Graduation can be bittersweet. You’re finally done with school, but now adulting hits hard. You have a full-time job, bills to pay and it seems like your social life dwindles down to nothing. Graduation comes and suddenly everyone around you seems to have their life together. If you want to start fresh after graduation and begin your whole new chapter ready then keep ready below. Getting your life organized before graduation can help make your life after graduation a lot easier. Follow these tips!
1. Figure Out What Are Your Goals
Figuring out your goals needs to happen first. You can’t begin a new chapter after graduation without having an idea of what you want to do and achieve. Jot down a list of what your goals are for after graduation. It can be a simple goal like “save half my paychecks” or “get together with my friends once a month for dinner”. Some goals may be more specific to you like, “backpack across Europe before beginning a new job”.
If you are motivated by your goals then you are more likely to achieve them. Make sure you don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself either. Setting unreachable goals right after graduation will only hurt your ambition to create new, achievable goals.
2. Prioritize, Prioritize & Prioritize
You need to have a career focus after graduation. What do you want to be doing for the rest of your life? Where do you want to live? How can I achieve my goals? Chances are that you won’t have your dream job right out of college, but it’s a good idea to at least be going in that direction.
You can have a whole list of goals, or a long list of “to do’s” for the day, but if you don’t prioritize what’s most important within those then you may lose focus on your greatest matter. Which items on your lists will benefit you the most in the long run. For example, paying your bills versus having dinner with friends, dinner with friends sounds more appealing, but you need to make sure your money is being prioritized to your bills first.
Make sure what your prioritizing will help you down the line and leave you happy. When choosing your career, don’t be afraid to try new things, but also don’t say yes to a job only because of the money. You spend a lot of your life at work so you want to make sure you’ll be happy doing it.
3. Choosing A Location
Deciding where you want to live can be stressful. Putting money down on a place and also time can be a big decision. Some students don’t want to go home after college and some don’t have the chance too, so when choosing a location on where to live next it can seem mindboggling. Do you want to live in a city, a suburb or a small town?
The location also plays a role in job opportunities. How much can you afford for rent each month and also extra amenities like laundry, electric, etc.? Deciding to live in Chicago is going to be more expensive than Madison, but you also may be paid more in Chicago. There is a lot to figure out when deciding on location so it is important to research your options.
Also, don’t forget to take into account if you need to buy furniture, or rent a moving truck. These are all extra expenses that can add up quick! For your first few years it’s never a bad idea to find a roommate, or live together with a friend! It can save costs and keep you company!
Tying in with the other tips is budget. Most likely, after graduation, you won’t have too much money saved so its important to budget how much you can be spending each month. If you have loans or are in debt then its a good idea to create a financial plan. For your first few years, you may need to budget and save money.
If you’re easily persuaded to eat out, then try learning new recipes and meal prep to save some money. Prioritization comes back because you need to prioritize what you really need, not want. Your bank account will thank you if you create a budget plan. There are many websites now that will even help you create your own.
Try to think if that Starbucks drink is really worth it, or the manicure. Small purchases don’t seem like a lot, but they do add up!
5. Reality Check
After graduation it may seem like things will all fall in place, but that’s not always the case. Most likely you’re not going to have your dream job or making the most money. You need to work your way up the ladder, so don’t be discouraged at the first job you take. If you stay motivated you will succeed, but you do need to start somewhere.
Living at home may seem like the worst possible thing, but living rent-free can be a blessing. Living at home saves a lot of money and it allows you to have your family support close by. If you know you won’t survive living on your own, then don’t go broke and live at home for a year or two.
6. It’s Your Life
Don’t forget this is your life. Once graduation is over, you need to do what’s best for you! Don’t follow your friends and you don’t always need to listen to your parents. Chose a career that fits you, find a location you want to be and don’t forget to prioritize yourself. If you know you’ll be happy then that’s all that matters. You have a world full of opportunities so don’t be afraid to go explore them!