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Adulting 101

Graduating college is a huge life step, and one that, if you had any doubt before this point, surely makes you an adult. So, what is it that adults do that make them different from the kids that you may have just finished being? Here are a few ideas that might help you answer that question:

Talk to strangers

Sounds kind of funny, but it is important that you are able to talk to people in any situation. This is an important tool for the workplace, as well as the day to day navigation of life. Many people you meet will be strangers, future landlords or employers, bank tellers, bus drivers, etc. You spent your youth being told not to talk to strangers, but now it is an important life skill to do so.

Solve your own problems

You may not always be the cause to the problems that arise in your adult life, however we need to be sure that you are the solution. Having a support system definitely helps, but adults are expected to be able to solve their own problems. Having money set aside for financial difficulties, or being emotionally prepared for some of the hardships of adult life will go along way to help you tackle your problems.

Branch out from Ramen

College students are always on a time crunch, it is something that we all go through. School occupies so much of our lives that few of us find time to earn a decent amount of money. Most college students resort to cheap and quick ways to feed themselves. Proper nutrition is important, and as an adult, money won’t be so scarce, you’ll be able to afford more than Ramen. Buy a cookbook, or use Pinterest (it’s not just for women), and find some recipes that you will enjoy making. Many people find cooking a great way to relax, and there is little more satisfying than eating a meal that you took a little time out of your day to prepare.

Manage assignments and meet deadlines

Most college students got a fair amount of practice with this during school. This is a good habit to be in as you enter the workforce. You will continue to have deadlines placed upon you and meeting those deadlines is an important way to keep a job and rise higher in your new career.

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Photo credit: Jian Bautista

Successfully navigate life using risk management

As hard as our educational path has been, for most of us it has been pretty well laid out before us, and all we had to do was walk the line to get to graduation. The world outside of school does not have this structure, and will require us to decide our own paths. This will involve risky choices, and knowing that sometimes those choices will be wrong. The silver lining is there are so many possibilities and so many ways to find your path. Writing down plans and goals can make things more manageable.

Understand money

Where does your money come from? Where does it go? Keeping track of your spending to make sure there is always enough to meet your bills and provide you with some left over for your own enjoyment takes effort, but is well worth it. Find ways to buy only those things that you truly feel like you need, and save the rest. Having a savings account that you never touch in case of an emergency will be something that will be there to help you during some of the down times of adult life.

Purchase your own insurance

Car, house, or health. We all need to have insurance. Finding and choosing the insurance that fits you is your choice entirely. Compare different insurances before making your choice to find the option that best fits your needs.

Establishing good credit

Good credit is what is used to help secure loans from a bank to help make a downpayment on a house or to buy a car. Establishing good credit can be a tricky thing, as it often requires the use of a credit card, and many cards are hard to get without good credit already established (many banks offer college cards to students without a credit history). The key to establishing good credit is to make large purchases on credit and then be sure to pay it off each month. The sooner the better. To make sure that you’re creating good credit, save up money for those big purchases you want to make. Make the purchase using a card, then pay it off with your saved up money.

There are many other ways to establish good credit, and paying off your student loans promptly is one of them.

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Becoming an adult is not as glamorous as it once seemed to us when we were children. It is filled with lots of responsibility, but these are coupled with lots of opportunity to be exactly what we want to be.

Written by Casey Peterson

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