6 Ways to Deal with Life after College

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The other day I was having a chat with one of my coworkers
who is a lot younger than me and she had just graduated out of college last
year.  We were talking about the changes
you have to undergo as a “kid” going into the real world after college.  She brought up a good point that there’s
nothing out there that prepares you for the real world.  I decided to write today’s post based on my
conversation with her.
How do you deal with life after college?
Last year I wrote a whole series called So You’ve
Graduated.  I talked about what your
appearance should be like, how to rock your interview, and how to keep your job
once you got it since let’s be honest here EVERYONE is irreplaceable in the
work place.  However, I never really talked
about how to adjust after college.  After
(if you were in college for 4 years) about 16 years of school and doing the
same thing here you are, an actual adult, an adult who needs to find a job and
pay off student loans.  This post is
going to be complete and total tough love, because guess what the real world IS
TOUGH most of the time.
There’s really no actual step by step way to adjust but I
can give a few steps from experience.  I’m
going to be honest with you, I graduated with my Bachelors’ in 2009 a year
after the economy crashed.  I struggled
to find a job so I really did not have enough time to adjust, I was forced to
adjust.  Then when I graduated with my
MBA in 2012, I STILL could not find a job. 
My step by step will be more of how I struggled to “make ends meet” so
to speak.  Thankfully I have parents who
helped me out a lot both mentally and financially.  They pretty much helped to mold me into who I
am today.
1. Grow Up
There’s really no nice way to say this, but you need to grow
up.  You are no longer a teenager in high
school, or that frat boy drinking every weekend.  The last 4 years of college was the last of
your fun immature self.  It’s time to
suit up (LITERALLY) and act like an adult, you can still have fun but tone it
down a notch.
“But Monica, how do you just act like an adult?”
Simple.  Instead of
scrolling through your social media feeds and snapchatting every single moment
of your life PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE.  Get in
front of your computer and create your Resume and Cover Letter.  Then instead of engaging in stupid petty
gossip, walk away.  You’re ABOVE
that.  You are no longer a kid, gossip
isn’t going to get you anywhere.

“But Monica, how do you write a resume or cover letter?”
I’m going to give you tough love.  Google it. 
There are so many free programs out there that even give you templates
where you just edit it with your experience. 
For those of you still in college graduating next year I HIGHLY
RECOMMEND you sitting down with a professor that you feel comfortable with and
just ask them, can you help me write a resume? 
Once you have that resume done, if you don’t have a job, make Job
Hunting your full time gig.

2. Do not Procrastinate
This was my problem after college.  Once I graduated in 2009 I thought I’m going
to give myself about 3 months of “vacation” before I start job hunting, I’ll be
fine I have a college degree. 
WRONG!  VERY VERY VERY WRONG!  Do not have this mentality.  Even if you went to the most prestigious school,
you need to work your bum off.  If you
have a vacation planned right after you graduated ok, that’s one thing, but don’t’
just sit around for 3 months not being productive.  In my case I knew that the economy had
crashed and I think I was in denial. 
Those 3 months that I took off and just acted like a lazy bum was such a
mistake.  By that time, most of the
recent college graduates had gone on interviews and gotten the jobs that could
have been mine.  The more and more you
put off, the faster time flies. 
Seriously, I remember my college graduation like it was yesterday, and I
really don’t know where the time went.
3. Start Organizing
I cannot express enough how important it is to organize
yourself.  Especially when your bills
start coming in, if you are responsible for them.  In the beginning I was really relaxed about
everything, and I didn’t know where anything was half the time.  Make sure to organize your resumes, cover
letters, bills, and write down in a calendar when you have an interview, with
what company, and which interview it is (first, second, etc).  Organizing yourself is the next step to
becoming an adult.  You know how some
adults have it all together?  Those are
usually the ones with assistants or they are their own assistant.
 
4. Change your Crowd
This was a pretty big mistake of mine.  Out of most of my friends I was the only one
to go to college, minus 3-4 people.  I’m
not saying that college kids are above high school graduates whatsoever because
I know people who are extremely talented that never went to college.  What I’m saying is, when you graduate college
you have huge student loan bills that will be coming your way.  You NEED a steady income.  If the crowd that you are surrounded by are
just making it and have the mentality of a high school kid, you need to start
hanging out with people who are adults. 
You need to start networking and making connections with people who are
established.  You never know, they may
even have an opening in their own job that you can apply for.  If the crowd you are hanging out with is
putting you down for having a college education (that was what happened to me)
you need to find other friends.  You need
to find friends who are going through what you are going through so that you
have someone who understands your struggles. 
I was put down by my group of friends constantly by them saying, see
where that college education got you? 
Absolutely nowhere, we have better jobs than you do.  That is not the type of crowd you should be
around.  To be honest, any type of crowd
who is putting you down is toxic and unhealthy. 
5. Work Hard, Play Hard
Ok, so I might’ve said that all of your fun was over in step
1 but I’m going to be a little hypocritical here.  I’m not saying you can’t have ANY fun.  However, you are an adult now, so you have to
have adult fun.  Or, you can just reward
yourself after working you’re a$$ off. 
Meaning, if you’re job hunting and say you were job hunting for 8 hours,
you are well deserving of a night out or even going out to dinner.  Maybe keep your nights out strictly for the
weekends, but dinner is fine.  You have
to keep some kind of positive attitude, so sometimes a break is what you need.
6. Routine
Get into a routine. 
Most adults have routines because they hold down jobs that are usually Monday-Friday
and your typical 9-5.  My job is
8:30-5:30 but it’s close enough.  I have
a routine, and yes it can get boring but it’s part of my life now.  Weekends are my fun days where if I want I
can just veg out in front of the couch, or clean my apartment, or actually go
hang out with people haha.  Maybe wake up
a little earlier, rather than sleeping in until 12pm.

After college your world and life will change
drastically.  There is no way to ease you
into this.  You will find that you need
to find a new identity because what you knew for so many years of your life is
not going to be the new you.  You will go
from having classes and discipline of getting your papers in on time and taking
finals to finding a job and starting a new life.  The stress in your life will no longer be a
deadline on a paper, it will be a deadline for your boss that can cost you your
job in some cases.  You will need to
start learning about things like a 401K and Health Insurance.  You might even end up moving out on your own
and driving a car that you also have to pay for.  Just keep telling yourself that you’re an
adult and you got this.
To see last year’s So You’ve Graduated Series I’ve listed all of those posts below:

So You’ve Graduated!  Mani Monday
So You’ve Graduated! OOTD 1
So You’ve Graduated! OOTD 2
8 Ways to Rock Your Interview
5 Ways to Keep Your Job