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35 Easy Ways To Feel Like You Have Your Shit Together After College

Because the real world is scary and that degree did not teach us how to be functional adults.

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If you just graduated in May, you might be feeling the summer slump real hard right now.

The graduation high has worn off and the reality that you are now an adult and can never re-live your "college years" is settling in. Cue panic attack.

Here's you...just really trying to get a hold on life.

me trying to get a hold of my life

There's a pretty good chance that you feel like you have NONE of your shit together.

Right after you graduate college, you're basically a newborn baby. It's a terrifying, confusing time. So we asked BuzzFeed staffers for some simple lifestyle changes that might help you start to feel a little less batshit crazy and more in control of your new ~adult~ life.


1. Keep your day (and life) structured with little deadlines and milestones.

Even if all you did this week was go to yoga, (finally) send those graduation thank you notes, and NOT overdraw on your bank account at Trader Joes, those are things that should be acknowledged and celebrated.

Setting small expectations for yourself where you have to deliver something is a great way to feel more in control and accomplished. You're getting somewhere, we promise.

2. Get enough rest, which is probably more than you think you need.

Adults should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. And even if you don't have a test or internship to prepare for with a good night's sleep, getting enough rest will help you be more productive. And yeah, we all kinda need that.

3. Allow yourself to feel lost and confused, because it's normal!

FOX / Via

Talk to friends, write it down in a journal, or start blogging. Any exercise that helps you get out those built-up feelings and existential crises in your head is a productive one.

4. And seek out help from a professional if you think you need it.

Chris Ritter / Via BuzzFeed Life

Venting to your friends and family can work wonders, but sometimes you need a little more than that — especially if you're dealing with symptoms of anxiety, depression, or another mental illness. If that's the case, finding a therapist you actually like can make a big difference.


6. Get to bed early, and wake up early.

It was easy to maintain that insane sleep schedule during school when your first class didn't start until noon, but the rest of the world tends to operate on a "rise with the sun" schedule. We're not saying you can't sleep in, but, maybe try waking up at 9 instead of 11 — even if you have nowhere to be. Catching those few hours of morning sun can make you feel a little more productive and give you more hours to actually get shit done.

And sure, set a million reminders if you need to.

7. Make your bed in the morning.

As U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven said: "If you want to change the world, you should start by making your bed." The 20-something translation: "It's like putting on sexy, fancy underwear — whether someone sees it or not, you'll feel like a grown-ass adult knowing you did it."

Seriously, just make the bed.

8. Clean up your smartphone.

Organize photos and media, get rid of old stuff that's just taking up space (like your college email app, ugh) and replace them with awesome ones that can teach you something new every day.


9. Get your email's shit together.

Organizing and cleaning up your inbox, removing yourself from old college subscriptions, and making a nice professional-sounding signature are great ways to start. You can also start fresh with a clean slate by setting up a new account where your old school and personal emails are forwarded. Check out more email hacks here.

...and P.S. YOU NEED TO ENABLE THE UNSEND FEATURE IF YOU HAVEN'T YET. It will save your impulsive (drunk) life.

10. Come up with a go-to answer for when people ask you what you're doing these days.

Twitter: @factsofschool

Having an automatic stock answer for the inevitable question "What are your plans?" can help you feel less stressed when you're barraged by curious friends and family. It could be that you're applying to a program with a deadline a few months from now, thinking about jobs at a few different companies, or complete BS (have fun with it and make yourself laugh a little).

"There's always the tried and true 'Not sure yet, but i'm thinking about law school.'" —Rachel Sanders, BuzzFeed Life.

11. ...But don't be afraid to admit that you are just doing you right now, and you have no clue where that will take you.

NBC / Via

CAN I LIVE? Admitting to yourself and others that you are completely unsure, but hopeful, about your future plans might be scary — but being honest and not feeling like you have to keep up an appearance for others can actually be very liberating.


13. Take your job search out of your living room to make it somewhat more enjoyable.

Try creating a mini outdoor office in your own backyard or deck. Or switch up the scenery by doing your work from a coffee shop that has great vibes.

14. Purge your closet and buy some new stuff that inspires you.

Maybe consider donating some of those college tees, crop tops, sorority/fraternity apparel, etc. You don't need to get rid of all of it, but making room for a few grown-up clothing investments won't hurt. Like a new watch, some button-ups, or a new bag that says "I am very important and this actually isn't filled with college textbooks"

This way you'll be ready for any short-notice interviews, and if you haven't started your job yet, shopping for fall office clothes during the summer can actually save you a ton.

15. Get a fresh start with a new hairdo.

Update your current hairstyle or try something bold you've always wanted — even try going full granny if you want. Simply feeling fabulous on the outside can help you feel more put-together on the inside.

16. Try some weird new workout classes to find something you actually enjoy doing.

Comedy Central / Via BuzzFeed Life

Always wanted to try boxing? Ballet? Now's the time. Forcing your uncoordinated, post-grad body (all of the Jameson, none of the regrets) to do a physically demanding routine can keep you from concentrating on your existential angst... even if it's only for an hour or two out of the day.


