10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Graduated College

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Now that your undergraduate days are over, it’s time to step out into the big, bad world of adulthood. Jobs! Money! Real Men Who Don’t Smell Like Stale Beer and Frat Houses! But before you slip on your grown up panties and make them dollars, there are some things you should probably know about navigating the rough waters of the real world. After all, every situation is less scary when you’re prepared, so consider these 10 tidbits of wisdom our graduation gift to you (because we can’t afford to get you anything else).

1. There’s No Shame In Living At Home: The economy sucks, and if you can tolerate your family members, you’ll be saving a lot of loot in the long run. Before Noah built the Ark, um…he probably lived in his mom’s basement for a while.

2. Hold Onto Your Starbucks Job While You Job Hunt: Ain’t no shame in making grande lattes. There’s a lot to be learned by hanging onto a side job. This will keep you busy, motivated and you’ll have some spending cash that doesn’t come from mom and dad. It’s called independence. Besides, finding a job may take longer than you hoped.

3. Say Goodbye To Spring Break and Summer Vacation: Most jobs won’t give you the luxury of regular breaks. You’ll have to pick and choose carefully which vacation days you want to take. It’s called PTO and it will own you.

4. It Can Take 60 Resumés To Land One Interview: Yes, you’re talented and bright and eager, but so are the other hundreds of thousands of people who graduated at the same time as you who are all looking for jobs just like the ones you applied for. If you don’t get an interview right away, it’s not your fault. Patience, young grasshopper.

5. Don’t Compare Yourself To Your Friends With Different Majors: Different strokes for different folks, you guys. Someone who’s in another field may start out making double what you’re making, but their hours, bosses and quality of life are completely different than yours. Respect the fact that you entered your field for a reason, so don’t shame or envy your friends in other fields. You do you.

6. Take A Few Weeks Off After Graduation Just To “Be”: Enjoy the feeling of putting finals, professors, lectures and all-nighters behind you. You deserve a break to enjoy the feeling of being done. Go on vacation, spend time with friends, sleep in: do whatever you won’t be able to do once you have a full-time job.

7. Put All Monetary Graduation Gifts Into An Emergency Fund: Life happens. Be ready for it. You’ll probably get a bunch of checks for graduation, and as lovely as that Louis Vuitton bag might look on your arm, it won’t look as nice if you’re still job hunting 6 months from now and have no dough.

8. You Still Need Your Parents To Co-Sign For You: Whether you’re going to buy a car, rent an apartment or what have you, you’ll probably still need a parent to back you up, legally. You haven’t had a chance to establish credit yet, so until you can do that, don’t sever ties with mom and dad. You still— and will always— need them…for many reasons.

9. It’s Not That Scary, But It’s Not Barrels Of Fun: Being a grown-up is cool and all, but it comes with a LOT of responsibility. Bills and deadlines are commonplace, and that whole “work hard, play hard” Instagram post you shared on Thirsty Thursday now has actual meaning. It’s awesome to finally have the ability to make your mark on the world, but it takes a lot of time, effort and ugly crying faces to have the freedom and luxuries of an adult.

10. If You Hate Your First Job, Don’t Make Enemies — Learn From It & Search For A New One: Everybody has to start somewhere, even if it means fetching coffee for the most heinous bitch in the world who makes you cry everyday on your lunch break. The best thing you can do is YOUR JOB, taking note of what you like and dislike. In the meantime, look elsewhere. Nobody wants to be the low man on the totem pole, but if you do your basic, crappy, low-salaried job with dignity, you will be respected, and that’s worth its weight in gold.

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