Adulthood? Post-Grad Life and How to Deal

By Thursday, July 23, 2015

Let’s face it – life after college can be a culture shock. Gone are the days of living around all your friends, random fun weekend trips, and neverending movies and game nights. Friends are no longer at your immediate beck and call, so it takes concentrated effort to get outside of your workplace and your house. But also, classes, assigned reading, and homework are things of the past as well, so there are opportunities to fill your time with things you really want to do. I’ve been out of college for a little over a year now, and while I certainly still have a ways to go, here are a few things I’ve learned in this new stage of life that I hope are helpful if you're in that same stage or about to be in it.

This holds true no matter where you live after graduation. I moved back to my hometown after graduating, and even though I knew my way around, it was still starting over in a sense. I had been away from the community for four years, so a lot had changed and many high school friends were gone. Some college friends moved here too, but everyone has vastly different schedules, jobs, and lives after graduating. So whether you’re moving back to your original town or somewhere totally new, it’s absolutely essential to get out and find friends. And trust me – as an introvert, this isn’t my favorite task. But you just have to embrace the awkwardness of basic questions about your job and current life story for a little while, and then decide to be friendly and ask the nice person for their number. And follow up. The first lunch or dinner may be a bit weird, but it will get better! Remember, a lot of people you meet are in the same situation as you. You just can’t assume that other people will do the work for you. The old cliché is that you have to be a friend to make friends, and it’s definitely the truth. Once the initial stages are over, you can start making better friends. More on that in a later post. 

Again, this is just as true for me being back in my hometown as it is for someone heading to a new city after college. My town has changed a lot since I was a kid, and I’m still working on getting familiar with areas I didn’t visit much when I was young. And it can be really fun. Yes, it can feel somewhat nerdy, but choose to lay the coolness aside and play tourist for a bit. Hang with people who know their way around so you can find the popular things to do, as well as lesser-known local pastimes. And let’s not forget food. There’s nothing like a good local delicacy to get you right at home. Unique restaurants, good shopping centers (with bookstores!!), libraries, coffee shops, and parks are all great places to explore and familiarize yourself with in a new town.

This is the unfun-but-necessary one. It’s a vitally important part of adulthood that I wish colleges would teach everyone. So many young people graduate from college now and have no clue how to take ownership of their finances. I admit that I had some working knowledge, but it was still lacking. Thanks to my accountant mother, that’s changing. Just be willing to spend a few boring hours of feeling hopelessly lost and dependent on someone more knowledgeable. It’s an uncomfortable place to be, and it’s definitely easier to brush it aside and say you’ll figure it out later. But I can tell you it’s worth the struggle! Once you get a budget going and are in the habit of monitoring what you’re spending, it helps you see that you really are in control of it. And that’s a very good feeling, I promise! Like so many others, I usually recommend Dave Ramsey’s tutorials if you don’t have a person close to you who can help. But either way, his materials are excellent for anyone! He’s smart, funny, understandable, and has a lifetime of good and bad financial experiences to draw from.

With no more homework comes time to read for fun. And you need to! I’ve found that even though I’m no longer taking formal classes, learning itself should never stop. Read lots and read often. With no scheduled deadlines or assigned books, you’re free to pick all kinds of material and go at whatever pace you want, so the possibilities are seriously endless. Try all kinds – fiction, nonfiction, biography, fantasy, historical… I could go on. As a lifelong bookworm, having time to read what I want has been one of the best things about post-grad life for me. If you’re a slow reader or struggle with how to read well, don’t be discouraged! You don’t have to keep up with your friends who can read 5 books at a time (that’s seriously a special person), but I do encourage you to try. Challenge yourself, but start small and work at it and follow through. For more reading tips, click here

Those are my top suggestions for all of you out there who are also trying to navigate this thing called adulthood. It's new, exciting, scary, and full of possibilities. Stay tuned for more on this topic!

My graduation from Auburn University a little over a year ago... pretty sure none of us knew what was about to hit us

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  1. I like your tips for reading -- I think that's essential! Even when school ends, life goes on and it's important to continue learning. :)

    1. Thanks, Eden!! I agree that it's so important to keep on learning after school and reading is one of the best ways to do it. I've so enjoyed having the time and freedom to read what I want since I graduated. It's been wonderful! :)