Manage your transition from college to workforce

By Natalie Stanowski, Assistant Special Sections Editor

After four or five years, the time has finally come to move out on your own and start your life as an adult. But the transition from college to real adult life is not that easy. In an effort to help you better navigate the transition, here are a few words of advice for those of you entering the workforce this summer.

Adjust your sleep schedule

Remember those days of staying up until 4 a.m. binging “Game of Thrones” and then sleeping until noon? Hope you enjoyed them while they lasted, because there’s little room for late night Netflix in your new 9 to 5. While you still have your weekends, you are going to need to adjust your sleep schedule to accommodate your new daily routine. Instead of waking up groggy on your first day, start setting your clock back at least a week or so before you begin the new job. That’s not to say you won’t still be needing a copious amount of coffee to get you through it.

Clean up your social media presence

Now that you’re part of the workforce, a greater degree of professionalism will be expected of you. That profile photo where you’re holding up a beer and peace sign? Great way to show off to your college friends, but not so great when your coworkers and supervisors are looking you up. Make sure to set any graphic or unprofessional photos to private.

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It might also be a good idea to Google your name and take a close look at the search results. Make sure there isn’t anything there that could be damaging if a supervisor was to see it. A good rule to follow would be if you wouldn’t show it to your grandma, you probably shouldn’t leave it out for your employer to find.

Learn to budget

With a great paycheck comes great responsibility. While you might be tempted to splurge on your first payday, don’t forget you are going to have a lot more expenses to keep up with. 

Assuming you aren’t living at home with your parents, expenses like rent and utilities will quickly add up. Create a budget to calculate all your known and expected expenses to figure out how much leeway you have to spend on less important items, like that fitness magazine subscription. It also wouldn’t hurt to include a rainy day fund into your budget; you never know when an unexpected expense might come up.

Organize your time

Now that you don’t need to juggle classes, work and extracurriculars, it might feel easier to manage your time. While your work day will take up a set amount of your day, it is the rest of the hours of the day that add up. Keeping a planner or calendar to keep track of events will go a long way.

Don’t forget that just because you are working full-time does not mean you cannot work on your hobbies. You might have less time than you did in college, but if you make use of your time efficiently, you will be able to accomplish your goals. Even if you aren’t on a college campus, there are plenty of community events to attend as well. If you are missing the social aspect of college life, keep an eye out for local events happening around you.

Cook your own meals

While you are probably bringing in more money than your old part-time job, your wallet won’t be happy with your eating out every night. You’re going to have to learn how to cook eventually, so you might as well bite the bullet and start now. Buying your own ingredients is much cheaper than eating out and a lot healthier for you too. So long as you aren’t just buying frozen meals, that is.

Natalie is a sophomore in LAS.

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