All weekend I watched graduation photos fill up my feeds and felt this joy watching the beginning of so many people’s stories. Graduation is a time to begin a new chapter in an epic journey. And one of the most difficult ones.
Having graduated early myself, I was thrust into the world of taxes and renter’s insurance before many of my peers. It’s an intimidating time in the life of a young adult. There’s too much information in too many different mediums. It’s a trial and error basis to get it right. This can lead to mistakes in credit scores, apartment rentals, and other adult processes that will bite you in the bum later in life.
So, as your self-appointed young adult graduate (who has been navigating adulthood for 3 years), I thought I would make a little “Adulthood Starter Kit” to share what I think are the first foundations of every graduate’s new chapter.
The Adulthood Starter Kit
A Bomb Resume
You’re about to give out your resume like it’s children and candy. Even if you have a job lined up, the changes you’ll stay at that job for more than a few years is slim. Have a resume that looks amazing, totally sells you, and is tailored to the position you’re applying for. Keep it updated and when you’re sick of your job, it won’t take much effort to apply for a new one.
Four Meals to Cook
Yes, you need to know how to cook more than just pasta. These four meals are all you need to stay within your grocery budget and not get super tired of eating lasagna every night. If you’re adventurous in the kitchen, I believe you’ll be fine. If you’re not, having one solid breakfast option, a pasta option, a salad option, and a protein-based option (like beef and broccoli) will keep you fed until you make a higher salary for takeout.
A Basic Understanding of Credit, Loans, and Bills
TOO MANY KIDS DO NOT UNDERSTAND MONEY. There, I said it. It’s not taught in schools and it’s not Parenting 101 to teach your kids when they’re 22. This is something you usually figure out when it’s too late. Take the time now to understand credit, your credit score, and how to build credit. Loans are a big deal, do not treat them like free money. And your bills – when the power goes out you’ll understand why you need to budget and pay them on time. Be ahead of the curve in taking the time now so when you buy a house you’re not SOL.
Two Professional Outfits
I had one interview outfit when I went on my first job interview and I’m pretty sure they could tell it was thrown together from my “Rarely Touched” drawer. By having two outfits that work for any sort of professional setting – be it an interview or networking event – you don’t need to worry if something is clean or if it will be appropriate. Being prepared is the first step to adulthood, and your clothing represents a lot of that to an employer.
A Credit Card with Rewards You’ll Use
I know, I know. I talked about credit and now I’m here getting you into credit card debt. But I’m not. I have 4 credit cards and have never made a late payment. Ever. Even when I’ve been super strapped for cash. It’s because I use credit cards for what they were originally meant for – emergencies. But at the same time, getting a card with rewards you will use (no, I do not need a thousand restaurant points if I rarely eat out) means getting more out of your spending. One of my credit cards gives me cash back on groceries and gas, so obviously I pay with a credit card at Trader Joe’s and Chevron. It’s worth it to me. Choosing a credit card is like choosing a life partner – choose wisely and reap the benefits, but choose bad and suddenly they’ve ruined your entire life.
A Stress Reliever
Being in college you think you know your stress reliever of choice. You don’t. In college I turned to TV and Barefoot wine when I was stressed out. In the real world, food and facials get me through the long weeks. Your life is changing and so are you. Find something that brings you peace and it will be a lot easier adjusting to the whole new life you’re living!
Congratulations on your exciting new chapter! I know you’re going to kill it, and now you have the tools to do so. Go forth and be incredible!