Things We Learned Our First Year Out of Uni – Potential Media
So…I’m sorry to tell you, but life after being a student is a trap. We’re not saying you’re going to struggle all the time. We just mean it takes some time to adjust to your new lifestyle and learn how to empower yourself through your habits to thrive. We’re not saying that our lives are all bubble tea and promotions now, but we have picked up a few tips that can help you navigate year one in the post-grad wasteland.
Here are a list of 10 tough, but still fun, lessons we learned our first year out of post-secondary. Take it with a grain of salt and migraine-inducing tequila.
- Dating is HARD
Done are the days when you were surrounded by cute and age-appropriate men and women. This was something that we forgot was going to happen, and maybe should have capitalized on further within the university bubble, but it’s too late now and grad school is expensive. Dating as a full-time employed adult looks like having each of Hinge, Bumble, Tinder, Minder, JSwipe, Her, etc. downloaded on your phone as you follow-up on warm leads reply to messages and swipe on your commute (and definitely not at the office… that would be bad, right?). You need to show up to the office looking cute as hell, but non-suspicious enough to set off nosy coworkers (hi, Karen). Then you’ve got to muster up your perky, cute, 9-hours-of-sleep big-dick energy after a full work day and hope you that the waitress doesn’t recognize you from your last three Thursday 6:30pm dates at [Generic Sports Bar Near Work].
2. Real Estate agents DO NOT charge you a fee
We were absolutely shocked to learn that someone would help us find a place to live, for free! Yes, you can scroll local housing Facebook groups, but it’s infinitely easier to get a professional working on your behalf. Schedule an ambitions amount of showings (we’re thinking like 12/weekend), have your first and last month’s rent deposit, put in an offer with a letter about what wonderful/clean/calm/quiet tenants you are, and get. her. done! You’re a human and you need shelter. Plus, once you’ve hung some pictures and moved in your Ikea couch and Structube table, you can pensively look out your window and hum “New York New York” like you’re a 1960s shop girl ready to take on the big city.
Note: Living at home is infinitely cheaper, so do it for as long as you can stand it. Your commute will probably be a struggle, and good luck trying to get laid, but maybe it’s worth it for the cash and for finding the real ones who will Uber to the burbs for a post-9pm hang.
3. Life admin is crucial to faking successful adulthood
Every adult out there is faking it, and they’re doing it with the help of a few key tools. Their memory isn’t better than yours, they just use Google Calendar, and maybe a bullet journal too. Their grammar isn’t better than yours, they just installed Grammarly. They don’t have their shit together and ‘live for the hustle’, they probably just do a 10 minute meditation on their Calm app before they drag themselves to work. So, take the plunge and download what your iPhone would call a Productivity tool *gasp*
4. Friends are now far, but close friends will stay close (in spirit)
The sad reality post-graduation is that people will move, and they will move far. In fact, it becomes weird to see people sticking around their university town or neighbourhood. With your friends living, at best, an Uber or streetcar away, your hangouts can no longer be serendipitous, low-effort meet-ups. You will no longer run into friends at the pub on camps, wandering the 5km radius of the student village, or even at THAT bar that you knew everyone would be at on, say, a Monday night (wow, she really did that). You need to drag your ass to show up for your favourite friends and make an effort to really stay in touch. And, yes, we mean more than creeping their Insta and being even the most loyal of commenters. Get on Facetime, get on the subway, get on a plane (thank you Flair Air), and make it happen.
5. You only have so many vacation days, so make them count
This one is the saddest of all the shitty adulting things. TBT to the days of a fall reading break, a spring reading break, and the holy grail of it all — a four month summer vacation. What even is the concept of 10 vacation days and who decided that we would all be okay with this? We’d like to have a chat. Our advice: vacation days matter and you should negotiate for more vacation days when and if you can, as soon as you can. The real hack here is finding remote-friendly roles for the squad — so you AND your girls can secure the bag and be fun-loving kweens in any wifi-enabled destination you want.
