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Survival Tips for the Real World

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Sophie asks: Mr. Kate! How’s it going?  I recently graduated from University and am completely overwhelmed entering the “real world”. Any survival tips?

My Answer: Hi Sophie! Going from the routine of college to the “real world” can be a shock. I’m assuming you’re living on your own or with a roommate or even if you’ve moved back in with your parents, you still are a grown up now! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Okay, being a grown up isn’t all that scary. I’m sure you’re totally capable of taking care of yourself, etc. but obviously you want to do that in the best way possible to maintain a great quality of life.

I’ve been out of college/university for a few years now and here are some of the survival tips I’ve learned…some of them the hard way, but I hope they help you in your time of transition.

Mr. Kate’s “Real World” Survival Tips

  • New Habits: Recognize that during any time of change the things you start doing have the potential to become your new habits. So keep that in mind for your health, schedule, eating, spending habits, etc. You’re laying the groundwork for your adult life and habits you form in your 20’s are hard to break later, so make them good ones!
  • Cooking/Food: If you’re living on your own, away from the comforts of cafeteria living and/or mom’s home cooking, you’re going to need to cook for yourself! This doesn’t have to be overwhelming because there are a lot of simple recipes you can get quickly in order to eat healthy and save money. Remember that you want to form the habit that you can provide healthy food for yourself. Go grocery shopping weekly and experiment once per week with making something new. It could be as simple as adding almonds and dried cranberries to your bagged salad mix, etc. Go to Ikea and get yourself some necessary cooking supplies: sharp knife, fry pan, baking pan, mixing bowl, mixing spoons, etc. Some of my favorite easy recipes are: Granny’s Kale Soup (make a big pot and have it for days – or freeze some and have it for months!), Avocado on Wasa Crackers (so simple and healthy), Vegan Lasagna (healthy and great for leftovers) – see more recipes in the Food section.
  • Wash your butt… and armpits… those are the necessary areas and then you’ll be on time for your job. Hair can be washed every 2 or 3 days.
  • Establish a close group of cozy friends. Meaning, the friends that you can hang out with in sweats, complain to, get a quick bite to eat, sit in silence with and watch TV, etc. You don’t need many, just a core group of 1 to 4 or 5 that you can share your journey with and nurture a social life…. and if all else fails, get a therapist, I love mine and wrote about that here.
  • Get a routine down – eat breakfast every day, brush your teeth, pet your cat, and again, wash your butt.
  • Fire – humans need it and it looks great on candles….but learn about Fire safety and while you’re at it, Earthquake safetyFlood safety, etc. in case of any natural disasters you know where to run, hide, stop, drop and roll. That’s an actual survival tip but I think as a young adult you put off those things thinking non of that will ever happen to you and then you’re like me and experience an earthquake in the middle of the night while you’re by yourself and nearly pee your pants!
  • Join a gym, work out class, dance class, figure out a physical activity to do. Important to start out while you’re young because again, you are establishing those habits that will follow you through your adult life. If you can form a love affair with physical activity, it will make the rest of your life so much easier, healthier and longer! My workouts relieve my stress and make me feel better about myself. Some of my favorite workout DVDs and an easy DIY workout you can do outside or with friends.
  • Balance work and play. Establish good work habits that make you functional and successful but make sure you allow yourself some down time too!
  • Give yourself your 20’s to get to know YOU! You will make mistakes, eat a pint of Ben and Jerry and stay up too late (guilty as charged), but you’ll learn through all those moments how you operate and how you want to evolve. Give yourself a good decade to make mistakes and re assess where you are around 27 or 30… give yourself a break and a pat on the back and have fun for fart’s sake! 

Hope those tips help you conquer our scary and beautiful world! Bon voyage!

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