Let’s be honest, no one has it all together – some people are just really good actors. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses but feeling good about your body and mind can make it a lot easier to be your best professional self.
I have been wanting to write a post catered to 20-something’s and recent graduates and finally got enough time and inspiration to actually sit down and list all of the things I have learned since I graduated college. I know this post is lengthy but I wanted to make sure I hit every topic and added my own tips to success. *DISCLAIMER* I know I’m not an expert and I don’t expect you to think I am. This post is simply about how life has been for me since post-graduation and small simple steps to becoming an actual adult – I know, scary.
A lot of things have changed for me in the past year – between graduating college and officially being dubbed an adult to getting new jobs, meeting new people and discovering who the f I really am. I’ve gone through changes – some great, some bad, but through it all I’ve learned a whole heck of a lot in just these past 12 months.
I kinda thought life would be handed to me on a silver platter. I thought post-graduation would be this amazing, seamless experience into adulthood. WRONG. It’s been rough. From finding out what exactly you want to do for the rest of your life to finding new friends and learning a whole different routine, there’s definitely a huge transition period.
For some, it might be sending in over 50 applications and not hearing back from anyone. For others, it’s just getting into the groove of being a self-sufficient, responsible, socially-acceptable adult in the real world and that, my friends, is where I struggled the most.
This morning I woke up late, I stuffed breakfast in my purse, I forgot my bus pass in my car, I spilt coffee on my top while trying to do my makeup on the bus, and I left my phone charger at home. It’s only 9:02 AM. These are the days when I stop myself and say, “Girl, get your shit together.”
Everyone knows ‘that girl’ who strolls into work early, dressed to a T, hair and makeup done and sharp-witted before you’ve even sat down to think about the day. In my case, ‘that girl’ in my office also attends law school at night. Seriously? Maybe I could be like her if I woke up 3 hours earlier and drank 14 cups of coffee but until then, I’ll fake it til I make it.
There’s a lot of things I’d like to get better at. I tend to set my goals and expectations too high and often disappoint myself when I don’t achieve them. It hasn’t been until recently that I realized these things won’t happen overnight and I’m okay with that. Until then I will take baby steps into the scary abyss of adulthood.
“Nothing will work unless you do.” -Maya Angelou
Getting an earlier start
Wake up just 30 minutes earlier than you usually do. In other words, don’t hit the snooze button 20 times. Actually wake up when your alarm goes off the FIRST time. Just adding 30 minutes to your morning routine will leave you so much more time to get things done. You’ll feel so much better walking into work and feeling like you’re put together and ready to take on the day.
- Download the app Sleep Time. Fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed! Sleep Time doubles as a sleep analysis app and alarm clock. Never feel the torture of waking up during a pleasant REM cycle again!
Simply put, your brain needs good food to power through a day of work. I have the tendency to skip breakfast often and when I do eat breakfast, it’s a bagel slathered with flavored cream cheese or a couple donuts from Dunkin’ cause it’s cheap and easy. A couple of quick and healthy breakfast options are granola bars, overnight oats, yogurt or a smoothie prepared the night before. Add some chia seeds to your morning breakfast, they are packed with so many wonderful health benefits!
Pack your lunch! I cannot begin to explain how much freaking money I’ve spent and wasted on food alone. It appalls me to look at my online bank statement and see the amount of money I spend weekly on food, snacks and drinks. Not to mention, mostly unhealthy choices like Chickfila or Chipotle. Packing lunches is something I truly suck at. Either I forget to pack one or I forget to grab it from the fridge in the morning. Establishing a routine and allowing maybe one or two days to eat out is an ideal goal I’ve set for myself. Trust me, your wallet and your scale will thank you.
Stay in the know
Once I started my corporate job working in DC, I began to realize how important it is to stay up-to-date with current events. Politicians and high-profile business owners are brushing shoulders with me as I walk the streets of downtown DC. There is so much to be said about a girl who not only looks good but also has a brain to fill that pretty head.
- Subscribe to theSkimm, a current event newsletter catered to women that delivers up-to-date world news and hot topics to your inbox every morning, Monday through Friday. Read it on your morning commute or while you stuff your face with breakfast, it only takes minutes to “Skimm” through. So next time Benjamin Netanyahu is in town, you’ll know why and you’ll be sharp-witted when your boss mentions the name. *Brownie points*
Reading is such a pertinent part of learning. After graduating college and not having pages upon pages of demanded reading material every week, I realized how much fun it is to leisurely read again. Even if it’s a fictional series about murder mysteries or a favorite magazine, reading really works to exercise your brain and vocabulary. The senior management at my office gets newspaper daily and sometimes I’ll just read over the front page to wake up my brain.
- Blogs are also fun to read and there are many different kinds of blogs out there to follow – career blogs, industry-specific blogs and blogs for pure entertainment.
Networking your social group
I believe this is the ‘Golden Rule’ in professional work environments and life in general. It’s so crucial to put yourself out there once graduating college and entering the real world. This may be a bit uncomfortable for those introverts out there like myself but it plays a huge role in climbing the corporate ladder in a job. Networking really helps define you as a working professional.
Throughout years of schooling and guidance from parents and mentors, you have probably had somewhat of an outlined path. Once graduating, it’s really up to you on where you intend to be and what goals you set for yourself. Let me tell you, it’s a whole lot easier when you have the right people backing you up and ready to support you. This is probably the most valuable lesson I’ve learned since starting my career.
Recently, I told my supervisor that I eventually wanted to get into marketing and have a general passion for interior design and fashion. She strongly encouraged me to continuously work on developing professionally even if that means I will inevitably choose to change jobs/companies down the road. She told me to look at different corporate interior design firms in the area, independent designers, magazines, etc. Really any way possible to get connected with the interior design industry. She also told me to attend social events to network with people who have similar interests, send out emails seeking advice and even try to grab coffee or lunch with a person of interest. Without her recommendations I would have never thought to network myself in these ways. Thanks to putting myself out there I have recently been in contact with one of the areas leading designers, Lauren Leiss, and have gained so much more knowledge on the interior design spectrum.
Networking can be helpful in all areas – whether that be to build friendships, professional growth, resume building or just exploring the unknown.
Let’s be honest, no one has it all together – some people are just really good actors. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses but feeling good about your body and mind can make it a lot easier to be your best professional self. Embrace the bad days and learn from them. What can you do different today to have a better tomorrow? I hope you all enjoyed reading this post. I appreciate any and ALL feedback. Leave me a comment, like or share if you feel inspired!