There should be a pamphlet that comes along with your diploma as you cross the stage at your college graduation, or at the very least an email sent out notifying you that freedom as you know it is gone. Unless you enjoy sitting at home all day, watching TV, avoiding questions from relatives about what exactly you plan to do next with your life.
Somehow I transitioned from full time college student to full time employee in the span of two weeks. Never mind that I had grad classes after work, my job alone was enough to make me completely change the lifestyle I had grown accustomed to during my four years of college.
College for me was fun, but my time wasn't spent doing the most typical things. I passed on frat parties and formals, instead opting to study abroad, volunteer locally, and enjoy the years when no one judges you for taking a mid afternoon nap? What the hell was I so tired from? I have no clue.
Working forty or more hours a week means your life basically revolves around work whether you like it or not. No more binge watching your favorite show until 3am or skipping laundry. Yes, technically you can still do all those things, but are they worth showing up to the office in a dirty blouse and yesterday's makeup?
While so many things change once you graduate college, even more changes once you start your first real job. Paychecks and holiday parties will keep you motivated, but every once in a while you'll miss all those things you used to do before your life was all neutral colors and fitted blazers.
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You actually want to go to bed early.Spending a day sitting in front of a computer is a lot more exhausting when you aren't taking Buzzfeed quizzes and stalking friends of friends. After a stressful day at work, sometimes the last thing you want to do is stay up late, no matter how much you love that show. Going to bed at 10pm used to be a punishment, but in your twenties, an early bedtime feels so much like a reward.
Snacks basically keep you alive, and awake.Slow days in the office will leave you starved for energy, which is why you need to have a secret stash of snacks everywhere! Mindlessly munching on something has kept me awake during countless overtime hours, moments of waiting for my clothes to finally be out of the dryer and commutes home that I felt would never end. Listen to your mom, pack a snack before you go.
Weekends are for more than just partying.Before I worked full time I had the freedom to run errands when I wanted and at the pace I liked. Then work took up the majority of my day, leaving things like grocery shopping and laundry to be done on the weekends. While you can totally find the time to fit it all, if you spend an afternoon doing all the things no one really wants to do, like shop for toilet paper, you might find yourself less motivated to go out and more inclined to enjoy the apartment you spent the whole day cleaning.
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Friends will begin to fall into categories.Throughout college my friends were definitely polarized, but not at all in a dramatic way. My various interests meant that I had friends who were really into school spirit, others who loved to travel and a few that were just trying to make it through the four years. Making friends as an adult is a lot like this, where different people will fill different roles in your life. Work friends are great for lunchtime conversations and keeping you company at office parties. College friends will be the people you call on when you are overwhelmed with life. Having friends who you call on for specific needs isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as you give as much as you take.
Your drinking will mostly happen in between the hours of 4-7.Happy hour is this thing that you either get or you don't, like the Kardashians. With limited time to spare before having to drag your tired ass home, people now opt to drink and socialize between the hours of 4-7pm when drinks and food are much, much cheaper. At this schedule, you'll definitely be home by 9 to start preparing for your next day in the office. It's an endless cycle, but you grow used to it after a while, I promise.
Vacations are something you have to plan ahead of time.Currently I'm passing through this awkward stage where I'm technically still a student without the benefits of things like winter and summer breaks. Throughout school our vacations were always planned for us. Everyone was free from responsibility on the same day and our plans were always the same, travel home, eat all the food our moms would make us, then travel back and complain about the upcoming semester. Adult life is a little different. Vacations are something you have to ask permission for, and once you do get the time off work, you won't want to spend it sitting on your mom's couch.
A small part of you will feel guilty.This might only apply to me due to my environment the last few months, but does anyone else sometimes feel a hint of guilt for landing a great job? Or just a job that allows you to live comfortably? While I know finding a job is hard right now, I have never firsthand experienced trouble finding work. Dating a man who spent months unemployed opened my eyes to just how fortunate I am to have focused all my energy in college on growing my skills. So while it's not something we often talk about, guilt is something that comes with the success of starting your career.
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Some nights you will opt to do nothing.Nights like these don't even need to be preceded by a busy day at work, because having absolutely nothing to do at work can be just as mind numbing. Once a week I come home completely done with the world, only to walk in, hug my cat and watch whatever channel was already on the TV. Self care is not stressed enough, so take one night a week to do nothing, and enjoy every moment of ignoring all your responsibilities.
Why does no one mention that all the extra money you earn from getting a real job does not equal more fun? Yes, you have more money to spend, but who has the time? Now that I'm finally earning an income that allows me to travel comfortably I have to deal with requesting vacation time far in advance and coordinating with friends who never seem to be able to pull it together. Save your money for something special, I'll let you know if I figure out what that is.
You will become unsure of how to spend all the extra money.
You'll appreciate your parents more than ever.I now understand why my mom would come home from work and yell at me for not having emptied the dishwasher. No she didn't ask me and no they weren't my dishes, but she was fucking tired of spending the entire day at work! Single moms who work full time and manage to not raise hoodlums deserve a medal of honor because I sometimes barely manage to remember to feed myself and the cat. Even then, I think the cat is on a healthier diet than me.
How has working full time changed your everyday routine? How do you manage to do it all while still getting enough time for yourself??