After the elation of having a diploma in hand, many (former) college students are left with the question, “What now?” Suddenly you’re thrust into the “real world,” and you’re left to make important choices about money, where to live and how to find the right job. The trick is that the things that kept you afloat in your college environment are the same skills you need for making the transition from college to work.
Organize Your New Life
The planner you used throughout your college career can also be your lifeline outside of school. And, if you didn’t use a Passion Planner in college, now is a good a time as any to get started. You might have thought college was busy, but between a new job, possibly a strange city, making new friends and keeping up with old ones, you might find you need to schedule time to do laundry or prep food for the week. Use your planner to write these things down so they don’t get pushed aside. Use the monthly and weekly layouts to set up a daily routine for yourself.
Get a Job
Now that you hold the degree you so coveted to make yourself appealing to employers, it’s time to get a job. Post-graduation jobs don’t have to be your dream employment or your end goal. In fact, if you land a job that isn’t your number one ambition, write your goals in the Passion Roadmap and list objectives to help you reach that vision. Gaps in employment history are not impressive to potential employers, so it’s key to start working and try to save some cash.
Be Smart With Your Money
Speaking of money, your post-graduation career plans might want to include thinking about paying off student loans, budgeting monthly expenses or retirement plans. That’s right, as soon as you start working, you should think about what you need when it’s time to stop working. Not everyone has a career path that might include luxuries like a 401K or health insurance; for example, if you work as an independent contractor, the burden of contributing to those accounts is entirely on you, so you might want to sit down with a financial advisor or a friend or relative with some experience to help you navigate the situation. Also, don’t blow that first paycheck from your new job all at once; U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed the “50-30-20” budgeting idea where you spend 50 percent of your income (after taxes) on necessities like rent and groceries, 30 percent on the “fun” stuff like going out with friends or taking a vacation, and 20 percent is left to either save or put towards college loans or paying off other debt.
Establish a Self-Care Routine
You might think making the transition from college to work life is overwhelming, but the truth is, the “real world” you might be so scared of really isn’t all that different from college. You’re still you—you might struggle with getting along with a coworker or get stressed out with a workload, so think about how you handled similar situations in college. Did you have a workout routine or bedtime habits to help you relax and reset? Schedule these things in your planner. If you don’t already have self-care practices in place, find some to try.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Here’s another reality about the mysterious, intimidating “real world”—it doesn’t have to be all work and mundane tasks. You might think that once you’re handed that diploma, the fun is over and it’s time to get serious. That’s partly true, because you do have to be responsible for your livelihood, but you don’t have to succumb to work and no play. If you find a job in a city you’ve never lived, then go out and explore it. Check out events, go to restaurants or museums, or invite friends and family to visit.
Cara Batema is a freelance writer and musician based in Los Angeles. She likes to write about the arts and psychology.