In the real world full of job applications, living at home and crippling debt, the rest of the disillusioned college graduates and I try to do the impossible — find any and every way to survive the post-grad struggle. Here are a few necessities of post-college life to help you physically and mentally ball on a budget:
Literary adventuresThe public library is free and always a good place to disappear and relax, even if just for a few hours. Whether you pick up an old favorite or a new discovery, it's important to keep at least one book around for lengthy commutes or rainy days
A sturdy set of headphonesI was lucky enough to get Beats headphones this Christmas, but I still keep a spare set of $10 earbuds from Walmart as a back-up. These are perfect to block out unnecessary background noise or make it seem like you didn't hear your mom when she said to do the dishes
A gym membershipTo an impossibly poor post-grad, this might sound like stacks on stacks that you haven't racked. Luckily, Planet Fitness has locations all over the country, and with just a few quarters down and couple Washingtons a month, you can be sweating your way to a high endorphin, stress-free lifestyle!
A certified, foolproof hangover cureYou're getting older, and as sad as it sounds, there's just not as much crazy partying in adultland as there was in college, which all adds up to a drastically lowered tolerance. Heartier dinners, strategic drinking and a stockpile of Gatorade will become your absolute blessings in disguise
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Spotify premium (or any other music streaming service)Though I'm still living that free subscription life, this upgrade is the ultimate next step in my personal budget factoring. There's always the option to try it free for the first 3 months and cancel when those bills start to get to real
Access to NetflixThere's always a caring friend out there to lend you their password in a grave time of need. After all, binge watching Grey's Anatomy has been (somewhat) scientifically proven to breed a happier, more medically-educated generation, right?
Your own private spaceMoving back home after 4 years of blissful freedom can be incredibly tough on anyone. It's critical to find a space within your house (and outside of it) that you can escape to when you genuinely need to be alone. Filling your old room with updated posters, pictures and college memorabilia might be the slight adjustment you're looking for
A side hustleWhile you're slaving away on LinkedIn, waiting to be blessed with that glorious first entry-level position, find an easy, fun way to help the cash flow. It's always smart to keep a side hustle, even when full-time employment rolls around, because we all know student loans ain't no joke
Creative outletsNow that all the textbooks are sealed and your thesis is turned in, you'll find that post-college existence consists of almost too much free time — a perfect opportunity to rediscover your true passions. Teach yourself the ukelele, start a blog, knit your grandma some socks — whatever it is, find something you love, anything that will help cheer you up when the weight of the real world gets too heavy
Something to look forward toMore than half of our generation still lives at home with their parents, so chances are there's at least one close friend from high school in your same boat – still unemployed and chillin' down the street. Hit them up for a happy hour or karaoke night to bring a little bit of that college-level fun back into your social life
A solid support systemThe harsh truth is that this is, without a doubt, going to be one of the hardest times in your life. Every attempt at adulting presents itself with a new, more difficult challenge. Now more than ever, it's imperative to have people in your corner who celebrate with you at your best and have a giant bottle of wine on hand at your worst
An unwavering amount of perseveranceCollege was undoubtedly the world of yes – YES to joining some super cool clubs. YES to (barely) passing the semester. YES to staying up until sunrise with some of your favorite people on the planet. So strap on your big kid pants get ready for the kingdom of no: NO, you just aren't the right fit for the position. NO, where are your three years of experience for this entry-level job? NO, don't even think about charging those new clothes to your credit card, you can barely afford a milkshake
Being tossed into the ocean of adulthood from the safe-haven of classrooms is a treacherous swim for any 20-something on the road to real world survival. The key to weathering the storm is to keep pushing on to calmer waters and to never ever give up
Congratulations to all the 2016 graduates! The struggle is far too real, but you're definitely not alone