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Top 10 Adjustments to Life After College

Written by: Lindsay Shugerman

August 29, 2011
Filed Under Careers, Self Help 


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.


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