Life After College

Life After CollegeNow that I’ve been out of college and in the “work world” for over a year, I felt it would be good to create a post along the lines of surviving life after college (after all, this blog is about more than running 🙂 ). I met up with two friends from college after work yesterday and one of the main topics of conversation was how to adjust to major changes in life, like graduating from college and transitioning into that first full time job.

I fortunately had a full time job all lined up before I actually graduated.  It wasn’t my dream job, but it was something that I knew would get me started and pay the bills. (I remember the feeling of utter relief and happiness that came with finishing school!).

But now real life happens.  You have to work 40+ hours a week and pay bills (yuck!).  And before you know it, those student loan payments start creeping up.  I remember the feeling of excitement when I got that first full-time paycheck…it was so much money! And then came the feeling of disappointment when I had to pay for…life.

I know that everybody’s situation is different, but we all experience many of the same emotions that come with major life transitions.  For me, I have my husband to help and support me and I do the same for him.  We have each other and stick together for better or worse.  It’s not always easy, but we’re in it together and that makes it worth while to me.

So below is a list of five survival tips that have helped me make the transition into the real world:

1. Create a budget and stick with it.

Creating a budget will help you see where you’re spending and receiving money.  Being intentional with your money is a good habit to start right away.  It won’t be easy at first, but once you get used to assigning where your money goes it will make spending and saving easier in the long run.

2. Make personal goals for yourself.

Making goals for yourself will keep you motivated (remember, you won’t have papers to write and deadlines for homework, so you will have that extra time to start a hobby, take a class, or do some kind of recreational activity).  Goals like paying of your student loan in 2 years, running a marathon, or starting a blog will give you that self satisfaction because you are accomplishing something outside of work.

3. Spend time with your family and friends. 

If you’re living on your own it can get really lonely, so don’t lock yourself up.  Remember, your parents have most likely struggled with this transition too.  They can relate.  Your friends are also going through the transition and you can talk to them about different ways to deal. 🙂

4. Make healthy choices. 

Eating and living a healthy lifestyle is good for you, period. You don’t have that lovely college cafeteria food anymore, so now’s the time to get creative and try new recipes.  Pinterest is a great resource for this!  (We’re eating things I never even thought I would try recipes with, like tofu and quinoa! Grocery shopping has become one of my favorite activities 🙂 ). So try some healthy recipes, it’s fun (and cheaper than eating out)!

5. Plan for the unexpected.

Life throws curve balls.  Unexpected expenses come up like car problems, medical bills, pay cuts, etc. So work on building that emergency fund.  But, remember that not all curve balls are bad. Things like job promotions, surprise proposals, and pay raises can also get thrown in the game of life.

There ya go! Some tips that have helped me out thus far. Transitions are rough, but remember…things will be okay!

What has helped you with major life transitions?  Any “Life After College” advice worth sharing?

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