How To Transition From College To A Full-Time Job

7 Ways To Survive The Transition From College To A Full-Time Job

You're about to move into the next stage of your life, and it's a huge change. Don't panic.


You've spent your entire life as a full-time student, and you're finally graduating. You might not fully realize it yet, but you're not just going from one grade to the next anymore. Now it's time to enter the real world: no more long Summer breaks, no more guaranteed interaction with all your friends on a daily basis, and no more college-town-bubble to live in.

These tips will not only make the shocking transition a little easier, but they'll also help set you up for a comfortable, healthy, and happy adult life for the next few decades.

1. Work hard in your full-time job, but don't let it take over your life

Many companies expect entry-level workers to work extra and long hours, constantly volunteer themselves, and be available 24/7. College grads often have very few responsibilities (like spouses or children), so they're the perfect prey to being overworked.

If your manager has an expectation that you are willing to devote your entire life to your job simply because it's your first full-time job and you have to prove yourself, you need to set clear work-life boundaries. Don't turn into Anne Hathaway in "The Devil Wears Prada." You're more than your work.

No matter how low down the ladder you are, you're still a person and you deserve a life entirely separate from your job.

And don't worry that you're not doing enough. You don't need to attend every single after-work event or participate in every company initiative in order to build a strong network.

Here's an extra tip: if you expect to work over 40 hours a week due to the demands of your position, make sure there is overtime pay offered.

2. Stay creative with passion projects

After college, a lot of people tend to stop engaging their mind with creativity or problem-solving. When you're no longer a student, there's no more mandatory music, art, English, math or science class — yay! — but that also means you might stop learning for the sake of itself, and that's not good for your brain or happiness. This is your time to use that young, active mind and work on projects you are really passionate about. Whatever it is that gets you in your flow state, keep doing it!

3. Make an effort to do meaningful things on weekday evenings

Don't fall into the trap of spending every night crashed on the couch binge watching Netflix or scrolling through social media. Yes, work will be tiring and you deserve to relax. But if you let yourself do this day after day, years will pass you by before you know it.

Working full-time means your free time is limited, and that means you need to actively carve out time for things that matter. This includes quality time with others, self-care, community service or activism, whatever you find fulfilling. You should always have at least one or two medium or long-term goals or activities to do outside of work.

4. Join a fitness center that's somewhere between your work and home

Now that you don't have that free on-campus gym anymore, you should start looking to join one. Ideally, find one that is either close to home or work, so you can easily stop by on your commute in the mornings or evenings.

A gym is a great place to build a community of people you see regularly other than coworkers. Maybe you'll meet others who share your love for yoga, Crossfit, rock climbing, kickboxing...the point is that you have a healthy hobby that makes you new friends too!

5. Learn how to cook

Uber Eats is expensive. Start with the basics: pasta, rice, oatmeal, soup, vegetable stir-fry, etc.

6. Make friends with people your age

Unfortunately, making friends after college takes a bit more effort, but it's necessary, especially if you've moved to a new city for work.

Besides the gym, there's plenty of ways to meet people nearby. If you're moving into an apartment, find a roommate or two, and get to know them and their friends. Spend effort building friendships with your coworkers (especially ones around your own age). Go to local events like concerts and flea markets. Join community clubs or organizations. There are even apps like Bumble BFF for making friends!

7. Make an honest effort to keep in touch with your friends from college

No, I'm not talking about every single friend. I mean the ones you want to take with you into your 30s, and maybe even 40s. The ones you want at your wedding. You know, I'm talking about those classic "Friends" and "How I Met Your Mother" college-to-adulthood friendships. Do your best to keep those alive. Post-college life is frightening and unknown, but you'll survive with your best friends at your side.

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12 Dorm Room 'Essentials' That Are Actually A Waste Of Money

If three years of college has taught me anything, it's that I wasted a lot of money and space on things for my dorm room that I never used.


Now approaching my senior year of college, there are so many things that I have experienced in my three years away that I either look back at and smile just at the thought of or immediately regret. With a younger sister going into her freshman year of college, I hope to teach her as much of those lessons I learned in advance so she doesn't make the same mistakes as me. One of the most important things I learned after moving in and out of dorm rooms and apartments for three years is what should and shouldn't come with you to school. Because, let's be real, as much as we want to pack away our entire lives and fit them in our minuscule dorm room, not everything is necessary.

