Post-graduation life seems scary, but here’s some tips to make it easy

Matthew Wallace | Staff Writer

Congratulations! You’ve successfully braved the wild that is undergraduate life at Washington University. From learning how to order at each food station on campus, to planning how to run out of meal points, Bear Bucks, and notebooks by your last final, you have come a long LONG way for today. As you transition into the professional world, there are some tips I wanted to share with you from my own experience of stepping out of the Wash.U. bubble.

Treat your budget like planning classes

Budgeting out of college can seem like an impossible mountain to climb. What percentage of your net income should go towards rent? How often do you go out with friends? Do I maximize my retirement contributions now or wait a few years when I get a raise? All important questions for ensuring a good start to your post college life. To keep a balanced budget while not sacrificing the things you love, treat your budget like planning your classes. Have your long term goal (degree) and the steps needed in each area (math/writing/humanities requirements) to make your plan a success.

Find your hobbies

While in college, it is difficult to balance a full course load while also exploring new areas and activities that you could fall in love with. After school is the perfect time to try the million clubs you signed up for but never had the time to participate in fully. Make a garden, get into Bob Ross painting, actually take up running, whatever tickles your fancy, go try it. Not only will it help fill your new found free time, you’ll also find out who you are outside of books and studying.

Don’t let Netflix be your best friend

Finding friends in school is easy. The proximity to other people with similar goals and interests makes establishing connections simple and organic. But after graduation, finding those situations to make friends becomes much more difficult. Getting out and about in your new city will get you in contact with more people doing the things you love. New hobbies, volunteer organizations, amateur sports leagues, or whatever your taste, finding new people will keep you from having Netflix ask if you want to keep watching every night.

Treat yo’ self

With great power comes great responsibility. When you get that real career paycheck, and after you’ve budgeted responsibly, don’t be afraid to splurge a little on the real MVP in your life. Take a spa day, eat at a restaurant with a dress code, or get box seats to a game. Enjoy yourself every now and again to remind yourself that there is no reason you can’t treat yo’ self when you deserve it.

Dress for the job you want

So now that you’ve taken your first step into your career, have got a nice retirement plan underway, and are the picture of a young professional, don’t get complacent. Keep moving towards the goal you set for yourself, and be open to every chance to show your skills. Letting your supervisors know you’re open and willing to take on more responsibilities will get your name out and help advance your career. Don’t be shy, be confident in your skills and it will take you far.
When your first came to college, it was terrifying. Now you may have that same feeling as you leave the place you’ve called home for the last few years. Don’t fret, you have all the skills and knowledge you need to give you a solid foundation into being a productive member of society. Have fun, don’t take everything too seriously, and remember that getting through Wash.U. has prepared you for anything that life will throw your way.