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How to Cope with the Real World Transition After Graduation


Sometimes the world just shits on ya.

I’m still trying to figure out if it’s because I don’t really know what I’m doing, or if it’s some type of weird, hazing initiation type thing into what I like to call the R.W.A.C. (Real World Adult Club).

For some people, leaving college is one of the best moments of their lives. For others it just isn’t. My experience was the latter. I absolutely loved my college experience. Everything about it was what I needed it to be — academically and socially. I know others aren’t this lucky and the farewell to their respective institutions is smooth sailing…I cried like a baby, and it wasn’t a cute, nostalgic glistening tears kind of cry. It was a four-year-old without her favorite blankie at a sleepover, snot included.

No matter if two months after graduation you find the job of your dreams or are still sleeping in your cozy little twin bed under your parents’ roof, life is going to get harder. It. Is. Inevitable.

BUT this doesn’t mean it can’t get better! Here are a few things to remember when the going gets tough right out of college.

1. Just because your parents will do everything for you, it doesn’t mean they have to.

I have a kind of unique take on this first one. I had a more independent upbringing than most, and right now even though it is really hard still, I am better off than a lot of my friends who never had to just figure it out. I’m not saying sell your soul and take a mortgage out at 19 (but if you can, that’s awesome you’re one step ahead of me) but try doing your taxes alone and lining up your own repayment plans for student loans. It’ll give you more confidence with dealing with the not-so-fun parts of the adult life.

2. Always have a plan B (I don’t mean the pill, but you can have that too I guess).
We’re really told this our whole lives but it’s just super awesome to have one when you have real responsibilities. This really goes for every aspect of your life. Have another way to work and a secret stash of cash you promise yourself you won’t spend on booze; you’ll thank yourself on that rainy day. I’m telling you this because I, in fact, did not have the secret stash or another way to work on my rainy day.

3. Now should probably be the time we stop treating our bodies like shit.
I graduated about four months ago and I’ve still had a handful of really irresponsible nights. I’m not saying we can’t have fun anymore…I know I still have a lot of life left in me. But normally the habits we keep in our twenties will just roll over into our thirties (yikes, scary number). We just need to work a little harder to stay fabulous and show the lil’ hussies younger than us we still got it!

4. It’s okay to say you’re unhappy.
It isn’t realistic to think everything is going to go perfectly for the rest of your life. When we’re not content it is just our inner self’s way of getting us to redirect and refocus on what we want out of our lives. Don’t be afraid to say “I’m not as happy as I could be right now, and I am trying to figure out why.” It’s a really mature way to approach your happiness.

5. Have fun, more than once in a while.
I didn’t mean to scare any soon-to-be grads about the real world. There are actually some really badass things about being an adult too. Weekends as a young adult are awesome and NOT filled with thinking about doing your homework, and then not doing it. Even though there are more bills you also have more financial freedom and with a little discipline and budgeting you can do things and go places you never thought you could when you were younger. Even though we’re getting older, we can stay young at heart (but don’t get me wrong we’re still young).

[Lead image via altanaka/Shutterstock]

Becca is a college senior studying English lit, French, and marketing in Naperville, Illinois. She loves a warm cup of tea and a great book, and a puppy wouldn't hurt either. She hopes to one day work in the publishing industry.