However, knowledge is power, and I don't want to just save my sister from making those mistakes. That's why I'm here to share the 12 things that aren't necessary for you to bring to school:

1. A Keurig/coffee maker

While living in an apartment and having all the space in a kitchen for a coffee maker and the time to make my own hot drinks, having a Keurig was a godsend. But I'm going to be completely honest, as someone who wanted a Keurig so badly before freshman year...I rarely used it when I lived in the dorms. Between having meal points to buy my own coffee and just never having the time or energy to make it in the morning and then clean the dishes afterward, it just wasn't worth the waste of money and space.

2. A giant television

You may see pictures of dorm rooms and see students with giant televisions along their window or squished onto their desks. But unless you're living in a larger apartment, having a huge flat screen TV has no purpose for a small dorm room. There are TV's usually all over campus, especially in the common rooms that are free for you to use. If you really do feel like you need a TV in your dorm, a smaller one will suffice, because anything larger is going to take up some much-needed room.

3. Any type of hot plate/mini grill, etc.

Besides the fact that these are banned in most dormitories anyways, it's not smart to sneak one of these into your rooms. I can't tell you how many people I know that have accidentally started a fire in the dorm room from using a toaster they snuck in or a special "grilled cheese grill." The dining halls will have everything you could possibly want and need, and most dorm rooms come with a mini fridge and microwave to supplement anything further.

4. Candles

I'll admit, I am guilty of using these my sophomore year of college. Do I regret the millions of times I freaked out because I almost lit my dorm room on fire? Absolutely.

It's not worth it. Your RA will probably catch you, it's not worth the risk of accidentally setting your shoebox-sized dorm on fire, and the smoke detectors in those rooms are so sensitive that you're bound to set them off.

5. A printer

Unless you're living off campus in an apartment, there really is no reason to have a printer in your dorm room. There are tons of printers throughout the different buildings of every university, and most allot a certain amount of sheets for you to do your printing. Printers are big and clunky, hard to store, and the ink is very expensive. Don't consider buying one unless you plan on moving off campus.

6. An iron and ironing board

Take it from someone who absolutely hates wearing wrinkly clothes, the whole iron and ironing board duo was not a smart move my freshman year. It took up way too much room and when I did actually want to iron, it was so annoying to find a spot to do it in my small room.

If you're really obsessive about having non-wrinkled clothes like I am, you can invest in a mini steamer, which is super cheap, stored extremely easily because they're so small, and work just as well as an iron. I ended up swapping out for one of these my sophomore year and loving it so much more.

7. Bean bag chairs/Folding chairs

Any extra seating for a dorm room is honestly unnecessary besides the standard desk chairs that come with the dorm. The floor space is so limited that taking it up with any other large items is going to make it extremely difficult to navigate around your room. Also, when your friends come to hang out, they usually will end up just sitting on your bed or your desk chair anyways.

8. A body pillow

I don't really know what the use of these things are. I had one freshman year, and it laid against my bed the entire year and I never used it. I just found laying on it extremely awkward and uncomfortable and it was just so big that it took up too much room on my already tiny Twin XL bed.

9. A laundry hamper

A stand-up laundry hamper is just going to take up way too much space that you don't have. Instead, invest in some nicely made laundry bags that you can put your dirty laundry in and just easily carry over to the laundry room. A lot of stores even make special bags that differentiate between lights, darks, and delicates so the sorting is already done for you before you do your laundry.

10. A vacuum

While the idea of having a vacuum is nice, and I myself have had one all three years, it just took up way too much room in my dorm and I later found out you could just rent one from the commons whenever you wanted to clean your floor. Most universities do have cleaning supplies for rent, such as brooms, swifters, vacuums, etc., so there's no need trying to fit all of those in your closet.

11. A million throw pillows

While they'll make your bed look cute, making your bed every single morning and remembering where to put the millions of decorative pillows can become very annoying, not to mention finding a place to put them whenever you turn down your bed.

12. Picture frames

While having tons of pictures in your dorm room is nice, and I say the more the merrier, bringing physical picture frames is just a waste because there's not much shelf or desk place to place them. Instead, find a cute wall decoration that holds photos or clips to hang them from your wall. It'll save a ton of space and also cover up those bare, ugly dorm room walls.

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