Graduation may be life’s most significant mile marker. It’s a big deal, a formal ceremony where a kid goes in and a new adult marches out. They throw their hat into the air and - poof - they are suddenly empowered to make all their own big decisions...and all their own mistakes. You are rooting for them. You hope they are prepared, but at the same time remember vividly all the little lessons you learned too late. You wish you could ride around in their pocket and give them your two cents for every sticky situation they encounter. We asked the authors of Two Sense: Practical Wisdom for New Adults for the 5 most common things that trip up even the smartest of graduates in the real world.
1. That hospital bill from when you broke your arm is $1,500. What do you do?
If you are willing to work with the creditor, they are often willing to work with you and set up a payment plan which will work with your budget (you have a budget, right?). Don’t run away from it because a bill will ALWAYS find you eventually. ALWAYS.
2. That roommate you just signed a lease with is a huge flake (and a slob)!
Avoid horrific roommate situations by creating a roommate agreement covering everything from finances to pets to sleepover guests and bathroom cleaning. Oh, and do it BEFORE you sign a lease.
3. That dog you just bought at the pet store has some weird auto-immune disease
Pets can be really expensive and demand a lot of time which will probably put a crimp in your whirlwind love life (“Hey honey, I would love to spontaneously take a weekend trip to Portland to see my favorite band but…I can’t, because of the dog) as well as your budget (forget those shoes you wanted to buy. Instead you will pay $200 for blood work for pup). Think through all of the responsibilities of pet ownership before falling for the cute. If you need a dog fix, find a dog park and make nice with the friendliest pooch or volunteer at your local shelter.
4. Your friend borrowed $100 from you last week for rent and you just saw them with an $8 Frappuccino and a bag from American Apparel. WHAT?
Loaning money to a friend can turn ugly really fast. Set some guidelines about how you will handle it BEFORE anybody asks, so you can prevent financial hardship for yourself AND preserve your friendship.
5. When your friend was in the kitchen, you accidentally knocked over a candle in the living room and got hot wax on the carpet (and somehow burned a small hole in the couch too).
Accidentally destroying or damaging someone else’s property is mortifying and it can be tempting to cover it up and never speak of it (and then play dumb if they ever bring it up). This will bring some seriously bad karma and also probably spoil the friendship more than if you just came clean and did your best to make it better. Take a deep breath, apologize and take some responsibility. Then apologize again and get on the internet. Surely you can find some you tube video showing you how to get wax out of carpet and cover a burn mark.
p.s. Our own personal advice for recent grads.