Thursday, July 31, 2014

Survival Tips for Graduates Living at Home

Like most recent graduates, I had grand plans of staying in the city after school and enjoying life as an urban 20-something. Reality eventually caught up with me, and I quickly realized that it was in my best interest to take some time away from Chicago in order to save up some money. Before I knew it, I was packing up boxes, saying goodbye to my roommates and heading back to live in the suburbs with my parents. While nights out to dinner with my family are vastly different from nights out at bars and parties with my friends, I'm starting to get the hang of this whole moving-back-in-with-my-parents thing, and I thought that I would share a few tips with you guys to make your adjustment a little easier.

Have a plan | While I was wrapping up my senior year, I was fortunate enough to be offered a job that would have started literally the day after I walked the stage at graduation. While some people will advise you to take anything that you can get so you can start making money, I was also fortunate enough to be in a position where I had some cushion and didn't need to start working right away. I turned down the job because it wasn't aligned with the area that I hoped to be working in and honestly just didn't excite me. I knew that I could keep on searching for a better opportunity throughout the summer while enjoying some time off, but I also knew that I couldn't be unemployed forever, so I made sure to come up with a plan. I set goals for myself every week pertaining to the number of people that I would reach out to and network with and the number of positions that I would apply for. Having a plan makes the job search process SO much more manageable and ensures that you actually make progress towards your goals during your time off. 

Pitch in a little bit | You are living at home, which is ultimately saving you money on rent, food and utilities. While moving in with your parents may not have been exactly what you wanted, in the end they are doing you a favor and helping you out a ton, so it's only fair that you help them out as well. Think back to those chores you did in high school, pick up the broom and start doing them again. Offer to cook dinner every now and then or run errands for your mom. Your parents will be appreciative and you'll feel like you're earning your keep. 

Update your bedroom | The first time that I was able to decorate my bedroom on my own, I was in the midst of a major pink phase. I still like the color quite a bit, but I just don't feel the need to have it splashed all over my walls anymore. Since I'll be living in the room I grew up in at least for the next few months, I have plans to swap out the pink for a pale blue or purple and to kick a bunch of the clutter to the curb. Giving your room an update will ensure that you don't feel like you've reverted back to high school. 

Set up a routine | As unfortunate as it is, gone are the days of sleeping in until 11 and then spending the next three hours on the couch having a Sex and the City marathon {guilty}. Finding a job should be treated as a job and that includes waking up at a consistent, normal hour. I've been working towards getting up at 7 a.m. every morning. While it seemed impossible at first, I'm learning to love the peacefulness that comes with early rising and the extra four hours in my day. You should carve out a better portion of your day to commit to sitting down, searching for relevant positions, writing out cover letters, sending networking emails and applying for positions, but make sure to also set aside time each day to work out and to take a few breaks. Reward yourself at the end of a productive day by spending time on something you enjoy. For me, this means reading through my favorite blogs or doing something creative.

With Love,
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