I’m getting a little freaked out I’ve been a college graduate for a year now. I feel…old. But with age comes wisdom so as a cranky, ancient 23-year-old I hope I can shower this year’s graduates with a little bit of advice I could have used before walking across the stage to receive my diploma.
Congratulations, Class of 2015. You did it.
1) Begin professionalizing your wardrobe.
Maybe you already have a job lined up. Maybe you’re planning on taking some time off before entering the big-kid world, like I did. Which would still leave plenty of time for parties, clubbing and bar-hopping. Either way, it’s time to start working some basic pieces into your closet that will transition you into your first job. A pair or two of dress pants, a few blouses/button-ups and some blazers can go a long way and give you great starter outfits for your first few weeks at a new job. Because face it: cat sweaters and yoga pants really have no way of working for the office (unfortunately.)
2) Start a savings account.
Seriously. In fact, you should have this already but some people just don’t get around to it. You WILL need emergency money. For example, I got a call for an interview for my current job and two days after had to travel three hours and book a hotel for it. I only had a part-time job at the time and was already struggling with my checking account funds so my savings really saved my butt. Start this ASAP and throw a little bit of money in there every few weeks, or every paycheck. Your future self will thank you.
3) Constantly search job listings.
This was something I did in my spare time even before I graduated. I was constantly on sites like Monster, Indeed and others just looking at what kind of jobs were available. This can give you insight as to what employers are looking for in candidates, and you may even find a job you never knew existed that would work perfect for you!
4) Update your resume.
Visit your resume every few weeks with a fresh eye. You may find a way to tweak the design or reword certain sections, creating a sharper and more desirable summary of your qualifications.
5) Don’t be afraid to splurge a little on your first apartment.
This one is definitely personal preference but I’ll give you my experience. When I was getting ready to move, there were only two apartment complexes I found in my budget with available places. The much more affordable one was bigger and all utilities paid, but it was older and there was no washer/dryer inside the apartment. Laundry was a big factor for me because I spent four and a half years walking back and forth between a laundry facility and I was done with that. The more expensive apartment was smaller, but newer and had a washer/dryer. As soon as I visited the second, I felt it was extremely worth the extra $100 every month. I haven’t regretted for a single second being able to do my laundry in the comfort of my own home and having nice, updated appliances has been magnificent.
6) Don’t feel like you have to have everything figured out.
I feel a bit hypocritical preaching this one because I am constantly freaking out about my direction in life. But I am slowly learning that yes, it’s okay to feel like a small child who just got separated from her mother in a large crowd (which, essentially is what happens when you set off on your own.) You will make mistakes. You will get caught up in a job where you wonder if that’s what you really want to do for the rest of your life. You’ll want to quit and travel. You will sit at home and cry over the fact you can’t afford curtains or a TV stand. But it’s okay because it’s one giant adventure that’s somehow even better than college.