Top 10 Adjustments to Life After College

August 29, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Last year, when fall rolled around, you were busy picking classes, stocking up on supplies at the bookstore and making plans for the weekend. In fact, for most of your life, everything has revolved around a school calendar.

But then something weird happened. You graduated. (I know, you’re still wondering how that snuck up on you!) Now you have a job – and autumn is just another season on the calendar. And it’s just not the same.

Here are the top 10 adjustments to life after college…how many of them are you facing this year?

10.Managing your career – or life without a syllabus

In college you had a syllabus. If you did what it said, and passed the tests, you moved on to the next level of classes. In a career, you’re expected to do what’s required and then some. And even that might not guarantee promotions or raises, especially in today’s economy. It’s up to you to figure out how to get ahead.

9. Why skipping classes didn’t prepare you for PTO

In college, missing a class because of a hangover or a late night study session usually just meant grabbing your buddy’s notes to catch up. At work, missing a day, or even a few hours because of a late night means using your Paid Time Off (PTO), if you have any. Or losing pay, or maybe your job, if you don’t.

8. What happened to my free time

For years, you’ve had summers off, plus holidays, winter break and spring break. And if you managed your schedule right in college, you probably only had classes 3 or 4 days a week for a few hours. No more. Most entry level jobs offer a week (or two at most) for the the whole year.

7. Where are all the people my age?

One of the hardest adjustments to life after college is the loss of all those potential friends. From the dorms and the Greeks to the sporting events and the classes, there were always people your age, doing the things you liked to do. Once you leave college, you’ll have to work at finding friends, especially if you’ve moved to a new city, or if your coworkers are older.

6. Parties, parties, parties — NOT!

Let’s face it…college is as much about the parties as the classes. But once you have that degree in hand, your access to endless parties disappears. And so does the time to recover from partying.

5. Clothes really do matter after all

One of the most expensive adjustments to life after college is clothing. Most college students are shocked to discover just how much a work wardrobe costs.

I know some guys who went through four years of college without ever wearing any shoes except flip-flops. Their wardrobe consisted of a dozen pairs of shorts, a couple of pairs of jeans, and a closet full of beer t-shirts. Hardly the stuff they could wear even on casual Fridays at work.

4. Goals? I need to have goals?

When you’re in middle school, your goal is to get to high school. In high school, it’s to get to college. And in college, it’s to graduate. But then what?

There are no ready-made goals after college, and that’s a tough adjustment for many recent graduates. After graduation, your goals are what you decide they are.

3. You mean I have to pay the deposits myself?

After college, it’s not about choosing among the dorm, frat house or a student apartment. It’s about deciding where you can live and then finding roommates who you can live with even though you may have nothing in comman with them. And then there’s the furniture and dishes and ….Who knew having University Housing assign you a room and a roommate would ever look like a good thing?

2. What happened to the Student Health Center?

Although recent changes in insurance laws allow parents to keep children up to age 25 on their health insurance, odds are you’ll need to get your own insurance soon after graduation.

Another change? No more student health center for drop-in health care.

1. These relationships are, well, real relationships!

An unexpected area where people find big changes in life after college is in relationships. The casual dating and fluid relationships of college will give way to more serious and committed relationships as people begin to think about starting families, buying houses and settling down.

Top 10 Ways to Stay Organized in College

August 29, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Starting college is exciting, scary, wonderful and confusing. And sometimes overwhelming, especially when it comes to staying on top of assignments, laundry and your social life.

But with a little planning and the right tools, you can keep it all under control. Here are our top 10 tips for staying organized in college.

10. Have a calendar in your room

Maybe it seems old-fashioned in these days of handheld everything, but an old-fashioned wall calendar at your desk is critical to organization in college. The size, location and viability of a wall calendar makes it the best tool for staying on track with projects, exams and big events.

9. Have a second calendar with you

This is where your smart phone or tablet can come in. Or you can use a paper planner. Either way, make sure it’s small enough to carry with you every day…and then do it!

8. Record it right away

One of the best ways to stay organized in college is to make it a habit to record every deadline, assignment, or event as soon as you learn about it. Jot it in your phone or planner, then copy major deadlines and such to the large wall calendar as soon as you get back to your room.

7. Use folders

Get a stack of file folders and use them to hold papers on your desk. Label one for each project, then tuck research, handouts and other items you need for that project into the folder.

This simple habit will save you from late night searches through stacks of papers – a huge time and stress saver!

6. Take a stapler to class

Many professors will give out papers during class. As soon as you receive that paper in class, staple it to the notes for that day. Not only will that prevent papers from being misplaced, the notes that go with the paper will be right there when it’s time to study.

If you use a laptop or tablet to take notes, keep one paper notebook with you to store handouts. Date the page, and staple the handout to it. That way you’ll know which handouts go with which notes on your computer.

5. Read the syllabus

All too many college students forget to read the syllabus in detail. That can lead to missed deadlines and forgotten assignments. A key to staying organized in college is to read it, enter the important dates into your calendars, and staple it into your notebook.

4. Record grades

As soon as you find out how your professor will handle grading, record it somewhere. If it’s four tests and two papers, note that and leave a blank space for the grade next to each. As you receive grades, record them. That way, you’ll always know where you stand, and when you have to address a too-low average in a class.

3. Work backwards from due dates

As soon as you know the due dates for your major papers and projects, sit down with a calendar, record the due date, then start working backwards. Figure out when your rough draft needs to be done, when your research needs to be done, and when your topic has to be finalized. That timeline will tell you when to start on each project.

This tip may keep you from ever having to pull an all-nighter!

2. Use reminders

Once you have due dates and dates for the steps in your projects, use computer reminders to stay aware.

1. Set priorities

Of course, you want to have fun in college. But you also want to be back next year. So set your priorities. Make sure you have time for social events, but take care that a last minute invitation to go out doesn’t override your study or project plans.

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