It’s time. After only 5 short years, you walked across the stage in that cap and gown with your Greek color chords draped proudly around your neck. Sure, you could have made it through in four years, but then you would have missed that leap year party at SAE. Alas, the time has come for binge drinking to be reserved only for ethnically-insulting holidays and company Christmas parties, for that Bud Light girl poster on your wall to hit the recycling bin, and for your mom officially start pressuring you to settle down. Adulting has begun.
Year one of adulting can be a confusing time for many. You’re probably still on your parent’s health insurance (cheers to you, Obamacare), and more than likely will have a weekend of relapse where you visit your BFF who is pulling a Van Wilder and somehow end up in that one bar you should only end up at after a frat formal. Nevertheless, you’re paying your own car insurance, and changed your resume so that your graduation year is no longer preceded by “projected”. And for that, young adulters, I commend you. I’m here for you. Here is your top to bottom guide for surviving year one of adult life, as told by a survivor.
Step One: Close out that spirit animal quiz, open up that LinkedIn. Snow leopards are badass, but making money being a snow leopard is better. Imagine a world where you pick up Plan B on a Sunday morning before hitting up brunch with the girls and don’t check your Chase mobile app once. It’s possible, and it starts with finding a job. You’re smart, you’re capable, and you need to go network the shit out of your day.
Step Two: Stop stalking your ex on Instagram. I guarantee that seeing he had avocado on his salad for lunch will not make your day more fulfilled, but I can promise that you’ll wonder what blonde vixen of a waitress suggested that for only an extra $2 he can also add bacon. Move on from past relationship sinkholes and open yourself up to new opportunities, even if it means upgrading from Tinder to Bumble. Being an adult means making new mistakes, not continuing to re-live the old ones.
Step Three: Make your home livable. College apartments were made for the express purpose of keeping every liquor bottle you’ve ever finished on top of those kitchen cabinets, but fruit flies are so 2012 and you drink wine from the bottle instead of the box now. You’re ready to actually use those Pinterest boards you spent hours on while procrastinating Psych 200’s final paper. Ball out on a budget, but create a space that makes you happy, productive, and creative. This is your home, and someone might actually visit you one day.
Step Four: Recognize that Dad Bod’s are a trend, and not a sustainable lifestyle choice at 22. Jameson shots chased with burritos have a time and a place, and that time and place was sophomore year with the help of your Hungarian fake ID. This is the only body you get, barring some serious medical advancements, and if you don’t treat it right now you will be starting a gofundme for a new liver at age 52. That’s not to say you need to go out and win next year’s Crossfit games, but at least have some health awareness and swap one night of pizza and beer for salmon and wine.
Step Five: Accept that you’re going to fuck it all up, several times, and live to tell about it. One of the greatest traits you can acquire as an adult is holding yourself accountable. Messing up and owning it will earn you more credibility in the workplace and life than the best cover-up story ever will. We all make shit life choices occasionally, and “the dog ate it” only works for about 32% of them.
With that, you freshly minted adults; you’re still definitely not ready for this life at all. The secret is, is that none of us really are. So go get out there and do your adulting you snow leopard, we’re waiting for you.