It is so hard to believe I graduated a year ago. And it is almost harder to believe that my first post grad year has flown by. Trust me, I have had my fair share of weeks, days, even hours that I thought would never end, but I have also had weeks, even months fly by. For the most part, I actually love being an adult. Sure paying bills/loans is no fun, but being able to do as you please as an independent adult makes up for that. Throughout high school and college I was pretty independent (which I contribute to being the oldest child), however I am now completely independent (most of which comes from being financially independent) which I believe is the real mark of starting that young adult phase.
Graduation and post-graduation life is scary. There are a lot of unknowns, questions, surprises that will overwhelm you. But everyday you get a little more confident and comfortable in your new phase of life. A few of the things I have learned (and am still learning) along my first year of post-grad adult life.
Cooking for one
Sometimes this is big pain, and I have therefore eaten peanut butter crackers and carrots with hummus one too many times for dinner (slight upgrade from the popcorn I would eat in college). I tend to overbuy groceries (mainly produce), and sometimes get lazy after work and gym to cook elaborate meals, so I am learning the balance. One of the best meals to make for one is omelets You can make enough for one person, add in tons of veggies/meats/cheeses, and is cheap and easy. I have also started cooking about 3 servings of meat to take for lunch in addition to dinner (saves money too).
Keeping in touch with college friends & making new friends
I mentioned in a previous post about my weekly Girl's Nights, but many of my friends live farther away. Some as close as 2 hours, some across the country. For those friends that live close, weekend trips every so often are my favorite, but sometimes a "Happy Friday" text to your group text of BFF's is all it takes!
Making new friends has probably been one of the hardest parts of being in the real world for me. There are no classes, sporting events, sorority functions, or parties to meet new people. Plus, the company I work for is primarily middle-aged men (that's what you get in IT), only hiring about 5-7 new college hires a year. I am always looking for new ways to meet people post-grad. I joined a kickball league and met some new people through that, but would love to grow my Richmond friend base.
Kickball Friends Fall 2012
Managing Money & Keeping a Budget
I am obsessed with Mint.com, it really helps me to recognize where my money is going to and how to save. The two biggest things I do with my money in my mind, are contribute to my 401k and have an automatic transfer of $400 from checking to savings a month. When I first started my job, I would drive down to the mall, Home Goods, wherever and just buy to my heart's content. A good amount was necessary (work clothes and apartment furnishings), but since the new year I have tried to cut down on my spending (and this starts by simply not going to the mall, I have picked up a better habit - walking around my neighborhood while chatting with my Mom).
Learning to save for my first big girl trip, 100% funded my me!
I have grown so much this past year, and can't wait to see what the next year has in store for me!