College is the limbo between childhood and adulthood. The moment you toss that graduation cap in the air after leaving Iowa City, it’s either grad school or the adult world.
While it would be cool to live like a child in adulthood, it’s up to you to fend for yourself. You get a job, start making money, maybe rent a house, maybe buy a new car (or subway pass); you are officially on your own.
We always talk about how the school doesn’t teach you many basic life lessons. Here are some tips for you to learn to make adulting easier, and you can call your ma and tell her you made it.
Professional emails are a thing. Professors and employers have the right to ignore your emails if they aren’t addressed in a professional platform. Starts with a subject, like “question” or “comment” anything you want to an inquiry about. Start with a greeting not like “Sup Prof David.” Professors will sometimes let you know if they would rather be addressed by their first name. “Professor (insert last name)” works. Always use full words and proper grammar. The tool Grammarly can help you with that. End emails with a “Thanks” or “Hope to hear back” and your name. Bonus points if you set up a professional email signature.
Clubwear and professional wear don’t have a lot in common, so what you’re wearing to the bars on the weekend might not fit in the workplace, depending on the dress code. Make sure your skirts are an appropriate length; no awkward bra/underwear lines showing, and your shoes are clean. When in doubt, toss a blazer on.
First, you start with your W2, which you get from your employer. Figure out what form you need here. You can either have a tax accountant help you file or use a software that will do it for you, such as Turbotax or H&R Block. You can either e-file or paper file and send it off to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). You can file federal and state taxes. It’s tedious, but that refund check is amazing and so worth it.
If you have a car, there’s a sticker on the upper left-hand side of the windshield that has a date and a number and below that another date and another number. That is an oil change reminder which is usually every three months or 3,000-5,000 miles you drive depending on your car. The actual oil change is hard. There are tutorials online, but personally, I would leave it to a professional.
Jumpstart a car
I’m Bad Luck Amy, and I’m advising you, please carry jumper cables in your car AT ALL TIMES. Car batteries die, whether you leave your lights on, or your battery expires, there will be a time you need to jumpstart a car. You can have a starter kit in your car, but they’re pretty heavy and bulky, or find someone with a good car battery in order to jumpstart your car. Read this to learn the step by step and get familiar with your car.
Renting and signing a lease
It’s that time when students are figuring out where they are living next year, and this is kind of the first adulting thing we do in college. Check the listing on Google if you want, but remember to schedule a viewing of the apartment. It’s like buying a car without a test drive, and you wouldn’t do that, would you? When it comes to signing the lease, read it through carefully. Find out what utilities you have to pay for, what comes to the apartment/house, what you can and cannot do while living there. Also, be ready to put a big chunk of money down. But hey, it’s better than the dorms.
Changing a car tire
So you got a flat tire. Luckily most cars today come with a jack and wrench and a spare tire. Your jack and wrench are most likely hidden somewhere in your car (mine is on the side of my car in the back in a hidden compartment). Check your car manual to see where it is and find where your spare tire is and grab it out. Open up your car kit and read the rest of this to learn the step by step.
Pumping your tires.
Every gas station has an air pump station, and some car repair stores will check your air pressure for free. Carry an air pressure gauge in your car and know how much pressure you need in your tires (in your car manual), so you don’t over-inflate/ under-inflate your tires. Most gauges at gas stations are inaccurate. Read this to know the step by step.
Organizing your fridge
Prevent meat juices from dripping onto your produce by learning how to organize your fridge. You should know that the door is the warmest part of the fridge and for stuff that doesn’t spoil easily like condiments and juice. No eggs and dairy for the door. This chart will help you determine where everything else should go.
Life is hard but it doesn’t have to be so hard. Life is like fine wine, it gets better with age and remember that learning doesn’t stop once you graduate.
Adult Hard, Adult Often. HCXO