While you’re learning more about your major, what you probably aren’t learning are some specific life lessons to help you thrive after college and take those next steps after graduation.
Here are some helpful life lessons you didn’t learn in college that can help you out as you venture into the world.
Navigating Student Loan Repayment
Probably the most dreaded part of graduating from college is the end of your 6 month grace period. Even though you probably received exit counseling for your loan payment before graduation, you might not have fully understood the process.
The first bill you receive for your student loans is often shocking and upsetting. Plus, with federal loan payments on hold because of the pandemic you haven’t necessarily had to pay. But, unfortunately for many of us, that’ll all be changing after the new year.
Make a plan now and start setting aside your payment amount so you have some backup funds built up. You should also look into enrolling in direct debit payments, as they often come with a slight decrease in interest rate.
If 2022 will be your first year making payments on your student loans, you should also be aware of tax rules for student loan repayment. The most beneficial is the prospect of potentially receiving a tax break for the payments you’ve made.
Credit is Key
When young adults think about credit, credit cards are what usually come to mind. However, what is often harder for young adults to grasp is the absolute importance of having a good credit score.
Believe it or not, this is something you don’t need to wait until after graduation to work on. You can actually take steps toward building and maintaining a good credit score in college.
For example, if you do have a credit card in your name while in school, both using it and making on time payments will keep your credit in good standing. Missing payments will have an adverse effect.
While you might not understand why having a good credit score is important now at this stage in your life, you’ll understand soon enough. Big life moments connected to large purchases, like buying a house, require a certain credit score range.
If you don’t fall within that range, you could end up not qualifying for a mortgage and needing to delay your purchase by a few years.
Or, if you need to refinance a loan later on but don’t have a good enough credit score, you could be outright denied or need a cosigner. There are many situations where having a good credit score is of utmost importance, and having a bad credit score can cause issues.
Creating Your Resumé
Unless you utilized the help of your university’s career development center, then you might struggle with resumé creation and job hunting. Your first step should be to inquire with your now alma mater’s career center to see if they help alumni. Then you can feel more confident with their professional feedback.
If you no longer have access to the career center, or you just want help with a starting point, look at some ways to make your resumé stand out.
Once you’ve created your resumé, you can then begin the process of finding your first job out of college. Just remember to utilize the resources available to you.
The Importance of Routines
It’s easy to maintain a routine when it’s preset for you. Up until graduating from college, you’ve had to be up at a certain time for school and your day has followed a schedule dependent on your classes.
After graduating, that routine is no more and it’s up to you to create and stick to a new one. While it’s easy to see this brand new independence and approach it with an attitude of doing whatever you want, whenever you want, that’s not always smart.
Having a routine keeps your mind and body healthy, because they know what to expect. It also ensures that you’re getting what you need through eating around a certain time and going to bed at a certain time each day.
You can still keep things spontaneous and break your routine, that’s definitely healthy to do so things aren’t monotonous. But, having a base routine that you can easily follow will only help you in the long run.
Wellness is More than Self-Care
When people hear the word wellness, they often get mental images of face masks and bubble baths. The truth is, wellness extends well beyond self-care basics and it’s an important part of your day-to-day life.
Wellness is all encompassing and works best when it’s tailored to your needs. There are some more general ways you can incorporate it into your life though too. For example, following nutritional guidelines for young adults can make sure you’re putting the right things into your body.
Regular physical exercise and mental health maintenance also play a role in your wellness. Even better, you can accomplish both by practicing yoga. The physical part of yoga combined with the meditation aspect make it a great tool for wellness.
The Ins and Outs of Healthcare
Let’s be honest, healthcare and insurance coverage are confusing. Whether you’re in need of it now or later, it’s important to know the basics, so you’re not confused when the time comes. Turning 26 and being ousted from your parent’s insurance creeps up on you faster than you’d think.
Your first step in understanding health insurance should be knowing the terminology and what exactly they mean. If you don’t, it’ll make applying for it all the more confusing and overwhelming. From there you can explore the different plans and what they cover. Then you can begin thinking about what will work best for your individual needs.
If you’re getting healthcare coverage through an employer, lean on your HR department if you’re unsure of what plan is right for you. Their insight and experience can prove to be extremely valuable as you navigate the application process for the first time.
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Be Prepared for Anything
Last but not least, it’s extremely important for you to be prepared for anything. Yes, that’s vague, but it’s also very true.
Being prepared for anything can take different forms. To financially cover unexpected events, be sure to build up an emergency fund that you only touch in an actual emergency. For natural disasters, have a kit handy at home with batteries, non-perishable foods, water and more. Also, in your car have a kit that contains the same things previously listed but also include hats, gloves, blankets, etc.
These are just a few examples of some preparedness basics. There are undoubtedly other examples for more specific cases, but the critical thing is that you put some safeguards in place.
With all the learning you do in college, there are still some major life lessons you aren’t getting. Society relies on us learning these lessons from family or by just experiencing them first hand. Having a basic understanding of some of the above lessons and preparing yourself for when they do occur can make facing them less overwhelming.
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