This one goes out to all the graduating seniors. I know you’re probably in total denial that graduation is in just a few months, but hang in there! Graduating is a good thing (promise).
The first year after graduation will be a whole new world for you. You’ll learn a lot, make a lot of mistakes, and grow tremendously each day. To soften the transition a little, I wanted to impart the 10 most important things I learned in that first year after college. Here we go…
1. You’ll party (almost) as much as in college
Please believe me when I say the partying doesn’t stop after your graduate college. If you go into PR, advertising or marketing, there will no doubt be happy hours, holiday parties, just-because parties and networking events.
Advice: Learn how to party responsibly. You don’t want to be that guy at the holiday party. Trust me…more on that later (maybe).
2. Everything is really, really exciting, all the time
When you start out, everything is exciting. You come home to tell your roommates about what big client you got to work with today or how many hits you got in ONE DAY. It’s fun! And you should enjoy it.
Advice: Celebrate the small victories. Take a moment to take it all in and tell yourself, “Good job, buddy.” When you stop celebrating, you lose the joy and the fun.
3. You’ll feel like student loans own your soul (but they don’t have to)
It’s going to be okay. No really, it will. While you’ll be tempted to ignore them and go about your life in happy denial, don’t. You’ll be happier if you pay them.
Advice: When your first payment rolls around do the following- 1) Find out if you can consolidate your loans to lower your interest rate (it won’t be much, but it adds up). 2) Choose a payment plan that works for you (you’ll likely have several options, from flat rate to escalating with income) 3) Pay more per month if you can (this will help keep interest down).
4. Going out will feel like a chore
You’re working 40+ hours a week. Your clients call you on weekends to talk about a problem or an idea–that first year will be exhausting. And while it’s tempting to just put on sweatpants and watch Walking Dead episodes all weekend, force yourself to be social.
Advice: Keep up “appearances” with friends and family. Go to birthday parties and dinners (regardless of how broke you feel). I can’t stress this enough. You will be happy that you put in the effort to keep these people in your life.
5. Payday will be your favorite day EVER
It’s going to feel awesome when you finally get those full-time paychecks. It’s probably more money than you’ve ever made before (outside of getting that student loan installment each semester).
Advice: Don’t go spending it all at once. Try to put a good chunk of your money away each month. It may not seem like it now, but having a savings is truly important. Shit happens, and sometimes it costs a lot. Be smart and put some of that cash money away for rainy day.
6. Sleep? What is sleep?
Because you’re a dedicated, hard-working individual, there are going to be some long nights. There may even be a few days there where you feel like you’re barely sleeping.
Advice: Resist the urge to work all-nighters. If you find that you are working, consistently, until the wee hours of dawn, talk to your supervisor about how to manage your workload better. That’s what they are there for. Your health is the most important asset. You aren’t at your best when you’re not fully rested, anyway.
7. You’ll do something “adult” and feel proud
Whether it’s buying a car, paying off a chunk of your student loans, or just simply filing taxes, you’ll have this moment when you stop and go, “Woah. I totally just did that on my own.” That moment is the best. Seriously. Because, think about, that’s what you went to college for, to gain the knowledge you need to live a successful life as a functioning adult. Right?
Advice: Don’t be afraid of growing older. With age comes wisdom (and usually a higher paycheck!). College may be over, but you’ve got a lot of great experiences ahead of you. So go forth, graduating seniors, and conquer the world, one day at a time.