1. Nobody actually expects you to act like an adult for a while. It’s not like a switch flips and suddenly you have to be a “grown-up” at all times. It doesn’t mean life gets boring or starts looking like your parents’ — not by a long shot. Take solace in the fact that you can still act childlike without being childish.
2. You will not understand the gravity of the debt you incurred at 18 until you see your minimum monthly payment in comparison to what you are making.
3. You life doesn’t actually end after college, despite what’s always implied. Regardless of how much fun it was (or wasn’t), if college was the absolute best four years of your life, you’re doing the rest of your life wrong.
4. So your life won’t end — but a lot of your friendships will. Not by choice, but rather because as your life is busy not ending, you’ll get wrapped up in your daily #grind and it will become less and less convenient to regularly keep up with people who were only acquaintances anyway.
5. But you’ll never be too surprised by who you stay close with and who you don’t.
6. Your Facebook feed being filled with engagement status updates isn’t the worst part of everybody getting married. The worst part comes with having to dish out hours of time and hundreds of dollars and a lot of crafting skills to be part of the wedding party, or at least even attend.
7. You’ll realize a desk job has some sense of prestige but ultimately is not the most desirable thing in the world. You can be much happier doing other things…
8. …And you can make money doing other things. A 9-5 is not the only route to a salary, contrary what you’ve (largely) been taught. Those of you strolling down the path less taken can attest to this fact. I can rattle off a list of people I know personally as well as entrepreneurs and fellow writers and such who I admire that figured this out as well, if you’re in need of inspirational references.
9. If you are a young Corporate American however, you’ll realize that being the youngest — or one of the youngest — people in the office leaves you in a perpetual state of feeling slightly inadequate until they hire someone younger. (And then you feel #old and it’s all downhill from there.)
10. All aspects pertaining to the technicalities of dating (having your own apartment, dating someone with a job and salary) become unimaginably better — but you’re going to have to put effort into meeting someone, as the weekly kegger won’t cut it anymore. Good luck and god bless.
11. Your paper deadlines were nothing in comparison to your work deadlines. You’ll sit and wonder about some of the people you went to school with and how they, y’know, function.
12. Chances are you made yourself more stressed than you had to be in school. Aside from your coursework (which, you know, is up for debate) you were more or less playing pretend in a little mini-world and the extent of that truth is never as clear to you as it is right after leaving it.
13. You’ll spend a good amount of time thinking how “weird” it is that people are still in school, and you can’t even imagine what living in a dorm again would be like. But then you’ll wake up one Saturday morning to a roommate eating Nutella by the spoonful in their underwear and be like, oh, right. Apartments are like dorms without curfews.
14. There are a lot of cities in the world, and you’ll probably end up at one you’ve never heard of. Don’t rule any of them out, and don’t scoff at them just because they aren’t the city closest to your hometown/you’ve affiliated yourself with by some stretch of the imagination, as college people like to do. You’ll be biting your tongue one day.
15. It’s not scary, and we have to stop talking about it as though we’re children ill-prepared for simply living with marginal responsibility. Yeah, you have to learn to file taxes (or hire someone who can) and you have to pay your electric bill. You have to finance and cook and sleep and do well at your job. But these things are not scary, they’re just course of survival and existence, and the sooner you accept them as such, the sooner you get yourself out from under the weight of feeling inadequate. Welcome to the rest of your life.