With Junior year of college coming to a close and an internship on the horizon, the #realworld is getting closer and closer every minute! While I’m not quite ready to leave the comfort of college yet (thank goodness I have one more year!) there are a few things that I’m doing to try to prepare myself for adult life!
Now don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you how to open a Roth-IRA account or how to write a check (although these things are good to know). Keep scrolling to read 4 easy (and kind of fun) ways that I’m preparing myself to be a full-fledged 20-something adult!
1. Get Informed
One of the easiest ways to transition into adulthood is to stay up-to-date on current events. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time during the day to tune into NBC/ABC/CBS/etc and watch reporters chat about the news for hours on end. I need my news quickly, and I need it on a platform that I can easily access during the day. That’s where the beauty of daily emails come in.
I get four emails every weekday morning. These emails all have similar styles but vary in content –
TheSkimm: Current events (with a little pinch of millennial sass)
The Morning Brew: Business news (that even this non-business major can understand)
The Casual Spectator: Sports news (because I don’t have time to watch 4+ hour sports games)
New York Times Morning Briefing: Current events (traditional reporting + links to other interesting articles)
It’s my morning routine to grab a coffee, sit down at my computer, and read each email as I get over my initial grogginess from waking up. Four emails seems like a lot, but none of them take more than 5 or so minutes to read!
By getting my news all in one chunk in the morning, I’m never caught off guard when news breaks during the day (no more “wait, the President made an arms deal? I didn’t even know he was in the Middle East!” or “wait, Snap stock is down? I didn’t even know Snap was a company!”).
Also, you can impress your friends/family/coworkers/boss by chatting about the latest current events, and actually know what you’re talking about.
2. Save Money
I’m really bad at saving money – I have a savings account but I’m more of an impulse buyer when it comes to my own checking account. That really won’t fly as an adult, so I’m learning to budget for essentials and save for the big-ticket items that I want. But how do you set aside money for those big purchases??
Enter Qapital, an app that saves you money that you didn’t even know you have. Say what??
Qapital saves you money by using personalized “rules” to take small chunks of money (I’m talking nickels and dimes) out of your bank account every time you make a purchase. You can tell Quapital what you want to save for and how much it costs.
Before you know it, all of that small change adds up to be enough for one big purchase. And you didn’t even have to think about saving money!
So what are these rules? Here are a few rules that I’m using to save up for a new $200 Nikon lens:
Round Up: This rule rounds up the value of your purchase to the nearest $1 or $2 and deposits the money in your Qapital account. For instance, I have a $2 Round Up rule on every purchase: if my meal costs $12.75, then Qapital adds 25 cents + another $1 to my account.
Guilty Pleasure: This rule adds money to your Qapital account every time you spend money on a guilty pleasure – for me this is Starbucks. Every time I spend money at Starbucks, $1 is added to my Qapital account.
These are just a few of the many rules that you can implement using Qapital. The 52-Week Rule adds $1 the first week, $2 the second week, etc. etc. These savings end up being over $1000 saved by week 52!. The IFTTT rule (IFTTT = If This Then That) saves on designated occasions. For instance, if it rains in your city, then set aside $x to save for a beach vacation).
I just started using Qapital and already have $20 saved. Every little bit counts! If you sign up using my Qapital link, we both get $5. In the future, I hope to use this app to save up for a down payment on a car or a big girl vacation!
3. Upgrade your Wardrobe from “Ill-Fitting Khakis” to Trendy Young Adult
Now I love my college t-shirts and Target leggings as much as the next girl. But my “running-to-Starbucks-hope-I-don’t-see-anyone” outfit really won’t fly in the real world. That’s why it’s super important to invest in a few “big-girl” pieces that can take you from job interview to networking event to a real job or internship!
A few basic business pieces that you can mix and match are all you need to start out. I would recommend nice dress pants or a skirt, a cute patterned tank top, and a well-fitting blazer (no busting buttons or tight shoulders!).
For shoes, opt for something comfortable that you can stand in for hours at a time – those heels are cute for like 10 minutes before you start to wish that you just didn’t have feet at all.
So where do I shop for my business clothes? Banana Republic and Loft are great places to start, and they always have great coupons and sales. I’ve also found a nice pair of black dress pants at the clearance rack of J.Crew. And if something doesn’t fit perfectly, a tailor can work wonders for only a few extra dollars.
Well-fitting business clothes will make a great impression on future employers – it lets them know that you’re mature and ready for a big-person job (and paycheck!).
I love love love to travel. Traveling is such a great way to learn without ever having to sit in a classroom.
As an adult, I think it’s important to understand a variety of cultures and viewpoints. Not everything in the world is cut and dry or exactly as how you might see it! Traveling makes you more understanding and more informed. And let’s be honest, you get to eat and have fun while doing it!
Traveling also doesn’t mean you have to take a $2000 flight to Europe. Even a road trip to a nearby town or state can still be eye opening. Some of my friends and I went to Denver for five days in May. Even though it was only a 4-hour plane ride, I still felt like I was in a totally different culture! I live by the beach, so the mile-high elevation change and mountain trails were something that I’ve never experienced before (but I loved!).
Travel while you’re young, explore new places, and try everything! You never know what you might find.