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Thirtysomethings Share How To Rock Your First Year After College

They're ready to help you tackle the real world. They also know that Coinstar Exchange can be your secret weapon that year; instantly exchange your gift cards for cash at the bright yellow kiosk -- and check out some epic gift card fails!

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"Ask if you can buy your boss or someone else older than you whom you respect a coffee and pick their brains. A coffee won't cost you that much, and you have a lot to learn! And if anyone offers to buy YOU lunch/dinner/an ice cream cone, OBVIOUSLY say yes... Because free food?" —Emily S.

"TRAVEL! Travel as much as you can, especially abroad. It gets harder and harder to go once life gets more complicated!" —Kate S.

"You are a freshman at life all over again! Don't sweat it too much when things don't go your way all the time or your timeline doesn't compare to your best friend's. You'll probably live with Mom and Dad again for a bit, and that's OK! You won't regret spending the time with them or saving the money." —Ashley C.

"Go on lots of dates, but don't feel pressured to settle down. Live the single life for a while. You'll learn a lot about what qualities and values matter to you." —Catherine M.

"You're going to be put in a lot of situations with people who are older than you, have a lot more experience than you, and are keen to remind you of these facts to stop you thinking that you can do their job. Many of them view you as a threat, and here's the thing: They're goddamn right you're a threat! Your brain is a newer model than theirs, its software is fully updated, it has all the plug-ins installed, it's cloud compatible, and it runs on Google. DO NOT FORGET THIS, NO MATTER WHAT." —Eric S.

"Get plugged into a community of people that share your interests, life perspective, and goals. I went immediately into a job at a non-profit where I was immersed in a tight-knit community and formed really meaningful friendships. We both supported and challenged each other — not to mention had a blast together — through the ups and downs of our early 20s!" —Sara T.

"If you went to college in a small city or town, move to a bigger city for a year or two. You'll learn a lot more at a faster rate, and there will be more jobs. And if you get roaches or bedbugs at some point, keep in mind that it is NOT YOU. Cities are just dirty!" —Cyndi N.

"Open a savings account when you get your first job and start putting a little part of your paycheck in there each time. Even if it's just $5 or $10 — it adds up!" —Kimberly F.

"Stay out late and don't feel guilty about it! Now is the time to be a night owl and close down that bar, or have a dance party with a friend until it's light outside, because in a decade, every big night will mean a weeklong recovery." —Tory G.

"Even if you only have a little money, spending it on something you love is never wrong. Go to a movie, go to a concert, get a train ticket and go hiking for a weekend — go do something. Happiness'll keep you saner than working yourself to the bone." —Chris D.

"Treat your first year out of college as a lottery year. Try to start that app or pursue a passion project now before you get locked down to a job." —Ben R.

"Pack your bags and your futon and move far, far away from family and friends, even if it's only for a year. This is the only time in your life that you can use to do something entirely for yourself. You will see another part of the world, develop your independence and self-confidence, and make new friends. Your home base will always be there if and when you need to go back to it, but you will live the rest of your life knowing that you rocked out somewhere completely foreign to you!" —Sarah E.

"Go to bars that serve free food. Pizza, peanuts, popcorn, hotdogs... Yum. And eat street meat! It's cheap, and your metabolism and stomach of steel are NOT going to last forever." —Michael H.

What are you most excited about now that you've graduated? Let us know in the comments below! And don't forget your secret weapon: Instantly exchange gift cards for cash at any Coinstar Exchange kiosk.

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