Confessions of a College Grad: 9 Things You Should NOT Do After College
The transition from college to adulthood can be confusing, frustrating, and outright scary! After four years of college, you have mastered the art of balancing academics with your social life. However, now you’re entering into the “real world” where the rules of life are a little different: more responsibilities, new environments, and new people! While you’re finding your way around post-college life, here are a few habits you should dispose of to make your entrance into adult life as seamless as possible.
- Keep five different email accounts. This will cause you more trouble than it’s worth. Prior to my college days, I had been using my fabulous “Supergrl” Yahoo account for everything. Then I got my more professional Umich.edu email, another personal gmail account, and now am getting a new email account for grad school, and it’s overwhelming!. As exciting as it is to get something new (in this case the new email addresses), I have frequently lost track of important emails. For instance, I may have registered a personal email on Ebay to sell my college textbooks, and then forgot to check the email account for months and lost customers who had ordered my books. Don’t make such a rookie mistake. Simple solution: forward all of your emails to one email account and just stick with that!
- Wear sweats for “casual” Friday. In college, it’s okay to wear those comfortable pants to class, to the library, to Noodles, or wherever. It’s a staple piece of clothing in most collegiettes’ closets, so there’s no judgment on you or harm to your personal image. College students, are busy and have better things to do than figure out their perfect wardrobe for those 8 AM classes. However, once you leave the bubble of college, personal presentation matters more. At your internship, job, or volunteer work, you need to look professional at all times. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be comfortable, but you will have to find an acceptable substitute for the baggy, cotton sweats. Don’t fret though, you don’t need to sever all ties with these wonderfully comfy pants. Save them for your weekends when you’re inside your own home.
- Eat ramen or easy mac as a regular dinner entree. Parting ways with those miraculously easy-to-make dinners sounds crazy right? It’s tough to fight old habits of your college days when dinner was a five minute endeavor. However, these meals are not the best in nutritional content…or taste, let’s be honest. You should venture out of your comfort zone and try to cook an actual meal. If the kitchen is not your best friend, try cooking simpler meals like panini sandwiches, pastas, or salads. You don’t need to be Emeril Lagassi or Rachael Ray to cook a decent dinner. But, the sooner you dump those college junk food options, the sooner you’ll feel more energized and start losing those extra college pounds!
- Hoard your life. So, I don’t know about you, but I am a very sentimental person. I want to save every movie ticket, handwritten note, birthday card, course paper I liked, and everything! However, after college when you move from different cities, states, or countries, carrying this hoarded stash of memories is tough. It is so difficult to transfer these objects because 1) they accumulate quickly and are heavy to move and 2) they take up space that could be used more efficiently. Thus, go through your stuff and get rid of the unnecessary junk that may not have any use to you anymore. This is so difficult for us sentimental folks, but the truth is that we always retain those memories with or without material objects. If you have anxiety about throwing away all of your memorandums, create a scrapbook out of your favorites or dump it all in storage. Trust me, it will make your life a lot easier.
- Post those classy weekend party pictures. We loved seeing those pictures of you and your girls at the bars having a good time…in a possibly not so sober state. However, post college publicizing these pictures is more dangerous: 1. Because more and more employers check out your social media and 2. it gets old really fast, to see people in their late 20s to 30s posting those photos of getting “crunk” at the local bars. Keep those photos on your laptop for your own personal nostalgia and amusement, but keep it classy and start filtering what photos are publicly posted.
- Participate in social media drama. Some people post antagonistic statuses and comments on social media. The automatic urge is to retort back, but resist. These games are so high school. If someone has a problem with you or vice versa, talk it out privately through text, phone, or the best method – in person. Yes, we love seeing those crazy tweets from celebs like Amanda Bynes, Lindsey Lohan, and Miley, but do you really want a rep as the social media queen bee? It’s not worth it. Deal with your problems in person or over the phone, and not online where things are more public and permanently accessible.
- Let the stench of dirty clothing fill your room. I am ashamed to say that in college, I got away with doing my laundry a lot less frequently. As you leave college, it’s not even a matter of being an adult, it’s just a matter of maintaining good hygiene! Just be clean. Or else, you may carry that unwashed clothing stench with you to work. So, if you get some weird stares or dirty looks at work…maybe this could be a problem. Easy fix: do your laundry regularly!
- Be nocturnal in your sleeping habits. Unless you’re working the nightshift, staying up late is unnecessary. This sleeping schedule will rapidly turn you into a walking zombie. Trust me, I am the epitome of a night owl; my peak hours are 10 PM – 4 AM. However, showing up at the hospital for my 7 AM shift and proceeding to work for the next 8 hours straight is brutal. In college, it was acceptable to pull those semi- or all-nighters because you’d only be in class for a few hours. In the workplace, you don’t have that luxury. P.S. downing several cups of coffee may help, but it’s sickening and doesn’t kick in fast enough for those first few hours of work. I have been taking baby steps to sleep a little earlier than my usual AM hours, and if I can do it, you can too.
- Constantly talk about your college days. This last one is easier said than done. We loved (and continue to love) U of M. You know the motto, “Those who leave Michigan, but for whom Michigan never leaves”? Yeah it really doesn’t. Us Wolverines leave this wonderful campus still obsessed even after undergrad. However, don’t drown in past memories too often. Make new memories. We’ll always bleed Maize and Blue, but open your mind and heart to new experiences to add to your memory book.
Though entering your new adult life can be stressful, realize that many of us are going through the same thing! As a University of Michigan collegiette, the skills you’ve developed as a successful college student will help you work through the road blocks of the “real world.” The most important thing to remember is to humor yourself and enjoy the ride.