Life's Like That: Real life decisions for life after college

The end of the school year is fast approaching and this article is tailored towards those who are graduating. But wherever you are in your educational career, everyone should pay attention to this information because at some point everyone will need to be thinking about what to do after graduation. The sooner one evaluates their thoughts, ideas and plans, the better. Knowing what to do and how to do it ahead of time helps you succeed in the “real world.”

What I'm about to let you in on will hopefully help you when the time comes to lay down your plastic cups and ping pong balls and dive into life after college.

1. Be open to making new friends: The reality is when graduation finally arrives, most people will part ways in order to pursue life past the college doors. That being said, be prepared that even the closest pals may and often do lose touch with one another while developing their “real world lives.” I'm not saying you'll never see or talk to your college buddies again, but I am saying it's good to be prepared and to meet new people and form new friendships. If you choose to continue to stay in your safe college circle, your new “real world life” could end up leaving you socially disappointed.

2. Kiss the luxury of the class schedule goodbye: Time and time again I hear the stories and excuses for why you couldn't make it to class. Don't get me wrong there are many legitimate reasons for not making it in; however, in your new “real world life,” not being a morning person or being too hungover is not one of them. This problem may not apply to everyone, but for those who sometimes find it easier to hit the snooze, I suggest practicing getting up and making it to classes on time. No excuses. Sometimes having that option of whether or not to attend class because of minor repercussions can work against us.

3. Remember to continue setting goals: Just because you've achieved your goal to graduate college, university or both, doesn't mean you should stop now. Setting goals professionally speaking or personally is a great way to keep yourself motivated. Remember every goal you set, whether big, like owning your own house, or small like finally learning how to cook, plays a significant factor in your life.

4. Don't dream too high too fast: Often a lot of new graduates receive a rude awakening about the early stages of their new “real world life.” Remember chances are your golden job isn't going to be served to you or even available right out of college. Despite your newfound education and co-op experiences, be prepared for an entry level job in your newfound career. This isn't always a bad thing. True, the pay might not be what you feel it should initially be, but the overall job experience and wisdom from more seasoned employees can be priceless.

5. Remember clothes in college don't always cut it in the workforce: Be ready to either tone it down — no skanky bar clothes — or pick it up — sweatpants are not acceptable office wear — when it comes to the work force. “Real world” clothing can be expensive, and the best advice I can give you is start saving for your professional wardrobe anywhere from the beginning of your last college year to your last college semester. Remember your newfound paycheque may not sustain you AND your new “real life” wardrobe right off the bat.

6. Moving back in with mom and dad isn't ALWAYS a bad idea: As much as this reality isn't exactly appealing, it may be necessary for some. If and when you're faced with this as a last option because you have to pay off debt or it's just cheaper, make sure you clearly establish boundaries. When heading back home, talk to your parents about how much you've grown and matured over the years you've been at school. Don't just talk about your independence, show it. Don't give them something to complain about. If moving back with mom and dad is not an option, make sure you have your living situation worked out long before you walk out those college doors for the last time. Ask yourself where will you live? Will you live with someone or fly solo? Will you rent or buy?

All I'm asking you is to consider some preparation as you near the end of your college life. Real life comes with many difficulties that are out of your control, don't let the things you can prepare for be your downfall.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.