Whether you raced through college in search of adulthood and steady paychecks, or you’re still holding on to the glory years, walking across the stage and stepping into the real world can be quite the transition. Even if you recently graduated and still hear the familiar sounds of your university’s band at the homecoming game, long gone are the days of live house parties, football games and all-night study sessions. Here are a few habits to leave behind so that your adult years are just as—if not more—enjoyable and lucrative.
Being barely on time: Transitioning from college life to “real life” means waving goodbye to the days of rolling out of bed with just enough time to make it to class, even it if means getting up at 3 p.m. to make it to a 3:30 class (We’ve all been there). While your body may be used to late nights and afternoon naps, that kind of schedule isn’t going to work when you’re expected to arrive at work at 8 a.m. Get organized and stick to a routine that will help you adjust to your new life.
Dressing casually: With the exception of the first few days of class, rolling up to lectures in comfy sweats or jeans pretty much became the norm. However, now that you’re a part of the working society, you have to look the part if you want to be seen as a professional. Save the lounge wear for the weekend and invest in a business-appropriate wardrobe to wear through the week.
Making salary negotiation and money management an afterthought: As part of the college experience, some of us may have experienced being the broke student, and while that may have been the norm for some—and treacherous for others—as soon as you land a job, responsibilities will have to be prioritized. This means learning how to negotiate your salary, taking into account your quality of living and budgeting your income for bills, savings, and student loans.
Neglecting work-life balance: Just because your days are no longer consumed with hiking around campus, meeting up with friends or deciding which party to attend, that doesn’t mean that your social life has to suffer. However, in the working world, unlike in college, fun isn’t necessarily waiting for you around the corner. You may have to step outside of the box to meet new people and make your own fun. Not having to dedicate your nights and weekends to homework will give you more time to pick up a new hobby, participate in an organization or pledge in a grad chapter. Instead of viewing life post-grad as the end of the road, see it as the beginning of a new adventure.
What are some of the career lessons you learned post-graduation? #SoundOff and follow me on Twitter @JayNHarrison.