Eight Keys to Killing It in Life After College
Today’s post comes from the desk of Jordan Shirkman by way of internet courier owl.
The adjustment to adulthood can be tricky. Unfortunately, we can forget to put on our big boy pants in our attempts to cling to the college life with a kung-fu grip. To really grow up and make your life count, here are a few key moves you need to make to become a real, card-carrying, adult member of society. These are eight things you need to take care of quickly to make the most of your life post-college.
Get on a budget. I’m a serious advocate for the under-appreciated and oft-discriminated-against budget. You’ll be making more money than you ever have in your entire life, and over the course of a decade, you’ll likely have $500K+ slip through your fingers. And slip through it will if you don’t have a plan for how to give, save and spend your money.
Pay your own bills. There’s a time for mooching off of your parents family plan for your cell phone and there’s a time for getting your own bills with your own name on them. Once you have a diploma and a job locked down, get everything put into your own name. You need to be responsible for paying your own bills.
Pay off debt and don’t acquire more. This first trio of tips goes together like peanut butter and jelly (and more peanut butter). Debt will eat away at your best wealth-building tool: your income. Don’t go finance a new car, pick up a mortgage with no down payment or finance living room furniture from Crate & Barrel. You’ll be strapped before you’ve even started to make cash. Put as much towards your student loans as possible, because paying them off into your 30s is a nightmare.
Stay in contact. Depending on where you land after college, there’s a good chance you’ll be moving to a new city and (hopefully) making new compadres. Don’t forget about the people who helped get you where you are today, especially because they’ll gladly give you a hand in the future you when you lose a job, move again, or just need some insight. Set up a time to chat with your closest friends, professors and family members on a fairly regular basis to keep them in the loop.
Don’t live in the past. Some people will take connecting with college friends to the extreme. If all you ever do is talk to family and old friends, you won’t make any new ones.
Do what you love. Too many people settle for jobs they hate in hopes of “putting in there time” and one day making the leap to a career they actually want to have. We spend the majority of our lives at work, and if you’re doing something that’s sucking the life out of you, you won’t even be able to make a leap to a new career after too long because you’re energy tank is going to be bone dry. If you can’t navigate to a career you’re crazy about right away, start small by joining groups, finding volunteer opportunities and other community events to do things you love, and hopefully transition into a job you’re passionate about in addition to do things you love in your free time.
Give back. The thing about having a tight fist around your money, time, and resources is that nothing new can get in as you hold on for dear life. You can make a huge impact by giving to worthy causes, and giving your time is just as important. It’s not either give your time or your money, it’s both.
Find a mentor. You likely wont’ be surrounded by dozens of professors waiting for you to come and pick their brains during office hours, and the smartest people you (currently) know are probably scattered all around the rest of the country. Find a person you respect or admire in your new locale, talk with them once a month over coffee, and just pepper them with questions. Don’t expect them to to guide you; ask good questions and then shut your mouth and listen.
What did Jordan miss? What are your biggest keys to adjusting to life after college? Sound off in the comments or incite a riot on The Bro Journey Facebook.
Editor’s Note: Today’s wisdom is extra awesome and extra applicable to your life (IF you’ve graduated college. If not, take notes and come back in a few years.). I’ve known Jordan for about four years now and I keep getting blown away by how sharp and spot on he is. Ever since our days at Copeland Hall to our now long-distance bro-hood Jordan is one of those dudes I can always count on to shoot me straight and be epicly awesome on his blog. Take heed of his advice and share it with that guy / gal you know “taking it easy” during their Victory Lap and waiting to head back to Mom and Dad’s once graduation hits.