Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

4 Tips That Make Adult Life Easier to Navigate

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UH chapter.

Being an adult is tough and no one knows that better than a college student; you still feel like a kid, but the world bears down on you like you’re a grown up. It sucks, but it’s inevitable. 

However, here are some tips that make adult life suck a little less. I hope this helps you become the responsible adult that you are meant to be! 

1. Don’t take no for an answer in regards to getting fees waived. 

You will, inevitably, screw something up as a grown up that will cause fines to be incurred. Whether this be overdraft fees, cancellation fees, or otherwise– this will happen. First of all, it’s okay– everyone makes mistakes! Second of all, don’t admit defeat. The trick is finding out how to get those fines waived. If you’re dealing with a company or (God forbid) the government and you’re trying to get someone to help you, don’t take no for an answer if they say they cannot waive the fees. Here’s a secret: a company can always waive a fee. Why? Because it’s the company that is charging you, they can just as easily choose not to charge you. The secret is resilience. If the person you are speaking to says they can’t waive it, insist on speaking to their supervisor– if the supervisor can’t help you, ask to be transferred up to someone who can. VERY IMPORTANT: DO NOT LOSE YOUR TEMPER!!!! You want someone to help you? Be as kind and as sweet as you possibly can be. Appeal to the person’s better nature, be a paragon of gratefulness for the aid they have already provided. Even if the person you have spoken to hasn’t helped you at all, thank them anyway! Make them feel important so that they consider you important in turn. Also, use every sob story you have in your arsenal! For me, it’s usually that I am a college student here on scholarship from a low-income family and every payment I have to make causes financial strain on myself and my family. Nothing gets people more sympathetic than knowing that you’re a debt-ridden, pathetic pseudo-adult in need of serious assistance! Getting a little teary can help too….sometimes you just can’t help the waterworks. Stay patient, stubborn, and be as polite as possible. WARNING: Sometimes, companies will take note of fees they waive so if you do get a fee waived, do your best not to incur a fine with that company again. Learn and grow from your mistakes!  

2. Do your own taxes using TurboTax. 

Listen, you and I both know you’re broke as all heck so you can’t pay anyone to do your taxes nor do you know how to do your own and you really don’t have time to learn right now. The solution? TurboTax. It’s free to file your taxes through TurboTax and it’s super easy. Also, remember that you don’t have to file your taxes if you didn’t make over $10,000 the last tax year, but that maybe you should because students tend to get a higher refund from the government. Don’t forget to file your 1098-T!!! 

3. In dealing with the government, prepare to settle in. 

If you have to interact with the government for anything at all (but particularly for welfare), make sure to set aside a whole day to do this and wake up at the buttcrack of dawn so that you have ample time to navigate the bureaucracy. Making the call right as the office opens is super important because, on any given day, there are hundreds of others trying to call the exact same agency you are trying to call. To beat out your competitors, call early and be resilient. You’ll be on hold for a long time, so prepare for it: keep yourself occupied with something else while the horrendous sound of hold music plays in your room. Before you make the call, keep a few essentials on hand– the document/information on the program you are calling about, your health card if it’s an insurance related call, sometimes your driver’s license/social security, a letter you’ve been sent regarding the issue, etc. Don’t make the person you are calling wait while you dig through your stuff, that’ll be annoying for them as well as you. Know what questions you want to ask as well; it helps to write down the questions so you don’t forget. If you aren’t receiving the help you need, don’t become frustrated– ask to be transferred up to someone who can help. Government and corporate bureaucracies are convoluted and ridiculous, it’s easy to lose your patience but don’t. Same principle as tip one: the nicer and more pleasant you are, the more your attendant will want to help you– be firm, but kind always. Know what you are talking about; do research on the benefit you want or the issue you need help with so that if you are receiving advice that you know won’t work, you can ask for other avenues to solve the problem. Additionally, make sure to thoroughly check the website of the agency for answers just in case you can find the solution without having to suffer through the consequences of calling a government/corporate entity. 

4. Healthcare. 

No, you can’t just die if you catch something– who’s gonna take your exams for you? Healthcare is expensive and irritating, but (and as much as I hate this) it’s necessary. It would be great if the USA could get on the same free healthcare kick as Canada and Europe, but I digress. Private healthcare is purchased at the healthcare marketplace and you shouldn’t just buy the cheapest program, you should check to see how high the deductible is. The higher the deductible, the more wary you should be of the program. You can stay on your parents’ health insurance until 26 and you should!!! Stay on your parents’ programs for all types of insurance for as long as you can. However, even if your parents are the primary of the health insurance program, after you turn 18 the responsibility of making calls and taking care of your affairs falls largely on you. Because of privacy rights, your parents can’t handle certain issues and it’s important that you keep up the maintenance for those particular subjects. You can also choose how much you want to delegate to your parents– most insurance providers have a form that you and your parents can fill out and send to them which gives your parents greater access to your account. 

I know adult life can seem unpredictable and scary, but you’re doing fine and you will continue to do fine.

We all think that, to some degree, our life is falling apart but the truth is that the world is more forgiving than we give it credit for. A few small tips can go a long way in familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of being a functional adult.

(Cover Image

Ariz is the Managing Director and a Campus Correspondent at HerCampus at the University of Houston. She is a candidate for a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science on the Pre-Law track. In her free time, she likes to catch up on sleep, listen to Supreme Court arguments, and rewatch Game of Thrones and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.