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19 Signs You’re Killing It as a Recent Graduate

You may not feel as prepared for adulthood as you thought you’d be. You kind of hoped that right after graduation, or at least within six months to a year, you’d be kicking it in a gorgeous house, driving to your dream job in a brand new car and adopting at least one adorable puppy.

Maybe you aren’t doing all that, and that’s okay. You may still be living at home, or in your first crappy out-of-college apartment with three random roommates. You may still be opening bottles of wine with a penknife because you don’t have a corkscrew. And that’s okay. You’re new to this whole adulting thing–and here are 19 reasons you’re actually killing it as a recent grad.

1. You have your own Netflix or Hulu account

Who cares if you don’t have cable in your apartment? If you have even just one streaming account of your own, consider that a success.

2. You have a job, no matter what it is

You may not have your dream job yet. It’s okay to be a temp worker, a cashier, a bartender, or whatever else you need to do in the meantime. The fact that you’re dedicated enough to do something hard says a lot about you.

3. You still keep in touch with your friends

Hey, it’s not as easy staying friends when you can’t walk right across campus into each other’s dorms. If you’re still keeping in touch for once-a-month dinners, you’re doing better than you thought.

4. You have actual silverware

If you own plates, bowls, knives and the whole shebang instead of improvising like in college, this is a good sign.

5. Even if you don’t have your own place, you’re working on it

There’s no shame in living at home after graduation. You can save money and take time to actually apartment shop instead of signing the lease on the first crappy studio you can find. If you’re at least working on saving the money and figuring out independence, you should be proud.

6. You have goals

It’s okay not to be in your dream job, as long as you know what you want to do. Taking steps, even small ones, to get to that point is just as important.

7. You drink socially sometimes

In college, drinking was all about who could take the most shots in ten minutes. Now that you’re an adult, you probably sip wine at happy hour with your friends or coworkers, and that’s just as great.

8. You paid some bills

Even if you don’t have your own place, you probably still have at least one bill, like a credit card, your phone or your dreaded student loans. Be proud of making payments consistently on time–it’ll be great for your credit score.

9. You aren’t worried your car is going to fall apart if it hits a pothole

In college, chances are, your car was a death trap and you were never sure if the check engine light was on for a reason, or just permanently broken. It’s fine if you don’t own a brand new car–who wants that kind of monthly payment, anyway? As long as you aren’t terrified your car will break down every time you hit a pothole, you’re doing better than you think.

10. You don’t have a job, but you’re applying your skills

This is for those of us who have applied to what seems like every job in a 50 mile radius and still aren’t getting anywhere. Maybe you’re applying those skills by volunteering somewhere, doing an extra post-grad internship or helping out a friend. As long as you’re trying, you should be proud.

11. You make your own appointments

Or avoid going to the doctor’s for six months at a time because you don’t want to make the appointments. Either way…

12. You know how to feed yourself

And it doesn’t involved late night runs to Chipotle or dollar store mac n’cheese.

13. You get enough sleep… or at least try

In college, we were all up until four in the morning for days on end during finals. Now that you’re an adult and you have work, or applying for jobs, or job interviews, or doctor’s appointments, you at least try to get eight hours a night. Sometimes it actually happens.

14. You’re still keeping up with your hobbies

You may not have as much time as you did before, but you find at least a few hours every week to go running, read a book, work on your painting, do some knitting, or whatever other hobbies you care about.

15. Your family has stopped asking what you’ll do after college

Your family can’t ask you about your post-grad plans at every holiday party anymore, because even if you’re not in your dream job, you’re doing enough that they can clearly see your goals. No explanation necessary.

16. You only eat ramen if you want to

And when you do, it’s the fancy kind from a local restaurant with eggs and real meat in it.

17. Other people ask you for advice

Who cares if that advice is, “What show should I binge-watch next?”

18. Your professors are telling current students about you

And maybe they even ask you for advice too! If you’ve ever been asked for your contact information for current students in need of career advice, you’re doing better than you thought.

19. You’re qualified for jobs in your field

Even if it feels like every job application requires 10+ years experience for an entry level position, plus the ability to do cardiac surgery with your eyes closed upside down, you actually do have qualifications for jobs in your field. You just need someone to trust in your abilities, because you know you can knock it out of the park once they do.

Alaina Leary is an award-winning editor and journalist. She is currently the communications manager of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books and the senior editor of Equally Wed Magazine. Her work has been published in New York Times, Washington Post, Healthline, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Boston Globe Magazine, and more. In 2017, she was awarded a Bookbuilders of Boston scholarship for her dedication to amplifying marginalized voices and advocating for an equitable publishing and media industry. Alaina lives in Boston with her wife and their two cats.
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