10 things I learned from graduating, moving to a new city, and starting a new job

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1. Emotions are normal. It’s okay to be homesick even if you haven’t lived at home in years. It’s okay to have a mini breakdown from time to time, like in the bathroom on your first day of training. It’s okay to call your parents just to say hi. And it’s okay to facetime your college roommate during your lunch break.

2. When looking for an apartment, it’s important to make a list of things you’ll need to accomplish. Including, checking how far away public transportation is, asking if there’s a club on your block that will be loud at night, testing the water pressure in the shower, asking if the windows come with shades, counting the outlets, and checking where the cable jack is.

3. Command strips are a girl’s best friend. And I don’t say this to be sexist. I can honestly say that it’s easier to hang 26 pictures in a gallery wall with command strips than it is to drill 26 holes in the wall. Your landlord will agree.

4. Budgeting can be fun if you use a cute font. And it’s actually really helpful to track how much you spend on coffee and clothing each month. While it isn’t fun to cut back, it’s much better to see your savings grow than to realize you’re bankrupt.

5. Credit cards are really helpful if used correctly (hello cash back perks), but they can kill your funds and your credit score if abused.  Credit is not the same as cash, and interest accumulates much faster than a plastic card newbie may expect. Even small loans can accrue about 5 meals worth of interest in one month

6. You’re expected to know how things work without actually learning about them, like all of this knowledge about how to adult just appears in your mind as you receive your diploma. Do some research on things like health insurance, retirement accounts, reimbursement accounts, tax forms, and how to find an apartment before graduation.

7. Putting a blazer over a dress that you wore to a house party in college does not count as business attire. People won’t take you seriously if you don’t dress the part. You can still look great while looking professional, find pieces that fit right, not tight.

8. A lot of people turn down free money. If your employer agrees to match a certain percentage of your 401k contributions, you better be taking full advantage of it. Set it and forget it before you get used to seeing it in your checking account. Also, if your company reimburses you for transportation expenses, fitness costs, or your cell phone bill, be on top of submitting the claims. Again, who wants to turn down free money!?

9. Ask for what you want. No one is going to hand you a silver platter, you have to work hard and make yourself heard. It’s okay to ask for things as long as you prepare and prove you deserve it.

10. You’re doing just fine. No matter how stressful it is to make life decisions, work in a job where your career is literally on the line, pay your bills, maintain your social life, and stay healthy, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be and everyone else is in the same boat. Even if they look put together on the outside.

Photo via Unslash

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