Adulting 101 for College Students

What does it mean to be an adult? To make the journey easier for you, I’ve compiled the best Adulting 101 tips that provide college students with key life skills and applicable advice to ensure a stress-free transition into adulthood.

1. Intentional Friendships

Graduation is often followed by a period of loneliness. People that you used to see every day at school are now spread-out all over the country or all the world in pursuit of their dreams. As an adult, you will slowly come to realize that keeping your friendships alive and well requires a lot more effort than you are used to. This is due to proximity, increasing responsibilities and a decrease in free time. Although it might seem like a burden sometimes to go out of your way to see an old friend, I encourage you to still do it. Adulting is much easier when you’re riding the wave with your friends. So make the effort, and be intentional about maintaining your friendships. 

2. Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds You

We spend more time with the people we work with than with our families. As a result, it isn’t that uncommon to either bring your work home with you, or to make your home at work. I know having an office bff makes your job more enjoyable, or getting along well with your boss is a luxury; but I strongly recommend that you keep these two areas of your life separate. I know, it’s 2021 and that line is blurry. But make no mistake, that line still exists. And inviting your CEO to come party with your drinking buddies will not end well, believe me. Keep in mind that nothing lasts forever. And when that friendship (or work hookup) ends, you’re either gonna have to be professional about it or one of you will have to change jobs. 

3. Socializing Does Make a Difference

As an adult, you will become very greedy with your free time because you will have less of it. Going to a networking event or to a friend of a friend’s book launch party might seem like a waste of time. Admit it, you don’t want to waste your Saturday night on small talk with people you don’t know. Now George Carlin couldn’t have said it best himself:

“What are you going to read People’s Magazine and eat at Wendy’s till the end of time?”

Take a chance will you? You’re never too young or too old to expand your social circle. Not only will you be exposed to different professions, ideas, skills and knowledge; but more importantly, you will open yourself to new opportunities. You don’t know, what you don’t know. So make sure you’re in the know. You know?  

4. You Never Walk Alone

The transition into adulthood can be scary. Renting your first one-bedroom apartment, breaking up with your high school sweetheart or losing your job can be overwhelming. Unlike in college or uni, there is no adulting syllabus. However, when the challenges that come before you appear larger than life; always remember that thousands on other people went through the exact same thing. When in doubt, google it. When you feel lonely, reach out. The key is in taking action – I promise you, there is always a way out.  

5. Time to Yourself

On the the other hand, you also need to invest in your relationship with yourself. Whether you are in a couple, married, with children, never forget that you are an individual. You are allowed to have interest, passions, hobbies that are yours and yours alone. If your boyfriend is not into chick flicks, go watch the movie solo. Enjoy your company, enjoy your own interests and what makes you unique. 

6. Maintenance Fee

Hanging out with friends, going on dates or having lunch with colleagues at work can result in a pretty noticeable dent in your wallet. Try to come up with some inexpensive activities once in a while to give your bank account a rest. I personally love hosting game nights at my place, or organizing a potluck picnic in the park. This tip might not seem like much, but your bank account will thank me for it later.  

7. Desperation Doesn’t Look Good on Anyone

I know that making friends or meeting the love of your life gets harder as an adult. The whole “next step” speech that pressures us to link a specific age to a common milestone like having kids by 30 doesn’t help either. The stress is real but actively hunting and searching for relationships can backfire when desperation gets the front row seat. When we feel that time is ticking, said desperation clouds our mind by throwing our standards and sometimes even our values through the window. Don’t make the mistake of settling for ok at 21 when you could have wonderful at 38. The great things in life are unplanned, unexpected and they tend to knock us off our feet. So focus on being happy, on being confident, kind and honest; and the rest will follow.

8. Your Parents are Awesome

I feel like we gain a different level of admiration for our parents when we are adults ourselves. Every sacrifice they made for the family, every kind gesture or financial support they’ve ever given you carries so much more meaning and importance now. If you take anything out of this blog post, please let it be this point. Spend more time with your parents and get to know them as equals. They have done great things and they still have a lot to teach you. 

9. The Company Won’t Die Without You

If you’re not a director, a CEO or the actual owner of a company – don’t bring your work home with you. Don’t answer calls during the weekend; 99.9% of the time it’s something that could have waited till Monday anyway. A huge disadvantage that comes with everyone having smartphones is that we are always expected to answer. I’m here to drill in the message that you don’t have to pick up – at Easter dinner – with your family – in the middle of a toast. Set boundaries and respect them.

10. Healthy Time Apart

Sleeping over at your parent’s house for a weekend without your boyfriend, or going camping for 2-3 nights with your brothers without bringing your wife along are examples of activities that can actually strengthen a couple. Spending some time apart once in a while make you miss each other, make you appreciate each others’ company more and gives you more things to talk about. So don’t be afraid of spending some time with your girlfriends!