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How To Adult For Soon-To-Be Grads

We all hate it, we all have to go through it: becoming an adult. For all of you graduating in May, It’s coming for you and it’s coming fast. That means getting a job, paying bills, opening a savings account, have a budget .... or be unemployed and move back in with your parents. Anyway, let’s adult!

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1. Get a job.


You’ve probably been dreading this moment during the last four years but it's finally here: Time to get a job! Start your job search early (now, not only when you graduate). Start by checking out the university’s tips on resumes, cover letters, and interviews. Write, edit and rework your CV until it’s perfect (even if there’s not that much on it yet). Also: Don’t forget to get your LinkedIn profile up to speed. Here are some tips on having an irresistible LinkedIn profile. Then start searching for appropriate jobs: Look for entry-level jobs, junior positions, and graduate schemes. Start by checking out the Uni’s career Hub (you can use it for two years after you graduate!) or the government’s graduate job pool.

2. Pay bills.


Got a job? Great! But that also means you have to start paying bills: council tax, rent, utilities, phone, internet. Organise all your bills in a folder and check them regularly to avoid mistakes. Also, make sure to start paying your council tax as soon as your student status ends (not at graduation). Check here for the end date of your programme. You might also be eligible for a council tax reduction.

3. Consider applying for benefits.


Don’t stress if it takes longer than expected to land your dream job. Forty percent of graduates search for up to 6 months before getting something permanent. So don’t freak out if you’re in a ‘temporary job’ for a while. And if you're struggling, don't forget there are benefit support systems in place you can apply for.

4. Move back in with your parents.


If the whole job thing isn’t quite working out, why not move back in with your parents? Sure, it seems like a step back; but it will give you some time for a breather and to make up your mind on what you want in life without worrying about money. And they might make you a sandwich once in a while. But remember: You’re not five anymore! Help with the household chores, don’t be a brat, and pitch in once in a while.

5. Flee the country and adulthood.


The whole adulting thing is a bust? Just put a pin in it and flee the country to a far-away, warm place! Treat yourself to a well-earned Gap Year, do an internship with a NGO in Zambia, pick apples in Australia, or volunteer with cute monkeys in Indonesia. It’ll look great on your CV and put off the whole responsibility thing for now. Here are a few ideas what you could do during your sabbatical.

6. Study more.


Just can’t get enough of Uni? Or just really hate working? Why not study a bit more then! Check out some postgraduate courses if you feel inclined to follow the path of higher education even further. However, postgraduate studies can be prohibitively expensive. Check for funding and scholarships at University of Edinburgh, for example. For grants at other universities, take a look here.

7. Budget your money and pay your debt.


Okay, it’s BORING, agreed. But you need money to buy stuff and not starve, right? If you’re always broke or tend to buy too many shoes, try a budgeting app like Mint. A budget will help you stay on top of your money and ensure some food at the end of the month. Don’t forget to budget in your student debt (It wasn’t free money after all!). Repaying will start circa a year after graduation if you earn over a certain amount. And to talk about the epitome of boring and responsible: Think about opening a savings account once you get a job and pay in a little every month. Whether you buy a new dishwasher with that money, or go crazy in Ibiza, that’s up to you!

8. Go to the doctor.


Having a hectic uni lifestyle packing in studying, exams, flat hunting and socialising means health check ups often take a backseat. Make sure to visit the GP now you’ve got some breathing space, and make sure you’re up-to-date with screenings like STI checks and cervical smears. So make sure to register with your GP if you haven’t yet or you’re planning to move.

9. No more Freebies?


It's true: student discounts and freebies are a thing of the past for you. But there's still a lot of other free and cheap stuff out there! Join online communities like freecycle where you can give old things away and get stuff for free. Or check out streetbank which allows you to borrow things from your neighbours for free. Also, the National Union of Students offers an Extra Alumni Card for graduates which will secure you many discounts, for example 26% on National Express bus trips. And don't forget: Joining the public library doesn't cost anything, as well as visiting many museums!

10. Never grow up.


Don't forget: Everybody is a bit lost sometimes. Don't try too hard to grow up, just be yourself and find your way. Or in Mary Schmich's words: "The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't." Just don't forget to wear sunscreen.

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