9 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Left College

January 12, 2012  |  
6 of 10

Loved, LOVED, the story done yesterday called “9 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Jumping the Broom”! Loved it so much in fact that it made me think…what are other big leaps in life do I wish someone would have warned me about before I jumped? Then I thought about college. Such a sheltering place, yet and still, your first big foray into something of a “real world.” If you are paying for yourself to attend school, taking out major loans or hustling from internship to internship, then you’re already getting a taste of the struggles of adulthood. But for those who didn’t, things are going to be a lot scarier than what you’re used to. If someone would have warned me about these things, it “sho’ll” would have helped in my introduction into adulthood. For starters…

You Either Need to Learn How to Cook or Starve

Ramen Noodles might have helped you get by during those times when you had to pull an all-nighter or when the cafeteria closed before you could get there. Throw a good amount of season salt in those bad boys and they can be pretty delicious. But after working more than an eight hour day, everyday, you don’t want to be relying on dry noodles for nourishment–you’ll get sick of that mess. If you start off taking baby steps, learning how to cook meats, assemble healthy salads, fry chicken and more, then you just might be able to feed yourself in a week–without breaking the bank looking for the nearest White Castle’s every night.

Student Loans Will Be a B****

It’s crazy that after all your hard work and making it out of school in four years, it can sometimes take double that amount of time to pay off your damn student loans! They’re usually the last bill on your mind every month, and after paying your rent, your electricity, your credit card bills, putting gas in your car and food in your refrigerator, it sucks to know that the last little dime you have is supposed to go towards a debt that seems insurmountable at times. As if your money wasn’t funny enough. Ugh.

Take Your Time to Make Your Next Big Move

You should really sit down and think before you make a big post-grad decision. And we’re not talking about what job to go for necessarily, but dealing with whether or not you should go to grad school. My co-worker, who went to grad school and acquired a degree that she now feels like she didn’t need, says that she wishes she would have really thought things through before going back to school. The loans she acquired from her second time around in school are not to her liking. Make that sure that if you do go back to school, it’s for the right reasons, for something you know you can use, and most importantly, NOT because you’re scared to face the real world.

Living At Home: It’s Never As Good as the First Time

While the parentals might be understanding of the fact that right after school, you need to get your money right so you need to stay at home for a while, when you actually get back in? Let’s just say it’s like the House of Wax–you will be begging to get the hell out. Everyone loves their mom and dad, but there’s a much larger expectation from you as an adult as opposed to when you were a child sleeping in your room underneath their roof. And that conflicts with the way you live your life as an adult. Want to come in after 4 a.m. from the club? Momma’s going to be up and mad. It sounds all good for a while, but once the arguments start, it’s not such a cute idea anymore.


Get Involved in Some Sort of Physical Activity–Stat!

Geez. If somebody would have told me I would go from looking lean in college to large post-college, I would have ditched the hamburgers and hit the gym the minute the graduation ceremony was over. Obesity is obviously a huge problem in this country, and when you first get out of school and spend more time eating crap and sitting on the computer looking for a job all day, your waist is bound to expand. It just doesn’t have to become a massive problem (get it?) if you check your eating habits quickly and get your run or bike on at the nearest park or trail. Whatever works.

If You Thought Dating in College Was Hard…

Men in college are hard enough to understand and deal with. One minute they want to date you, the next they want to explore their campus-wide options and be friends, the VERY next–they want to get back with you and say they made a huge mistake. But everyday men, outside of your alma mater, come with a whole new set of issues and challenges you aren’t even ready for: secret baby mamas, kids that are damn near your age, job issues (i.e., the expectation that after school they should have one), and more. Dating dynamics are real out in these streets and nowadays you’re expected to be the mack momma and start going up to men. The best thing is to remember not to get your feelings hurt too easily by the small stuff (cause it can get and be worse), because it’s a jungle out here.

Budgeting Your Money Will Save Your Sanity

When I was in college, Lord knows the little money I had, whether from my on-campus jobs or through moms, went to pay a phone bill, a credit card bill, and then was spent on something extra random: shoes I didn’t need that I liked, junk food, freak-em-dresses, etc. If I do that mess now, I’ll be living out of a suitcase at the subway station. Having someone help me understand how to budget my dollars and cents (a class on it would have helped), I would have made better choices out the gate and not had to beg a sister to help me pay a credit card bill because I thought I had more money in my account than I actually did. Managing your dollars and cents, even knowing how to a little, will help you keep your dollars and sense.

People Change

The homies you left to go off to school might not be the same homies when you come back.  You might come home and want to spend all your time catching up with them and hitting the stores and clubs, but they might be busy taking care of business–doing projects for work, canoodling with their boo, busy being M.I.A. Others change for the negative and become shells of the individual you once thought them to be. It happens. Whether the change is worth it to to you to deal with or dump, just be prepared. Family is usually the same, but the homies? These days, you can’t be too sure.

Positivity Goes  A Long Way…

In the end, the transition out of school into official adulthood (not that, “I’m 18 so I’m grown!” mess) will be scary for some people. The job you were hoping to land might take longer than you thought to get, the money in your account might get so low you can’t even make withdrawals, and tensions could be at their height at mom’s house. With all that though, I’ve found that staying positive and knowing that you’ve done what you can to make your dreams come true will take you through the crappiest of moments. Many people go through it, and as you can see (not from me, I just mean from the many other people in the world, including yourself), many people make it through just fine. Whether it’s with the help of the bible or routine trips to the gym–you’ll be ‘aight.


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