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23 Things Every College Graduate Should Know Before Entering The Real World

For college students, the real world is coming and it will be a shock. Take some of the advice I wish I would have known right after college.

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1. Learn how to make cheap and affordable lunches . . . avoid going out if possible.

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The biggest drain on your bank account at your new job will be going out for lunch. Every day you will be tempted to get out of the office and join your coworkers for a nice lunch. However, this could end up costing upwards of $75/week that could go towards other expenses.


Here is some great advice for frugal and healthy lunches.

2. You're going to get fat . . . unless you take control.

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Remember in college when you walked around campus from class to class? That doesn't apply to a desk job. Sitting at a desk all day, eating out (if you didn't listen to the first piece of advice), and lack of motivation to get the gym will all take a toll on the new college graduate.

If you thought the freshman 15 was tough, try out the new employee 30.

4. Invest in a good pair of noise canceling headphones.

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Soon you will notice, especially in an office setting, that there are some people you just don't like. They don't have to be brand new, but a nice pair of headphones will block out that annoying coworker. Trust me, it's one investment that you won't regret for the office.

5. Know how to do your taxes and save everything you can for deductions.

View this video on YouTube

Via youtu.be

Do your research, consult a CPA, whatever it takes . . . but taxes will become more complicated than just entering your W-2 into a site if there's student loans and other expenses involved.

Plus, there are many things you probably didn't know you could write off, such as moving in some cases.

6. Play the game as early as possible. Make connections with professionals every chance you get because it's all about who you know.

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Network every chance you get. Play the game. You're at a party? Put on a smile, give a nice handshake and start talking to people.

7. Invest in a steamer if your job requires ironing clothes every morning. It's quicker and better for your fabric in the long run.

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After being in the "real world" with a real job for several years without one I wish someone emphasized just how much more effective and better for the fabric they are than traditional ironing.

8. Take a cooking class.

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Branch out from your staple meals and start learning the basics to cooking. This will help with both meeting new friends and entertaining your old friends / potential dates.

9. Be prepared to answer relationship questions upon talking to any family member.

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If you're single, they ask when you'll find someone.

If you're in a relationship, they'll ask when you're going to get married.

And it only gets worse with time.

12. Extensively research and consider if you're capable of owning a pet.

blog.zocdoc.com / Via blog.zocdoc.com

Owning a pet is a big step when you're in the real world. Really evaluate if you have the time and patience to adopt an animal. If you can, it was definitely the best decision I made post-college.

Here's all the benefits to pet ownership.

13. Avoid impulse purchases and save money with the 10 day rule.

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Sure, those ninja swords look pretty sweet and you can afford them with your new job . . . but do you really need them?

Put them in the Amazon shopping cart and wait 10 days. If you still have the urge to buy it, then splurge.

14. It will become harder to drink and your hangovers will be more intense.

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Margarita Moneys, Tipsy Tuesday, Well Drink Wednesday, Thursday Thursdays, Fifth Fridays . . . kiss them all goodbye while working a 9-5. It's just not worth it and borderline impossible.

16. Do the dishes EVERY NIGHT before going to bed.

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It's a whole lot easier to clean a handful of pots, pans and plates every night than it is to clean every single dish you own once every week or so.

17. You can fully stock your kitchen with dishes, pans, and appliances at a local Goodwill/thrift shop.

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It's probably a mix of couples moving in together and people who just wanted a new look in their kitchens, but you will find complete silverware sets, dish sets, etc.

18. Learn how to grow your own herbs and vegetables . . . even if you live in an apartment.

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This will save you lots of money in the long run and can be quite a relaxing hobby. Use zip ties to help the plants grow vertically on your apartment balcony.

19. Don't freak out if you happen to fail the first time.

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In the real world, things don't work out magically every time. You might have been a great procrastinator or BSer in college but most of the time that won't fly in the real world.

Learn from your mistakes to get it right in the future.

21. You'll start to appreciate "me" time, especially if you get your own place.

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You might get used to having roommates throughout your college years, however, when you get that first apartment to yourself . . . it will seem like paradise.

Also, you might start to become annoyed if friend show up unannounced.

22. Hating your job won't get you a better one.

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Referring to disgruntled 20-year-old employees, C.K. said, "They just think that if you stand there and hate it, someone will go, 'Oh, well then let's make you a director, that's how that works. Clearly you're better than this.'"

It doesn't work this way. Work hard and work towards the future.

23. Take pictures of everything when you move in your first apartment. Your stuff, the walls, everything.

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If there is a problem later with your security deposit then you can look back and see if the dent, hole, paint scuff, or whatever was there before.

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