After the novelty of college graduation (and all the great gifts that came with it) wore off, I spent a year crying myself to sleep. And I’m not exaggerating. While being done with school after 16 years was pretty liberating, not knowing what was coming next scared the sh*t out of me. And the fact that no one ever warned me how difficult being an adult would be made things a whole lot harder.
I went through a lot that first year – looking for a job, moving to a new city, ending a long relationship, and learning how to care for myself, to name a few – all by myself and now feel that I have the experience and knowledge to advise others on the transition. Because it’s a hard one and every college grad should know that they are not alone. Come back every week for another nugget of information to help you survive in the big, bad world.
The hardest part of graduating college is not the fact that your friends are now spread all over the country. It is not the fact that you can no longer party 6 nights a week with $1 pitchers. It isn’t even the whole “getting a job” thing (even now).
The hardest part is having no freaking clue how to do anything.
How do you find an apartment? What do you look for? How much can you afford to spend? Should you move to a city to find a job, or find a job then move to that city? Where do you meet people? What kind of health insurance do you need? Wait, some jobs don’t offer health insurance? OMG – what is health insurance?!
It’s all scary and overwhelming and makes you want to pack your bags, head back to campus and spend the next 60 years eating Ramen in front of the TV. But don’t fret just yet. There are some really good resources out there to help you survive the most difficult transition of your life. (Seriously, junior high to high school was nothing like this!)
The best one: Grads Take Charge: Your First Year After College.
Having this book around when I graduated would have saved a lot of heartache, tissues, and Oreo Cakesters. I’m not kidding. This post-graduation bible is written by tons of people who have been in your shoes before and offer real information and real advice for dealing with all the hard stuff that comes your way. And, trust me, hard stuff is coming your way.
Not only does it answer all the questions that you are inevitably going to have (like, “What the hell is a 401K?”), but it also answers all the questions you never even thought to ask (like, “Is there a washer and dryer in this building or do I have to walk 6 blocks to wash my undies?”). It is also chock full of advice and tips from people who traveled this rocky road in the past and know what you are going through.
Think of this book as your GPS on the long and confusing road that is the year after graduation. Only without the annoying sultry lady voice interrupting your favorite jams on the radio.
I look back at my first year after college and still get chills down my spine. It was a tough one, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have sought out a therapist (or ended up in an apartment with no closets) if I’d had a book like this around. If you get ANYTHING for graduation this year, I am telling you, it needs to be this book. And a comfy mattress. That is the best advice I can give you.
[Come back every week for more tips and advice for the real world. If you have any questions or topics you’d like addressed, email [email protected]!]