Few changes in your lifestyle are as drastic as those you undergo after you graduate from college. If you’ve already got a career-track job lined up, then you might go almost overnight from a relatively carefree life of parties, sleeping in and studying for tests to a rigid schedule of 40-hour work weeks and plenty more responsibility. This can be a little overwhelming, but there are steps you can take to adjust from the student life to that of your new career.
Give Yourself Time
No matter how busy you were in college, adjusting to the working life can be exhausting. There’s something about those eight-hour (or longer) days, five days a week, that somehow take it out of you in a way that your classes and activities and even having a part-time job did not. On top of that, it’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed with your responsibilities at work. These are all normal reactions, and although it may be hard to believe it, you will get used to it. Of course, it’s possible that you ultimately will decide you dislike your job and want to move to a different company or another line of work, but allow yourself a year or so to adjust to the working life before you make any drastic decisions.
Manage Your Money
If you are like most students, you took out student loans that you promised to repay after graduation. That probably seemed a long time away, and now you’re getting bills in the mail. It’s important to stay on top of your student loan payments and any other financial obligations you have as well. Apps can help you figure out where your money is going and make a budget.
One good practice to start now is having a portion of your pay automatically transferred into a savings account. This is often referred to as paying yourself first and helps you save money without having to think about it. Be sure to make contributions to your retirement plan at work and stay on top of your other bills as well. It’s important to build a good credit score for purchasing a home and taking out other loans in the future.
One of the hardest things about going from college to the working world is that you no longer have a built-in social life. Rather than being surrounded by hundreds or even thousands of people your age and at the same stage in life, you might suddenly find yourself working with people you have little in common with. Even the coworkers you get along with may have their own families and busy lives.
A sense of isolation can be especially pronounced if you’ve moved to a new city. For perhaps the first time in your life, you’ll need to be proactive about your social life. This can mean looking for hobby groups to join, volunteering or finding another way to start connecting to communities. You may not fall into friendships as quickly and easily as you did in college, but you will build a new social circle eventually.