I edited my résumé, drafted cover letters, interviewed and finally landed a position at my dream PR agency. I had the credentials, the extra-curricular activities and the grades to prove I would be a successful, valuable candidate for the office.
I accepted the offer immediately, which was a great start to Labor Day weekend, but I soon realized I had zero options for work clothes. Not to mention, my overall cluelessness about budgeting, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and... decorating my apartment. For lack of better articulation, my college days were over and I was not prepared to embrace reality.
I refused to accept that my college days were over at graduation. I had a degree and a paper diploma to prove it. I started to receive alumni association emails and new grad discount offers. But still, I denied my post-graduate life. When I realized that rather than getting up for class, I would get up for work each day, it hit me.
Gone were the late-night study sessions. Gone were the fraternity parties and stress of job-hunting. Gone were the difficult professors, pointless mid-terms and term papers. And, what do I gain in return? An abrupt (but necessary) transition from college girl to working girl.
The first step to transition to a working girl begins with the closet. Start by getting rid of the college-looking clothes, old sorority t-shirts and basically anything else that makes you stop and think, "When would I actually wear this again?" After clearing out your closet, you’ll see all this extra space for... guess what? New clothes!
But, remember, you’re purchasing new clothes for your new work life. No office wants to see any employee in a sorority tank top and leggings. Invest in work pieces and statement items, like practical heels and an everyday handbag. Nothing says “path to CEO” quite like a signature work bag.
College apartments are so... college-looking. There are clothes on the floor, dishes in the sink and marks on the walls from the frat stars who lived there before you. It’s time to step it up, starting with grown-up furniture, accent pieces and decor. “Grown-up” doesn’t translate to broke, though.
Head to a thrift shop, flea market or even IKEA and you’ll find affordable pieces to start decorating your apartment, grown-up style. Forgo the pastel accents for warmer color combinations, like red and gold, brown and blue, white and black. Your personality will stay in the decor, but the immature color scheme won’t.
Similar to your closet, an apartment needs statement pieces, so invest in a few items over time. You’ll always remember that piece you purchased, like a vase or dishware, for your first apartment, which stayed with you to your dream house.
The health plan
The nightly boozing days are over... unless you want to do some damage to your work ethic and waistline. You’ll likely be sitting in an office longer than you sat through your semester classes, so it’s time to bump up the exercise and spice up the healthy meals and ultimately, get creative.
No need to kill yourself, but following the 80-20 rule will work wonders. Stay focused on a healthy lifestyle 80 percent of the time and splurge during the remaining 20 percent of the time.
In college, you may have had a part-time gig, like babysitting or waitressing, in addition to financial aid (if you were lucky). Reality check: Just because you’re starting to work doesn’t mean a paycheck will come immediately. Rent, utilities, deposits... it all adds up.
So, plan your expenses around the necessities and save some leftover money to treat yourself. Plan your grocery list and set reminders to pay bills on time. It’s the little things that become habitual that make the hugest difference.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It