I’ve been an adult for exactly 138 days now. I use the term “adult” loosely, considering my penchant for inappropriately timed curse words and superstitious belief in Buzzfeed quiz results. Not to mention that one time I spent $90 on a practical garment fondly known as the “thuggie.” #FinancialLiteracy.
But, despite all my best intentions, I’ve let small semblance of adulthood trickle into my every day life. Smugly perched between Not That Kind Of Girl and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test lies a checkbook and stamps for monthly rent payments. My favorite birthday gift this past year was a blender (in my defense, it’s equipped with a built-in tap dispenser. Margs 4 dayz). Sometimes, I stay in on Fridays because, in the words of washed up college grads everywhere, “I’ve just had a really long week.”
The strongest signifier of adulthood, above even attending a Saturday night housewarming party and considering frat parties “heinous”: I have a full time, salaried job. That means that I frequently wear blazers in a non-ironic way. I drink a cup of coffee every morning and a Sleepy Time tea every night.
Just admitting this has me like:
As a young college graduate with 138 anxiety-ridden, exhilarating days of adulthood in New York City under my belt, I’ve decided to share the type of wisdom that only comes from spending over half of your income on rent every month. So here it goes:
Given that Spring semester is the notorious “beginning of the end” for college seniors, I’ve decided to start with what you’ve psychologically repressed since birth: the truth about your first job. I’m not trying to spoil your last semester. I’m just trying to prevent you from feeling like this on graduation day:
1. You’re going to take what you can get & you’re going to like it.
Well actually, you’re going to hate it, but you know what I mean. My first job right out of college didn’t exactly align with my rosy vision of post-collegiate life. As a Professional Writing graduate with my sights set on the big city, I didn’t expect to befriend Excel faster than a post-bar burrito or spend my weekends fraternizing with my parents’ friends. In typical millennial fashion, I had an idealistic view of my future and I didn’t want to settle for anything less.
After months of pondering the meaning of life from my childhood bedroom Hannah Horvath-style, my dad basically told me to get over myself and grow up. Which, contrary to previous altercations with my dad, was exactly what I needed to hear.
The truth is, I was lucky to even have a job— especially as a Professional Writing major (despite graduating, I still don’t even know what that means). I learned to be grateful for my first job, even though it was completely unrelated to my major and more “Office Space” rather than “Sex and the City.”
2. Your first paycheck has you like:
You will most likely spend it on food, alcohol and material possessions you can’t actually afford. After four years of eating canned soup and shopping at Wal-Mart, a bi-monthly paycheck makes you feel like Jordan Belfort (no, I don’t mean quaaludes and crashing yachts, unless you’re into that sort of thing). This is when post-grad life actually starts becoming fun.
Making 35K a year and living with your parents suddenly equates to jet-setting across the country and going out to dinner three times a week. The concept of adulthood materializes in life experiences you can pay for in full and an invigorating sense of freedom. For the first time, you’re making all of your own decisions. Whether or not those are good decisions is a whole other story, because…
3. You’ll quickly realize the importance of saving money.
This will most likely happen right around the time you want to move out, or when you’re required to start paying off your student loans. From here, actual adulthood sinks in, complete with rent payments, utility bills and filing your taxes without the help of your parents.
Your priorities inevitably shift, from shopping sprees and $12 drinks to 401K plans and paying off your credit cards. You become nostalgic for the days when your main objective in life was getting Amanda Bynes to acknowledge you on Twitter.
In terms of endlessly flirting with the line between teenage years and young adulthood, I’m right there with you. One thing I can assure you of is that the end of college doesn’t mean the end of the world. Just the end of Tequila Tuesdays and library all nighters.
We’d love to hear the story of your first job! Leave a comment below or catch up with us on Facebook.