Attaining a Work-Life Balance in the "Real World"

Okay, so you’ve graduated (or hopefully will soon). Now what? For many of you, college defines the best four (or more) years of your life. Absolute independence, new social experiences, different living situations, and a heightened sense of freedom have all molded you into who you are today. Seems like all play and no work, right? Well, maybe for some of you.

Many of you are undoubtedly finding the “real world” difficult to adjust to. Securing employment, enrolling in graduate school, fighting off the urge to settle in your parents’ house, and soul searching all present new challenges for the graduate entering the “real world.” Call it Post-College Purgatory – everyone finds some form of “work” eventually, even if they thought they could escape with a gap year.

With every new professional or social opportunity comes new responsibilities, experiences, and expectations that may seem foreign compared to college life. The key to succeeding in the real world, however, is attaining an effective work-life balance that allows you to have fun and excel professionally. Here are a few tips that will hopefully make the transition from college to real life easier:

Adjust Your Sleep Schedule

It may sound motherly, but adjusting the times you wake up and go to bed is essential for developing a post-college routine. If you were a night owl in college, or snuck by attending classes with little or no sleep, you’re in for a shocker. Getting 7 - 8 hours of sleep every night is strongly recommended if you want to be at your best not only when you’re working, but also when you hit the gym, go out to dinner, or do anything else to fill your day. Even if your job or classes aren’t “9 to 5,” getting the proper amount of sleep is still beneficial for your overall health.

Hit the Grind at Work

With a solid night of sleep under your belt, you’re ready to take on the day. No matter how tedious or work-intensive your job description reads, or how rigorous your grad school schedule is, you always want to strive to do your best. Many companies and first-year professors expect recent college grads to put in exhaustive amounts of time and energy if they want to succeed in their new roles. Much to your chagrin, this tireless work can only help you grow and succeed and will make an impression on your manager, professor, or boss. It’ll only be a matter of time until the hard work pays off with a promotion, pay raise, or a rocking GPA. Just keep grinding!

Broaden Your Social Horizons

Relocating to a new city after college can be especially daunting. Unfortunately, you’ll have to endure your “third freshman year,” only this time as a real person in perhaps a much larger area with a ton more people. Oh, but there is an upside to this: so many new people to meet, fun things to try, and new places to explore. Ideally, you will move to a city where you have at least a few friends or family members as a support system to introduce you to others. If that’s not the case, look into networking options such as Meetup.com, LinkedIn, or other young professional networking events in your area. Hopefully then you will have created a good foundation of both social and professional options to keep you afoot after college.

Keep In Touch

Chances are that you’ll feel at least a hint of nostalgia after college, and will miss your friends from school. You don’t want to lose those cherished friendships and lasting memories, so staying in touch with your best friends via email, Facebook, Twitter, text, and phone is a must. With our on-the-go lifestyles and practical dependence on email and social media for communicating, we all neglect to pick up the phone. A phone call can really go a long way in our generation. Call your friends, catch up, and try to book a trip within a year after graduation to reunite.

Is this real life? You tell us! Let us know of some other great tips to facilitate the transition from college to the real world and how you strike a solid work-life balance.

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Living Off Campus

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