5 Realities About Post-Grad Life You Should Know

Graphic by Dana Davenport, Oksana Latysheva, Rockicon, Alfa Design, Creative Stall / Noun Project, W2 Photography / Stocksy

Graphic by Dana Davenport, Oksana Latysheva, Rockicon, Alfa Design, Creative Stall / Noun Project, W2 Photography / Stocksy

By: Courtney Connley

For many people, a look back on college brings about fond memories of the best four years of their life. Without the weight of #adulting, college is the perfect time to truly live young, wild and free. And while the balance of getting a good education, landing an internship and mastering a successful social life may lead some early 20-somethings to believe they are ready for all that adulthood has to offer, the reality is that the first few years after college serve as a real wake-up call.

For all of the recent graduates, soon-to-be graduates, and those who are knee-deep in the challenges of post-grad blues, below are five realities that will help to ease your transition from college student to adulthood.

Living at home is not as bad as you think.

Yes, living under your parent’s roof and rules seems like the worst thing to ever happen after you’ve tasted the freedom of college. However, having to pay for rent, groceries, a car note, gas, and all of the other expenses that come along with full independence are no joke on an entry-level salary. If you’re fortunate enough to go back home after college, do so. Map out a financial plan and a timeframe to leave your parent’s house to help you focus on the end goal and not your mother’s nagging.

It’s never too early to invest in retirement.

If your first job out of college offers a 401K plan, invest in it immediately. According to Bankrate.com, if you start saving for retirement at 25 and put away $2,000 a year, for just 40 years, you’ll have around $560,000 saved up. Moral to the story, save for retirement now and know that your future financial stability will thank you for it later.

You likely will not land your dream job right out of college, and that’s OK.

Despite all of the amazing internships and work experiences you’ve had during your college years, no one is exempt from the challenges of job hunting. Do not wait until the month of graduation to start your job search and do not limit yourself to just one career path. Yes, you may have majored in one thing and have an ideal position in mind after graduation, but if opportunities in that field aren’t opening up right away, look into other industries to see what jobs are offered that will allow you to gain transferable skills that can be used in any field.

The relationships you’re meant to have will last regardless of time and distance.

Fact: After college, you will not have the time or means to see your friends as often as when you all were living on the same campus. Do not pass up the opportunity for new experiences because of fear that you will lose touch with a spouse or your friends. The people who are meant to be in your life for longer than a season will stay there regardless of where you move, what job you take and what opportunities come your way.

Credit is real and you need it.

Your parents and student loans may have helped you with on-campus housing and even snagging an off-campus apartment as an upperclassman in college, but your parents won’t be there to cosign for you forever. Start establishing good credit early by paying your monthly student loans on time, or even before the due date. Also, while the sound of opening up a credit card may be scary, if you’re responsible with it, the credit you establish with a credit card will give you enough history to be able to sign and purchase your first apartment or car.

Have any other post-grad realities that you wish you would have known about before graduating college? If so, leave them in the comment section below.

Courtney Connley is a writer, editor and digital journalist with a sweet spot for storytelling and helping millennials win in the workplace and in life. She considers brunching to be a full-time hobby and enjoys anything that involves avocado or a good book. You can stay up-to-date with her latest work at courtneyconnley.com and follow her latest happenings on social media @classicalycourt.