17. Or at least find a way to move a little during your Netflix binges.

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / Via BuzzFeed Life

Yes, you can get fit while watching season 2 of Orange is the New Black. Or if you don't feel like multiasking, these YouTube workouts can help you exercise without a gym membership.

18. Go somewhere — anywhere.

Always wanted to take a road trip to New Orleans? Obsessed with Thai culture? If you have leftover graduation cash or some extra money set aside, plan a summer trip and use these tricks to make it as affordable as possible. The first few months after graduation might be the last time you have this much freedom to do some serious soul-searching in your life. And it's not a bad way to spend leftover graduation money.

Even if none of your best friends can join you, here's why you shouldn't be afraid to take a leap of faith and travel solo, either.

19. Create a resume that makes people actually want to hire you.

This baby should be a work of art. Really work hard on it, get it proofread a million times, and play around with new layouts and fonts until you're confident about it. Even if you aren't hearing back from employers, you can feel good knowing that your resume was amazing. Here are 21 free templates to get you started.

20. Make to-do lists you can finish in one day, or use an app to do it for you.

This way you're giving yourself little goals to focus on that aren't GET A JOB / FIND AN APARTMENT / FIGURE OUT WHAT A 401K IS. One List is an app for iOS that makes personalized to-do lists more manageable.


21. Read (or re-read) a really good book.

No more classes means you can now read whatever you want, whenever you want, for fun! Losing yourself in a book can fill you with a sense of wonder and happiness, not to mention take your mind off your the hectic (real) world around you. Need suggestions? Here are some amazing twenties-friendly books to start.

...but hey, Harry Potter will never get too old, either.

22. Listen to an inspiring Ted Talk.

Especially if you kinda miss those hour-long lectures for a class you really loved. With the free TED app on iOS and Android, you can find a ton of talks from leaders committed to spreading ideas and seeking a deeper understanding of the world.

23. Use ALL your college career center's resources.

Have no shame and use the HECK out of your college's career counseling, job connections, and online alumni networks. If you aren't sure how to start, maybe ask a few older friends who graduated before you about how to get the most out of these resources.

24. Actually make something.

Activities like knitting, painting, or DIY home decoration projects can give you a small series of tasks to complete each day when you feel like you're not really doing anything. And if you ever find yourself with too many knit shoulder bags and painted plates, you may be able to sell your crafts on sites like Etsy to make some extra cash. Here are some ideas to get you started.


25. Do some homework to make sure you don't spend all of your savings in the first six months after graduation

Use an app like Mint, free on iOS and Android, to keep track of your spending, create monthly budgets, and set bill reminders. If you prefer to do it manually or offline, you can find super nifty personal finance templates online for Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers.

27. Find a low-stress, part time job.

NBC / Via

A random part-time job can come with a lot of bonuses: a steady income, maybe some tips, or a sweet employee discount (lookin' at you, Anthropologie). Plus, it helps provide the structure and organization you might be missing after classes end. Even if it isn't something you'd ultimately put on your resume, it can help to keep you engaged and working until you find something you really want to do.

So hit up Craigslist, ask your friends for referrals, and even try it the old fashioned way (like actually walking into a shop and asking if they're hiring).

28. Keep in touch with your favorite advisors and professors.

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These people did not read all 75 pages of your senior thesis for nothing. They do still exist after graduation as a resource for guidance, connections, and future opportunities. Email them, get coffee with them, whatever.


30. Get a hobby. Apparently adults have those.

Always wanted to learn how to play the guitar? Just because you're 22 and never had time to learn in college, it doesn't mean it's too late to start and you can't get damn good at it. Even if it seems silly, like making some sick beats on Garage Band, hobbies are important... and it only gets more impossible to pick something up once you're locked into a stressful, demanding career. If you need some inspiration or just hate hobbies in general, here are some ideas that might help.

31. Look up what famous people were doing at your age.

Comedy Central / Via

J.K. Rowling was basically homeless, Tina Fey was working at the child care office of a Chicago YMCA, Oprah Winfrey had just been fired from her news anchor get the idea. The point is that you're probably doing JUST FINE.

32. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.

Dreamworks / Via

These are the people you'll want around when you never hear back about that job / get your first bill you can't afford / think you'll maybe never find an apartment ever. These people will know what to say.


33. ...And distance yourself from any toxic ones.

Bravo / Via

Even if graduation distanced you geographically, social networks make it easy to see and subconsciously engage with these sucky people. Thankfully, freeing yourself from unhealthy relationships could be as easy as unfollowing or unfriending anyone who makes you feel poorly about yourself.

34. Be present and enjoy where you are

Comedy Central / Via

It could be as simple as being mindful of the community around you, or actively finding things to do in your environment which make you happy. Even if you feel like this phase or this city or this gig is temporary, ~spreading your roots~ can help you feel more grounded and comfortable.

35. And turn that big question mark on the horizon into a source of hope and excitement.

Today, you're the youngest you'll ever be for the rest of your life.

The possibilities are endless.


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