Girls go to college to get more knowledge… but also just to grow up. Hopefully, you’ll learn just as many life lessons in your four years of college as you will facts from your textbooks. To guide you, Her Campus has a checklist of everything you should know how to do before graduation day.
1. Defend yourself. Take a self-defense class, invest in mace, and channel Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality (Sulley from Monsters, Inc. works, too). You never know when you’ll need to get yourself out of a tough situation. Check out Girls Fight Back, which provides information, encouragement, and an online directory for self-defense programs near you.
2. Iron your clothes. Wrinkles should be associated with wisdom and dried fruit, not your clothes. Sport them incorrectly and you’ll look like the sloppiest Jane in any professional setting.
3. Keep a clean online presence. The world has (reluctantly) forgiven you for your embarrassing, neon-flashing Xanga account from seventh grade, but you’re older and wiser now. Natalie Hage, a 2012 Ohio State graduate who is now a medical student at the University of Toledo, says being appropriate on the web is just as important for grad school admissions as it is for finding employment. As a start, Natalie suggests to “look at how strict others in the office or program keep their image clean for examples, and go from there.” At the very least, know how to manipulate your social media privacy settings and how to restrain yourself from littering your friends’ Facebook walls and Twitter feeds with poop jokes and comments like “teehee!”
4. Have company over. Sure, you were nice enough to let your friends crash at your place a few times in college. But if you’re doing any real party throwing or guest hosting, make sure to replace your Solo cups with nice glasses, your futon with a real bed, and that beer pong table with a more legitimate method of entertainment.
5. Make yourself a meal that doesn’t involve Ramen, fast food, or takeout. In college, we cut you some slack. Now that you’re a real adult, treat yourself to something that doesn’t come from a pizza box. Bon Appétit Magazine has some easy recipes to get you started.
6. Negotiate effectively with your parents. House rules may still apply when you’re at home, but your parents shouldn’t be ruling your life altogether. That said, you should be able to establish your independence from them in a polite way, i.e., “I appreciate your years-long insistence that beets are healthy and delicious, Mommy, but regarding the latter adjective, I respectfully disagree.”
7. Negotiate effectively with your employer. You should be able to discuss deadlines, hours, and salaries without crying, quitting, or throwing up a “talk to the hand.” That may have looked cool in 1999, but now you’d just get fired.
8. Write a (quality) thank you note. Even if you find etiquette silly and you enjoy petty means of rebelliousness, suck it up and learn to write an articulate, personalized thank you note. It’s simply a kind thing to do and it will reflect well on your own character, in both personal and professional situations.
9. Be honest with your doctor. As cute as it was when 15-year-old you acted utterly confused as to how you contracted mono, there’s no use in being bashful or deceptive when it comes to your health. Ask questions, voice concerns, and have trust and confidence in your doctor.
10. Introduce yourself professionally. Be prepared to do so via email, on the phone, or with a firm handshake, because a subtle nod and a “sup, brah” won’t work quite as well in the office as it did in your freshman dorm.