There are so many lessons I wish I learned before I graduated college. “The real world” is very real and things don’t typically go as planned. That’s life. But if you’re in your early 20s, you probably don’t know that yet (I know I didn’t). While growing up and dealing with adult things might sound scary, it’s important to know you’re not alone. Every 20 something-year-old is exactly like you. And while there are a ton of life lessons to learn, here are a few of the most important ones:
It’s Better To Be Debt Free
As unfair as student loans are, pretty much every college graduate has them. That’s just the sad reality of trying to better your education — you end up having to spend a lot of money.
What most graduates don’t realize, though, is how damaging student loans can be; especially if you don’t start paying them when they’re due. The best thing you can do for yourself is paying back your loans as soon as possible! Even if you’re not able to make full payments, a little can go a long way.
Trust me, you don’t want to keep deterring payments. Interest is the worst and the longer you wait to pay, the more money you’ll end up owing.
Quality Is Important
Money is incredibly valuable; especially when you’re not making that much. I know it might be tempting to only buy things when they’re inexpensive, but if you’re buying cheap items they’re going to look cheap — and you’ll probably have to continuously replace them. Sometimes, you have to invest a little in order to save money down the road. Remember, quality is important. Would you rather buy one expensive pair of jeans and have them for years or buy a cheap pair and have to buy new ones every single month?
You Won’t Always Get What Want
No matter how qualified you are or how hard you want something, you might not get it. That’s life. Things aren’t always going to go how you imagined and it’s important to be okay with that. If you take every failure personally you’re probably going to go insane! Learn to be flexible and learn how to take defeat as an opportunity to grow.
Eat Healthy Whenever You Can
The older you get the slower your metabolism gets. And because you’re going to be busy working all the time and spending your free time with friends and family, you’re probably not going to have a ton of time to work out. This is why knowing what, and what not, to eat is so important for your health. The better you eat, the better you’ll feel and look. Make sure you’re aware of what ingredients are good for you and maybe even learn how to cook so you can save yourself the hassle of finding healthy options at restaurants.
There’s No Need To Settle
Seriously, there isn’t. Whether it’s a job you don’t really love, a friend who brings you down, or a significant other you just can’t see a future with. There’s no reason to settle. You’re still young and odds are, you don’t have a ton of responsibilities compared to other adults right now. You can take chances and risks. And you should — before you’re 40, married, with eight kids. This is really the only time in your life that you’ll be able to be a little reckless.
Being Frugal Is Key
You’re not Kylie Jenner. You don’t have the money to be spending thousands on rent or jet-setting all over the world. You’re just starting off in your career and typically people in their early 20s have to start at the bottom, in order to work their way up to the top. Don’t let this upset you. Be patience and be frugal. Save as much money as you can and try not to overextend yourself. More money will come in time and then you can vacation in Mykonos.
Life Is All About Connections
They teach you this in college, but it doesn’t really hit you until you’re out in the real world — it’s all about who you know. It may not be fair, but it’s true. In order to get places in this world, you need to know who to talk to. That’s why college was important, you were able to make friends! Keep in touch with those friends you met in college and make new ones now that you’re done. Having a good group of people in your corner will make life so much easier and interesting.
There’s No Point In Holding Grudges
People grow and they change. What someone did to you in high school, shouldn’t determine who they are now. You don’t have to like them, but you shouldn’t still be talking about them. You are the words that come out of your mouth. Don’t forget that. If you’re constantly speaking negatively about someone (no matter who you’re talking to), that’ll get around. Be positive and remember, you never know when you might need someone’s help.