Adulthood is an entirely different experience than the one you’ve had as a college student. More responsibility is just the beginning of what you can expect when you’re fully immersed in your adult life. This alone can make you reluctant to embrace what’s to come.
Fortunately, with the proper preparation, knowledge, and skills, you can graduate and move into adulthood seamlessly. You’ll be equipped with what you need to thrive in this next stage of your life, making the shift to being an adult more enjoyable than it is daunting.
Take these steps to help set yourself up for a smooth transition into adulthood.
Set Goals for the Future
Hopefully, you’ve been thinking about what you want your life to look like after graduation. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to take your vision for the future out of your head and get it onto paper.
Setting detailed goals for the future helps you establish a solid foundation for adulthood. When you know where you’re going, you can create a practical plan to get there. Also, research shows that you’re more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down.
Document goals that support your vision for your adult life. For example, let’s say you’re going to school to become a licensed therapist. One of your goals could be to operate your own practice within 10 years after graduation.
You can take this goal a step further and put together a step-by-step plan to achieve it. There’s a lot involved in becoming an owner of a therapy practice, like deciding on a business structure, finding a building, determining your method of compensation, and crafting a marketing strategy.
However, when you break all of these elements down into digestible steps, achieving this big goal becomes more realistic.
Plan the Next Steps in Your Career
You may have been able to get by on financial aid or a work-study position while in college. But you’ll need a much more reliable source of income in adulthood to live independently and comfortably. So, solidifying the next steps in your career before you graduate is a must.
Start with networking. Join professional organizations in the industry you want to work in that are tailored to young up-and-coming professionals. Meet people at conferences and events on campus. Network with your professors and fellow students as well to see what opportunities they can introduce you to.
We also want to acknowledge that a lot of students won’t land a job before they graduate. And many already have jobs that don’t align with their degree to make ends meet while they work toward their dream careers.
In either case, it’s still important to take some time to hammer down the next best step in your career after you graduate.
Improve Your Financial Literacy
The National Financial Educators Council analyzed financial literacy statistics in a recent article, and one in particular stood out. “54% of millennials expressed worry that they would not be able to pay back student loans.”
Because of the increased use of student loans, it’s even more important for graduates to gain a sense of financial literacy to pay off these loans and still lead a successful career.
In addition, understanding the ins and outs of financial management now will set you up for financial security in the future. The pillars of financial literacy are:
- Budgeting and tracking your daily spending;
- Investing wisely;
- Establishing an emergency fund;
- Paying down debt efficiently;
- Saving for retirement;
- Tracking your credit history and score.
Developing discipline in each of these aspects of money management is the difference between living comfortably or living with financial insecurities.
Start by creating a budget you can stick to. Determine how much you’re bringing in each month and what you’re expenses are. Anything left over after paying your bills should go toward paying down your debt, your emergency fund, and/or retirement.
Mastering budgeting seems to unlock the rest of the financial benefits people long for. So, this is a great beginning point in your financial literacy journey.
Make Your Holistic Health a Priority
If you’ve become accustomed to an unhealthy diet or put off working out and taking care of your mental health while in college, you wouldn’t be the first student to do so. Grinding for your degree seems so much more important.
But the truth is, neglecting your holistic health does you more harm than good, especially if you’re faced with the challenge of the final years of your college career. When you don’t prioritize eating well, exercising regularly, and taking care of your mind, you can’t bring your best to school, let alone life.
On the contrary, if you do prioritize these things, here’s what follows:
- More energy;
- Better decision-making;
- Increased productivity;
- Higher self-esteem and confidence;
- Stronger joints, bones, and muscles;
- Better functioning immune system and internal organs;
- Reduced risk for chronic mental and physical health conditions.
You have a much better chance of flourishing in adulthood with the above outcomes than without them. So, make sure you’re positioned to make your holistic health a priority.
If you haven’t yet, sign up for health insurance. Take your time understanding the intricacies of health insurance plans, including definitions for common health insurance terms, types of plans available to you, and what services are covered. You’ll make a more informed decision this way.
Once you get your health insurance squared away, make an appointment with a primary care physician. They can tell you the state of your health and help you develop a plan for improving it that includes a personalized nutrition and exercise program.
Although adulthood is a new territory for you, it’s nothing to be afraid of. Use the advice in this article to confidently step into your adult life with the mindset and skills you need to flourish.