5 Tips to Help You with the Transition into "Adulting"
It's been 6 months since I moved to London and started the transition to so-called adulthood. Contrary to my (somewhat over-zealous) initial reaction I am still finding my feet.
*Disclaimer: I'm using the term adulthood, adulting and adult in the sense that I am no longer a student and now have a full time job. I am by no means suggesting that I'm suddenly a wonderfully mature and full fledged individual. Small steps to success, ladies and gents, small steps.
People often talk about the bubble, especially in reference to school and university life. It's only after moving to a new city, starting a new, full-time job and generally "adulting" for a solid 6 months, that I now understand the concept of the bubble. In University or school, your schedule is pretty regimented; from lectures and seminars to subject socials and the range of societies you can get involved in with their own jam-packed schedules. Then, there's the comfort of having your friends constantly at your fingertips, whether that's in the next room, the next flat or a short walk down the road. At uni, you really have to try to be bored. Not to mention, household bills are all rolled up into one neat little "rent" bundle and what even is tax?
Adulting is an abrupt end to that life of convenience. Your friends all move off to different cities or they get into serious relationships; your lives begin to move in very different directions and it starts to take months rather than minutes to arrange catch ups. You're getting a regular paycheck but you're also getting income tax, council tax and National Insurance and it's time to start paying back student loans and overdrafts!
Now it's not all doom and gloom. Firstly, no one is expecting you to just sail into "adult" life hitch -free - getting it right on first try is overrated anyways. Here are 5 things I've learned that will hopefully help you through the transition.
1. Making friends as an adult is a whole new ball game.
Because it actually takes active effort. As I mentioned above, at Uni, unless you really tried, it was unlikely that you wouldn't have some sort of social circle. At uni, or even at school, you made friends relatively easily possibly due to everyone being on a pretty level playing field and the ease of finding like-minded people through a far reaching but equally concise range of societies and sporting activities. It's still possible to do the same as an adult but it's equally as tempting to sit on your couch and watch Netflix when a social activity requires more than a trip to the next apartment block. It's okay to feel a little bit lonely, to miss home and old friends or to feel like everyone else in the whole world seems to have such a buzzing social calendar. Just put yourself out there a little more, make an effort to get involved with activities you enjoy, invite that acquaintance out for drinks and you'll be grand!
2. Do not YOLO with your finances.
I repeat. Do not YOLO with your finances. There is nothing more unglamorous than having to eat pasta with butter because you've spent all your money on a new pair of shoes or being unable to pay your rent because you accidentally-on-purpose booked a cheeky holiday to Ibiza. Those bills need to be paid, you need to get the train to work every day and you need to be able to buy groceries/real food. Budgeting is genuinely quite depressing to begin with, but in the long run you'll be grateful when you can buy those shoes or laze on a tropical beach guilt-free.
3. You're not chained to your job.
Try out different industries or different parts of the industry you're in. If you don't like your job, make a change and do it quickly. I firmly believe that our 20s are a great time to be selfish, to pursue passions (in the loosest sense) and purpose. Don't hang around in a job because someone has told you that "anything less than a year, looks weird on your CV." If it doesn't feel right, don't hang around longer than you need to. At this stage in our careers and lives, we're fortunate to have time and lack of responsibility on our side. Take a leap, take a pay-cut if it's necessary (and feasible) but don't continue to do something you're really not excited about out of fear.
4. Networking is akin to gold bullion.
The adult world is 100% about who you know! This is especially true for our increasingly entrepreneurial generation. Don't take an overly callous view of networking, it's not all about what the world can do for you. However, it is really important to network as you never know where your next amazing opportunity could come from. Linking with point 1, get talking with interesting people, take an interest in them and share your ambitions and interests with them, keep some sort of contact and watch the dots connect themselves. Oh, and be nice! Contrary to what people might say, nice guys do not finish last.
5. Maximise your weekends!
Uni can sometimes feel like one long weekend punctuated by a couple of lectures and study sessions here and there. When you start working, however, there is something sacred about two whole days of completely dictating your schedule. Don't waste it in front of the TV. Not only will you go back to work feeling re-energised and ready to tackle any of the week's challenges, you'll also feel more fulfilled in the long term.
What are some of the lessons you've learned in post-graduation life?