Tips for Transitioning from College - Welcome to the Real World, Ladies!

Preparation is key to succeeding in anything you want to do. If you are nearing the end of college and getting ready to make your debut in ‘real life,’ it would behoove you to give this transition some serious thought before you are thrust out into the world.

The more you plan and the more you educate yourself, the better off you will be! Sure, mistakes will be made and experience is ultimately the best teacher, but you can certainly take steps to minimize the bad decisions while maximizing the good ones.  

It's not like you want to be the star of the next "Into the Wild"! Here are just a few tips to help you out.

Who are You and What Do You Want?

At this age, you may have no idea about either and that’s okay… for most people, that is. This decade of life will bring about more changes in you and realizations than all the others combined!

Don’t worry about trying to figure out the rest of your life at this moment. Focus on what you want and who you are now. This will aid you greatly in your job search. 

  • It will make the process less confusing. 
  • You will have a clearer focus when searching. 
  • You will have an easier time weighing offers from different companies.
  • Ultimately, you will have greater confidence in deciding which job to take.

If you aren’t sure about your passions yet, don’t panic. Just focus on what things are important to you in a job, such as flexibility, greater autonomy or the ability to indulge the creative part of your brain. This will help you find a better match and will likely give you some satisfaction, regardless of the industry.

Don’t worry about finding the job that will carry you to retirement. While you naturally want to give some thought to your future plans and long-term goals, it is okay to just focus on now, for now.

Being Financially Smart

While some people’s debt troubles begin while they are still in school, most of us don’t get into financial hot water until after we leave college. We get a bit too excited about that paycheck and start spending beyond our means.

You’ll have a much easier time getting credit cards now that you have a ‘real person’ job. However, getting out of control with them is, unfortunately, easier than you think.

Before you even leave college, start getting your financial ducks in a row. Sock away as much as you can—learn how to get top dollar for college books that you will no longer need.

Save as much as possible from your part-time job while looking for employment. Assess all the debt you have now. Find out when student loan repayments kick back in and how much your payment will be.

Learn how to make a realistic budget; educate yourself about investing and retirement accounts. The more you know about them, and the advantages of starting as early as possible, the easier it will be to divert some of your funds to these accounts rather than spending the money now on things that are not really necessary.

Making a Commitment to Your Well-Being

While college certainly had its stresses, it is a pretty sweet time of life filled with parties and other fun stuff. Once you leave, you may be in for a rude awakening - your stress levels may sky rocket.

You will find yourself with less free time. It is then easy to let your health fall by the wayside. After all, being busy with work and coming home exhausted at the end of the day is a perfect excuse to order pizza three nights a week or zone out in front of the TV for three hours instead of exercising.

That's why you should make a commitment to your well-being. Learn how to manage your time more effectively so you can fit in the stuff that is important.

The habits you develop now after leaving college can set the stage for your habits years down the road. You don’t have to be perfect and you can always tweak things along the way. But the deeper you fall into bad habits now, the harder it will be to change down the line.

Make stress management a priority in your life. There is no one best way - find whatever works for you!

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