The 10 Things You Should Realize By The Time You're 22

So, you're about to graduate and enter the real world. How exciting! Or is it?

You may think you've get the world by the balls and that everything your older friends and family told you about growing up is just an over exaggerated farce...

...But guess what? It's not.

Entering the real world and being an adult is actually really hard and you need to be ready to deal with those challenges as they come because, believe me, they are coming. Not to be a total downer to all the Gen-Yers out there who are about to (theoretically) become productive members of society, but it’s time to man up.

Here are some things you need to realize by the time you graduate and you turn 22.

1. You are not going to make $100k out of the gate

Well, unless you're in finance. Hello, Department Assistant!

A fellow soon-to-be graduate asked me how much she thinks she’ll be making at her first job in PR. She was stunned when I told her she’d be lucky to be making 30k to start. You have to realize what kind of economy we’re in.

All of those social media, advertising, public relations and editorial jobs we have our heart set on don’t pay well. You have to be prepared for that and know that there are limits to what you can afford right out of college. It really may be Ramen and boxed wine for a couple of years — at least.

2. Your high school flame probably isn't worth revisiting

You may be starting to panic that you haven’t found “the one” yet. Sometimes it’s easier to go back to something familiar, something safe. Do not backslide into a relationship that happened when you were a different person.

Even if you think you haven’t changed much after college, you don’t need to start something with someone from the past. If you go back to the past, you might end up getting stuck there. It’s important to look forward and think of all of the new things that are waiting for you out there.

3. You’re going to have to let up on the binge drinking

Binge drinking really does make hangovers worse when you get older. Drinking all night and then getting up for work the next day is not practical thinking. A graduate will realize this very quickly. The weekends are rough, too, and you don’t even have homework. The first time (or fifth time) you wake up at noon on Saturday morning and can’t even get up to get a glass of water until 4 pm, you’ll start rethinking your choices.

4. Be careful what you put in your washing machine

Do not mix colors with whites. Ever. If you put those new black jeans in with towels, you will forever have weird purple towels. And a feeling of shame.

5. Choose your booze and stick to it

Pick vodka, pick whiskey, pick wine, (never) pick tequila, but stick with it all night. If you mix your liquors, you’re going to end up with a deadly hangover and you’ll want to vomit at your desk for the entirety of the following day. This isn’t college anymore. You can’t mix vodka cranberries with keg beer anymore. That isn’t cute.

6. Student loans are due sooner than you think

I know it feels like a million years away, but it isn’t. Six months after graduation, you are actually going to have to start paying off your loans. It’s time to make a plan now because the last thing you need is to realize suddenly that you’re up to your ears in debt.

7. No one will think you're qualified for anything with responsibilities even if you've interned at 500 places

You could be better at your new job than your boss is at hers. Guess what? You're 22. No one is going to trust you. Not for a while at least. You have to prove that you’re capable of responsibilities and earn the trust of your superiors. It can be really frustrating when you finally have an email with a company signature but all you’re doing is making copies. Buck up, my friend. Welcome to real life.

8. Your dream job probably isn't waiting around the corner.

I know you’ve heard this one a million times but, sadly, it is 150 percent true. You have to really work for what you want, put yourself out there and make connections. Set up a LinkedIn, if you haven’t already. Get yourself some personal business cards. Stop messing around. But, honestly, your first job is probably not going to be fun.

The goal is to get into the right stream of you industry and work your way up to where you want to be. One of my old supervisors (intern, holla!) started out working for a business magazine and was miserable, but she worked hard and now she’s much closer to the niche she wants to be in. Sadly, the job market is really tough right now and you’re going to have to accept that you might have to take what you get.

9. You need anti-aging cream right now

Look, the key is prevention. You may look vibrant and young right now, but that fades. Start using anti-aging creams and nip it early.

10. Not every person is meant to be in your life forever

Sometimes people aren't meant to mature and grow up in the same ways as you. Sometimes you just have to accept people for who they are and set them free. This can be hard -- actually it's definitely insanely hard to come to terms with, but as a new adult, you can't have people holding you back from your potential simply because you've been friends since you were freshmen. Let go, live your life, embrace the change.

Photo via We Heart It