6. You need to make a budget
There are a lot of things that used to be free in uni and are no longer free in real life. These include: things your student activities fee paid for; things your meal plan paid for; things you paid for with your parents credit card; and things your parents paid for, which basically covers all of the above. Apply for a credit card and build a budget. Actually, build a budget first because we’re team no unnecessary debt — and start figuring out what you’ll need to spend, and what you can save, now that you’re cut off. Excuse me, but your ‘cute’ habit of buying lunch everyday is an expensive hobby and you could totally make that $20 Freshii salad at home. If your parents have been kind enough to pretend that they’re not cutting you off, just know that they will gradually stop paying for things until they pay for zero of the things, at which point you will need to change your mindset from entitled to their cash to grateful for whatever they choose to gift to you.
7. People get engaged and it’s not weird?
People are living their best lives, which sometimes includes getting engaged and posting hella ~ExTrA~ engagement photo albums on Facebook, even though they don’t use that platform and won’t use it again until they get actual full-on married *sigh* Remember that most of these newly engaged folks are people you really don’t care about, or you would have known they were getting engaged, and seeing pics wouldn’t freak you out. So do what you gotta do — mute em, google divorce rate stats, comment “congrats” maybe — then wait until a couple you’ve actually been rooting for gets engaged, cause that is The Best.
8. Self-care is now real and deliberate
Repeat after me. Your liver is weak. Again. Your liver is weak. Done are the days of bouncing back with a great hair after a long night of casual bevys (aka blacking out) with the girls. The “I woke up like this” energy Beyonce spoke of is called youth (or in her case a professional glam team), and you don’t have her anymore. The theory we have is that you have a finate amount of hangover-free party days and, sorry to say, you used them all up you dumb bitch. Your body truly is a temple. Meaning, self-care is real. You need a sleep schedule and maybe even a drink cap. It’s not funny or cool to be up all night and depriving yourself of the REM hours you need to function. You should probably also be making the most out of your monthly subscription to the yoga studio, pole dancing studio, Classpass, etc. — you know you love your post-workout glow. Rock those triceps and lack of undereye bags, you dehydrated, but capable goddess.
9. Not all that’s clouty is clout
Here we go… You know how that one person who you didn’t think worked that hard at all that ends up with a killer gig and seems like they got their shit together hella quick? Fucked up to say, but it’s not all hard work and grit. There are many contributors to professional success and nepotism and chance are two of the big ones. It’s hilarious that after beating yourself up in school about what your major is, what classes you took, and how great your grades are, that very little of it matters once you leave enter ‘the real world’. Sometimes people land gigs they don’t deserve and that’s just the truth. We support you sister who is forging their own path, networking beyond family connections and who is really out here striving for their dreams. Remember, clout isn’t everything (read: in our opinion, if you wouldn’t honestly switch lives with the person, the clout isn’t truly there). Comparing your whole journey to others’ highlights is just asking for an identity crisis. Keep your head down and you do you sis. Trust us — people are noticing your slay, hunny.
10. You don’t have extracurriculars anymore; you have hobbies
Here’s a vocabulary shift for you. What once were your extracurricular activities are now your ‘hobbies’. Like extracurriculars in uni, hobbies are a great way to meet people with similar interests (literally, who would have guessed?). If you have a passion for your hobby IRL, then continue to make them part of your life. Yes, you are an adult now — please don’t be a boring one! Furthermore, you are no longer required to read or learn, but you should still do it! “What are you reading?” is a common first-date question (at least if you’re out with an intellectual, and we hope you are). You can’t pretend you’re just-now discovering The Great Gatsby, the last book you read when you were 17 in Grade 12 English (a required course).
All in all, now we know:
- Dating is a challenge
- How to find a home
- Some life admin hacks
- Managing long-distance friendships (anything over 1hr away)
- How to plan your much-needed vacation
- The concept of a budget (lol)
- People get engaged
- Your health is your wealth
- Clout isn’t everything
- We have hobbies now
We got this, we’re getting there, and we will get there — together.