Graduating from college is one of the most exciting times of your life. You worked hard for at least four years to earn a degree, and you can finally breathe a sigh of relief when essays, exams and presentations are things of your past.
I’ve been an alumna for three months, and reality hit me when I finally held my diploma for the first time. I had forgotten that on the other side of college comes the “real world.” Transitioning from college to career is a difficult process. Many things are different, but as long as you acquire these four grown-up habits, you will begin to feel at ease.
1. Create a routine
In college, no two days are exactly the same. You might eat breakfast for dinner or stay awake to watch the sunrise with your friends. In the working world, creating a daily routine keeps you organized. Designate time in your schedule for work and chores. Routines help you stay on track and finish what needs to get done now, so you have more time for fun later.
Also, don’t forget to pencil in plenty of time to relax in the evening (or morning if you’re an early bird!) to reset for the next busy day ahead of you.
In college, it seemed like Netflix was always on and naps were very frequent. In the working world, many adults enjoy exercising. Just as a little relaxation is important, exercise is necessary to de-stress and motivate. It’s scientifically backed that being active for a short period of time can actually give you 12 hours of improved mood—something that is especially important once you start your career.
In college, you may have only read books that were assigned by your professors. In the real world, you should read any chance you get. Before graduating, you relied on your professors to guide and prepare you for your future. After you leave the classroom, it’s up to you to take the initiative to read articles, blog posts and books to keep up with the latest trends in your field.
4. Maintain friendships
In college, seeing a friend is as easy as walking across the dorm hall. After graduation, maintaining a friendship could mean driving across the state. Even if you’re busy, take five minutes out of your day to call and catch up with your friends. Busy schedules are temporary, friendships are for life.
What changed for you after graduating college? Which new habits did you form to make transitioning to the “real world” easier?