Real Life Responses, Part Two

I polled a wide selection of post-graduates to get their feedback on what life after college is like.  Every few weeks, we’ll stop and take a look at what real people are saying about their post-collegiate experiences and what tips they have to share.

The biggest mistake I made after college graduation was…

  • Having super high expectations for my job. I basically made it out to be the perfect job in my head, so when I got here and it fell short of what was in my head I was a little bit crushed. However, I realized that there were still good things about my job even if it wasn’t the dream job I had envisioned.
  • Spending all of my money that I received from family as gifts. I should have saved it all! I was so stupid!
  • Clinging to my college lifestyle.  Living with my best friend from college, bar hopping most nights of the week, and being generally irresponsible made my first year out of college sort of a waste.
  • Managing my money. Once you move out on your own for the first time, there’s this massive explosion of expenses I never had to think about before: rent, furniture, bills, cleaning supplies… I was smart about finding cheap furniture, but I started spending a lot of money on decorations for my new place, which I really should have waited to do until after paychecks started coming in from my new job.
  • Thinking that just because I was younger than my co-workers I couldn’t be aggressive or decisive or disagree with them.
  • Five words: credit cards are the devil.
  • Limiting my job search to one place, especially now that my state is dealing with budget cuts in education
  • Letting my first boss walk all over me and intimidate me – you have to know your value in your workplace!
  • Not saving enough money before the economy tanked.
  • Not to be redundant, but budgeting better, and not paying bills/loans on time.  Luckily things are better now, but it was getting baaaad.

There’s definitely a managing your money theme to the responses!  However, one of my favorite replies came from my friend Jennie, who blogs about interning in Washington, DC.  What I love is she touches on the reality of post-collegiate life, where you’re struggling to make academic and career-related decisions not just as an individual but also as a couple.  She writes:

I think the biggest mistake we made after Heather’s graduation was that we both jumped in to graduate school.  I was 100% ready to go back and Heather was thinking she just wanted to continue through, but it made things much much harder for us financially.  This was mostly due to the fact that Heather was denied in-state tuition both years at GMU even though she has been living in VA for the past 6 years.  Out of state tuition is pretty expensive and the program wasn’t worth the out of state price to her.  In hindsight, we probably should have moved up to DC for me to go to school full time while she worked, then we could have moved to her top choice school after I graduated (which was in Denver, CO).  I guess now she has her degree which is worth something, but it all ties back to us having no financial investment knowledge when we probably needed it the most.

Anything to add?  Leave it in the comments!


2 thoughts on “Real Life Responses, Part Two

  1. It is reassuring that I am not the only one who underestimated finances after college. I hope sometime in my graduate years I learn to budget where I end up in the plus at the end of the month.

    • I think budgeting gets infinitely more complicated when you’re dealing not only with income but grants, loans, work study aid, etc that comes along with graduate school. In some ways, I think those of us doing the multi-job hustle are better off.

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