Just over two months ago I sat through a graduation ceremony, ate a celebratory dinner with my family, and realized that an amazing four years of college was over (check this post for more about that). A week later I moved into a new apartment, started working full-time, and was officially on my own.
It seems true adulthood isn’t something you can dip your toes into, it’s more like cannonballing off the diving board – but honestly despite some of the challenges it’s been pretty amazing so far. Paying my own rent for the first time was one of those ‘hell yeah I can do this’ moments and it felt freakin’ great. I also love having a real work schedule without any of that Sunday night homework guilt I used to get in school. Some things, like budgeting and finding time to be with friends, have definitely had more of a learning curve though, so I thought I’d share a few lessons I’ve learned with you all who might be in the same boat! I’d love to know what you think and if you’ve learned anything important for post grad life.
1) Create a budget, but don’t let it run your life
I’ve managed somewhat of a budget for years, but its VERY different when your budget suddenly includes things like a monthly metro card, utilities, a gym membership, and oh yeah that big one rent. For the first few weeks after I created my budget I was constantly totaling up spending and worrying that I was going to mess everything up. It took the fun out of getting drinks with friends or buying a new top (even one that was well within my monthly clothing budget). So now instead of worrying about my spending every moment of the day I make choices about what I can and can’t do ahead of time and forget about the money being spent in the moment so that I can focus on the experience instead.
2) The every other night rule is key
In college it was always pretty easy to balance my social life with school since I was constantly surrounded by friends, flash forward two months and we’re all leading totally separate lives at new jobs and weekends seem to just go by way too fast. That’s where the every other night rule comes in. Instead of just going home to sit on your couch every night after work I’ve learned to make plans two nights from Monday to Thursday (hence every other night) so that I keep a balance between having enough R&R and having enough fun!
3) Make mornings count
Ok, this is a lesson I’m still working on, because like I’m sure many of you I was all about sleeping in late, especially in my last semester of college. Now that I leave for work by 8:15am it is super easy to get into a bad routine of waking up 30 minutes before I have to leave, throwing on clothes and makeup, and running out the door. Doesn’t sound peaceful or enjoyable at all right? To fix this I’ve been trying a couple new tactics (more on that soon!) to wake up earlier and happier so that I don’t feel like the first thing I do in the morning is run out the door to work.
4) Meal Prep is LIFE
And that is not an exaggeration. My weeks live and die by how well I meal prep. I’m currently in the middle of a bad meal prep week so not only have I been way less healthy than normal, but I’m also blowing my budget (see #1) on boring fast casual lunches when I’d rather be spending them on happy hour. My piece of advice – Pinterest is your friend for finding great easy recipes. I like to throw something super easy together on Sunday night for Monday (think like 10 minutes or under) and then do some actual cooking on Monday night for the rest of the week so that I’m not ruining my Sunday evening.
5) Make new friends and keep the old
Anyone getting girl scout melodies going through their head? But really, I feel like the hardest part of graduating is realizing that there is no longer is a set way I can make new friends. Almost all of my friends from school are still living in the city, so it’s easy to fall into a routine where I’m never meeting a single new person my age (probably the opposite problem most post grads have). That being said I’m making it a personal goal over the next six months to find ways to get out there and meet new people my age!