Growth and Graduation


I’ve almost reached the end of my college career, and I don’t feel ready at all. My friends and I still feel very immature, and the way we live--from the way we party to the way we decorate our apartment--just feels woefully inadequate for a professional, out-of-college adult life. I could not host a dinner party for work friends the way I live now (not unless my work friends really liked bagged wine and old torn posters from the freshman year poster sale). I know this is a broad question, but I really need help: how can I prepare my lifestyle for the real world?

Don’t worry! You’re far from the only one who feels unprepared for graduation. We humans have a habit of being nervous about big jumps--40% of your fellow college seniors feel unprepared to join the workforce, for instance. And don’t forget that not so long ago you were graduating high school. Did you feel ready for college then? One poll found that only 45% of high school students did. In other words, it’s easy to be nervous around graduation time.

The reality is that each thing you described, from your partying habits to your apartment’s dinner-party-readiness, is something that will evolve in the next few years. Adulthood is about growing and maturing, not about being fully grown and mature from the get-go, so don’t worry!

But you wanted tips, so let’s check with the experts. Let’s start with your partying habits. You may be used to cheap alcohol and, unfortunately, to the all-too-common habit of binge drinking. While binge drinking is still too common after college, you may find that early morning commutes dampen your enthusiasm for this type of partying. While college students can stay up until 1AM or later and still get an average of just under 7 hours of sleep per night, you’ll likely need to go to sleep earlier than that to get that much shut-eye in before you’re due to head to the office--to say nothing of the full 8 hours that doctors recommend. The result? You may find that your partying looks a bit more “adult,” with fewer drinks consumed. And that’s when you’ll notice the quality. The wine experts at Yarra Yerring tell us that high-end alcohol producers are aiming to impress professionals, not college students: the pricey stuff, they say, is about taste and experience. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself drinking more of the fancy stuff--and less overall--after you graduate, without any active efforts on your part.

Your fancier wine selection won’t be the only thing you’ll see change in your living space. The design experts at DC Living told us that that young professionals can be very passionate when it comes to interior design and decorating. That makes sense: after all, you’ll be in complete control of your own space for the first time once you trade in your college-associated apartment for your career-associated one, and you’ll also likely have a bigger budget for decorating, furniture, and other interior improvements.

All in all, you may be surprised just how organically your space becomes the perfect spot for a dinner party. It won’t happen overnight--but your friends won’t change overnight, either, so enjoy the journey! You’ll find that becoming the adult you were meant to be is easier than you thought. In fact, it may just be unavoidable!

Growing up is hard, love. Otherwise everyone would do it. ― Kim Harrison

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