It’s college graduation season, which means there are certain nuggets of wisdom that should be passed along before one officially begins "adulting." To help you in your endeavor, we rounded up six life-changing lessons from the most recent addition to Quirk Book's best-selling how-to series, Stuff Every Graduate Should Know ($8; amazon.com) by author Alyssa Favreau. Below, six things that’ll have you—or your niece or nephew—acting like a grown-up in no time.
1. An apartment is not a dorm. Without university facilities at your disposal, you’d be wise to make sure that all of your appliances are functional before signing a lease. Ask your landlord about past problems and who to contact regarding repairs. Additionally, find out whether the building is equipped to handle basic processes, like receiving packages, recycling, and doing laundry.
2. Life is sweeter off the meal plan. The cravings of young adulthood are similar to those in college (read: pizza and fries whenever you want), but now the world is your dining hall. Download a convenient meal planner app, like Paprika ($5 in iTunes and Google Play), to schedule meals in advance and streamline your trips to the supermarket. You’ll end up eating healthier and wasting less food (and money!).
3. One broom won’t cut it. Hopefully you’ve picked up a few sponges and all-purpose cleaners over the years, but consider adding these cleaning essentials to your repertoire: a plunger; snow shovel (depending on where you live); toilet brush; stepladder; and a pair of rubber gloves. Trust us, they’ll come in handy.
4. Business casual is your best friend. For a polished professional wardrobe, invest in high-quality basics such as button-down shirts and dark pants. Consider tailoring certain items, like jackets and dress pants, as a proper fit can go a long way. And if you’re still unsure of what to wear in the workplace, play it safe and dress like your boss. You know what they say: Dress for the job you want.
5. Credit cards do not have unlimited swipes. You know you’ve entered the real world when you start thinking about your credit score. Keep your numbers in the green by sticking to one credit card, reading the fine print (rewards are fun, but beware of fees), and paying off debt as quickly as possible—don’t just make minimum payments. Though it may seem irrelevant now, having a good credit score will help you out tremendously in the future when you’re looking to buy a car or a house.
6. Privacy settings are key. Aside from being more diligent about spelling and grammar, Favreau cautions recent grads against being too cavalier on social media. Consider giving your online presence and privacy settings a once-over and deleting posts that you wouldn’t want your parents or boss to see.