Adulting 101: What Students Need to Know Before Leaving College

Tessa Hunt

November 20, 2019

A lot of students find that getting through the last semester unscathed and staying on track to graduate is almost unimaginable. But when that time comes, it’s imperative to consider what’s next. The real question is, what is the next move? Get a job? Take a year off to travel? The possibilities are endless. However, whichever path you choose, there is the simple matter of financing and taking the next big step into adult life. There probably wasn’t much to worry about while being in school, and thinking about what’s next wasn’t likely at the top of the list. Students who were attending school on full scholarships, having parents help out or maybe had a part-time job were probably not even thinking of stockpiling a little cash in the last four years.

Consider getting a part-time or full-time job

Whether it’s a full-time internship or a part-time job in-between to get by, it’s important for you to have a steady cash flow coming in. Having some source of income in the meantime will be helpful if a student finds themselves in a sticky situation or emergency. Some good resources for job-hunting include: Indeed, Monster, Snagajob and Handshake. Students will have experience to put on job applications and resumes when it comes to applying for those bigger jobs later.

Prepare for the dreadful student loan payback

Looking into student loans before that grace period of six months is absolutely vital before time runs out. Being able to assess what is owed and being able to manage methods of making appropriate monthly payments is making great progress towards being a responsible adult. One thing to be wary of is the interest that can accrue, so it’s very important to learn how to budget finances accordingly. One reliable way to track your budget and  learn how to consolidate debt and stay on track for paying off loans is MillenialMoney, a free website that helps those who are totally clueless about important money management questions, as well as other helpful resources on how to earn some extra cash or use expense calculators to determine everyday costs.

Look into, apply and get at least one credit card

Whether students and graduates have no credit or have low credit, cards are a fantastic way to build credit and establish financial stability. Yes, it’s tempting to apply for several cards and max them out immediately, but be sure to research. Find out which cards are lower in interest, have low monthly rates or have cash back rewards. A great way to view a credit score for free and see which credit card may be the best one is to utilize CreditKarma, which is also free after signing up for an account.

Go thrifting for future home essentials

Kind of a random thing to think about, but if students start looking for the little things now, they won’t have to worry later about having that one thing not in stores anywhere. Being able to get things here and there for a super discounted price while simultaneously helping an organization in need such as Salvation Army or Goodwill Industries will save money, reduce waste and could potentially help save the environment. If in-store shopping isn’t an option, look into shopping online through eBay or sites like Letgo or Mercari to buy or sell belongings.

Lastly, students and graduates alike should enjoy their freedom from the college institution while they can! Before they know it, they’ll find themselves back into a full swing of 9:00-5:00 days and free time limited to just Saturdays and Sundays. 

Tessa Hunt is a transfer student and currently a senior studying Professional Writing with a focus in editing and publishing and has a double minor in English and Journalism. She has previously written for the Odyssey for Michigan State University and Eastern Michigan University. She hopes to work in editorial or publishing after graduating. In the free time she does have she enjoys shopping, eating Ramen noodles and collecting Funko Pops. Follow her on Instagram @tessaahunt