Transitioning from one stage of your life to another can be both exciting and overwhelming all at once. As you near the end of your college career, take the time to celebrate what you’ve accomplished. Just remember, now you’ll need to look towards what you want to accomplish in your new career and beyond. There will be a stark contrast between your life post-university compared to now. For many, this will be the first time that they are truly on their own. It will be your responsibility to take on the duties of adulthood and begin to think about the future. To help get you better prepared for post-graduate life, here are some adulting tips to keep in mind.
Stay In Touch With Friends and Professors
After you graduate, you’ll be surprised how fast time flies. The last thing you want to happen is to be disconnected from the people you’ve grown to know over the past few years. While it might not be possible to stay in touch the same way you did at college, maintaining those relationships is important for you personally and professionally. You can stay connected through your school’s alumni community. Your friends may be in positions that allow them to help you with your career and vice versa. Similarly, professors are well connected and are always happy to help former students with recommendations, job searches, and career advice.
Keep a Detailed Budget
The way you spend money will change once you have an income and more expenses. It may be tempting to spend a lot of money with a paycheck coming your way, but keeping a budget will help you prepare long-term and be a safeguard against financial troubles in the future. There are many free tools available to help you make a budget. The easiest way to get started is to make your own budget within Google Sheets. You can fully customize it the way that you want it. However, if creating your own budget sheet is too overwhelming, check the app store for highly rated budgeting apps. Some of your biggest expenses will be your student loan payments, vehicle related expenses, and living expenses. Make sure your budget is accounting for every dollar made so you can pay off your debt sooner rather than later, and start working towards your own goals.
Explore Housing Options Ahead of Time
A sizable portion of your budget will likely be going towards housing, so you’ll want to look into your options as soon as you can. Getting an apartment after college is what most people end up doing because it’s less expensive than getting a house in the short term. It’s especially cheaper if you’re able to find a few roommates to help split the cost. However, if you have the means to do so and you know what area you’d like
to live in, buying a house can be a better option. Instead of making monthly rent payments, all of your mortgage payments will be made towards having something that you actually own. You might be wondering, as a new graduate, “how much mortgage can I afford on top of my monthly student loan payments and other living expenses?” It depends on the house and the area, but it could be doable if you find a reasonable deal. The down payment is usually the part that prevents people from being able to purchase a house, so you may have to wait a couple of years before you have enough money saved up. Include a section in your budget that’s meant to be saved for a downpayment. Lastly, if you are able to live at your parent’s house temporarily and are comfortable doing so, try it. Living with your parents will allow you to focus your first year or two on saving and paying off debt.
Prioritize How You Spend Your Free Time
Free time becomes much more valuable when you’re working full time. You won’t have the extra time you had in between classes and full summers off. Because of this, you’ll want to maximize the time you have after work and on the weekends. Take the time now to write down some bigger picture goals and break them down into smaller goals that can be reached on a daily or weekly basis. You don’t want to blink and have months or years pass without making progress on the things you care about.
Prepare to Hit the Ground Running
If you have a job lined up for after you graduate you’ll want to do everything you can to hit the ground running. You want the leadership and peers at your company to get a great first impression. Ask your boss what you can do during the time between school and your start date. If you’ll be working remotely, meeting people will not be the same as in person, but still, ask to meet with your future co-workers so you can get to know them and ask them questions about the job role. Find someone that can act as a mentor for you as you begin your career. Remember to always continue your learning outside of the classroom so that your skills and expertise are always considered valuable.