediately.
#8 Set some goals
It’s important to establish and reach for goals. Why? It’s the only way to really get what you want in the end. For example, when I was 11 I wanted to be fluent in Japanese. But it was a goal with no due date. When I was 21 I realized my goal would’ve taken 5 years, but here I was 10 years later with little to no progress. When you know what you want to do, GO FOR IT.
- Make a year, 5 year, and ten year plan. how do you plan to reach each marker? See here.
- What’s on your bucket list? Publish a book? Travel? Marriage?
- What’s your dream job? How will you get there?
#9 Get some R&R
Chances are you’ve had little time for rest and relaxation since you started school over a decade ago. This may be your best chance to really enjoy life as you please. Make a buketlist or pursue a long lost hobby or even just go for a walk and enjoy the sunshine.
- This is the time to travel! Go for it! You don’t have to go overseas, just get out of your town.
- Read a book, one you’ll enjoy
- Revisit a hobby you love but haven’t had time for!
- Keep learning, but casually and leisurely. Something you want to learn.
#10 Home & Car
Should I look for a new place? Should I get a new car? How do I handle my piece of junk? These are all questions to ask, but don’t be too quick to dish out tons of money when what you have is just fine.
- Learn to maintain what you got
- Keep an eye open for better things
- Know when to be content with what you have
#11 Clean Sweep
Now is a really good time to go through everything you own and decide whether or not you want to bring everything into your adult life. This is also a great time to sort your wardrobe, especially if you’re mistaken for a high schooler or bum in public. Hold a garage sale and use the profits to buy new clothes. Don’t be afraid to hit up goodwill! You can find new brand name clothes for a couple bucks if you know how to look around. See my suggested men’s and women’s wardrobes.
- Sort all your belongings. Make a keep, toss, and sell/donate pile
- Revamp your wardrobe. Do you have at least 2 professional outfits?
- Food. Do you have expired stuff? Things you will never eat? Toss or donate.
#12 Collect Memories
Just because you’re moving on, doesn’t mean you should forget your past. Take the time to organize your memories in a way you can easily look at fond memories from childhood, high school, etc.
- Make a physical and/or digital scrap book. Everything from birth to current. I suggested blurb.com
- Have lots of t-shirts full of memories that you never wear? Make a t-shirt quilt.
- Write down your favorite recipes and make your own cookbook. Physical and/or digital
#13 Connect with peeps
Make sure that the people in your life know how much they mean to you. Make a list of people you’d like to or need to show a little love to. Friends and family especially appreciate hand written letters or simple tokens.
- Show your friends you care, send them notes of appreciation for being there all this time.
- Write thank you notes to those that have helped you get through school.
- Find time to hang out with your family. It doesn’t have to be often, just not once every 5 years
#14 Get Involved in your new community
There is life outside your apartment! You don’t want to graduate college just to become a inclusive homebody. Go out and experience your neighborhood or city. Try lending a hand and seeing who you meet!
- Try to volunteer, do community service, or work at a soup kitchen
- Get involved at a church or community center
- See if there are any fun events happening! Try using meetup.com
#15 Prep your place for company
Now that you have your own place, make it ready for people to come visit. Your days of laundry thrown about the room are over! You’re an adult now. You should feel comfortable inviting someone over with little to no prep. You don’t have to be a clean freak, just keep it ready for visitors.
- Keep the place organized, this will cut down stress in the long run
- Explore simple decoration. Pinterest.com is a great place for ideas
- Invite people over for a movie or board game night! If you’re new to the area, make some friends!
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