It bamboozles me a bit to think that I’ve officially spent one year of my life out of school. The time altogether has passed very quickly, but each of the 365 days have felt very long, which is odd because school days used to pass faster than the semesters did.
There are moments when I sometimes find myself wanting to return to the stuffy classrooms in Wheeler Hall to learn more from my English classes, but the “real world” has also taught me much during this past year.
Everyone’s “classes” and “lessons” differ so greatly now that we’re on such discrete life paths, so I’ll try to avoid being pedantic. Here are the most off-kilter, practical pieces of advice I can offer you on your official journey to adulthood.
1. Use Dawn dish soap to tackle oil stains on clothes.
I stained one of my new favorite shirts the first time I wore it out, but Dawn dish soap brought it back from the dead. After Woolite failed, my mom suggested I use Dawn, because “if they use it to wash and save the little ducks after oil spills, then it must be safe and effective to use on clothes, too.” Right you are, Mom.
2. Be your own personal pharmacy.
I do not condone taking medication all the time, but I do believe it’s important to understand what works for your body when you’re not feeling well. College is busy and stressful, but you did have the option of skipping class to recover. At work, you should optimally be at a company that allows you time to take care of yourself, but you no longer have the option to just, take a nap at your leisure come 4 p.m.
Figure out how to attack your most common symptoms (for me, those are recurring tendinitis; back pain; and persistent sore throats) and keep whatever things you need to get yourself back to full health as soon as possible.
3. Stock your personal pharmacy with stomach medicines.
This will be the only item(s) I specify because tummy struggles can bring about their own sets of woes, especially for women. There have been days when wearing a particular pair of pants and sitting at work all day has made me bloated, and other days when nerves just unsettle my stomach. Again, I do not condone the constant consumption of medication, but sometimes — a woman really just needs something to settle her stomach before she goes out on a nice date.
4. Sleep is your friend.
Unless you’re one of the miraculously lucky ones, you’ll likely spend at least an hour commuting to work each day. This time, whether it’s spent sitting on public transit or in a car, will drain you more than you might think. It will no longer be possible to run on three hours of sleep, so please, don’t try it. I personally used to take pride in the fact that I was didn’t need a lot of sleep to function. Now, I no longer use that as a fun fact about myself.
5. Sensible shoes are more important than suffering foot pain.
I like nice shoes, but I’m not about to spend about ten hours of my day, five days a week, wearing uncomfortable shoes, just to look nice for work. Life is too short to suffer from unnecessary foot pain, so spend a little more money on shoes that are comfortable. Also, you never know when wearing your favorite pair of shoes will be enough to brighten your day.
6. Avoid Netflix.
Yes, this is coming from the woman who just watched the entire second season of Master of None in one night. In my defense, this likely means I won’t even log onto Netflix for the next year. (The last time I binge watched anything was Master of None, season one, a year ago.)
You don’t have to go to extreme measures to boycott Netflix, but I do strongly advise finding a passion project, a side hustle, anything that can bring you personal joy, pride, and excitement no matter how long your work days get. You can always go back to Netflix, but you can’t get back the time you already spent watching entire series of shows after work.
7. Do what makes you happy.
My advice got progressively more cliché as I went on, but I promise this comes from a more hipster-centered mindset: Just because everyone is going out and sharing exciting Snaps doesn’t mean that you have to join them. Just because everyone is suddenly into going to see mainstream-hipster artists doesn’t mean that you have to go as well. Consume the media that makes you happy, partake in the activities that let you live for each weekend.
You do you, friend.