College was a time in your life to dedicate to having fun and being careless. Once you graduate, though, it’s time to enter adulthood and start living a responsible life on your own.
Graduating college is a major accomplishment, and once you graduate, you need to put your partying past behind you and start taking more responsible steps. Here are five things you need to do after you graduate college to smoothly transition into the real world.
- Get a real job.
While you may have sufficed working part time while in college, working part time while out of college will not create an easy way to pay your bills. Instead, start putting your resume out there and apply for jobs that interest you. If your school has a job placement program, talk with someone in the department about the options you may have through the program. This can help you find an entry-level job easier than going at it on your own. Make sure that your resume doesn’t contain any spelling errors, and avoid common resume mistakes before you send out your resume to potential employers.
- Determine where you’re going to live.
If you lived in the dorms or rented a college apartment, you will soon find yourself in need of a place to crash. Figure out if you are going to rent an apartment or house on your own, or if you are going to move back in with mom and dad until you get on your feet financially. Note that if you are looking to take a job in another town or state, you will be better off waiting to rent until you land your first full-time job. The last thing you want to do is sign a year-long lease and then realize you’ve been offered a job far away.
- Think about your educational future.
If you have just graduated with your bachelor’s or associate’s degree, you’ll want to think about your educational future after graduation. For example, if you want to get your master’s or your doctorate, you’ll want to enroll shortly after earning your undergraduate degree. Since you’re already accustomed to being a student, achieving this goal right away can be easier on you. Once you’ve started a full-time job, you may not have the time (or the same drive) to go back to school once you’ve left.
- Start paying your student loans.
If you have taken out student loans to pay for college, now is the time to start paying them back. Contact your loan provider to find out how much your payments will be, when they’re due, and how you need to pay them (online, mail in, etc.). Remember that your student loans affect your credit score, so not paying them can ruin your credit for up to seven years, which could put a major damper on any desire to purchase a car or buy a home.
- Become financially responsible.
You are now an adult, which means you need to start being financially responsible for yourself. Learn how to create a budget, and start investing in your future through a 401k or investment savings plan. The more you do for your finances now, the more comfortable you’ll be later in life.