Becoming an adult is a delicate balance of pretending you know exactly what you are doing while silently wondering how the rest of the world learned to do grownup things. Where was the guidebook for those people, anyway?
Well, we can’t give you the guidebook (let us know if you find one!), but here a few tips to help with the things you may run into while you’re ‘adulting’:
1. Flip a breaker switch.
You’re running the hair dryer getting ready for work or a night out and suddenly *click* the lights turn off. Now what? No need to panic, there is little you can do to the electric of a home that can’t be reset with some fuse-box know-how. Just look for the breaker (that official looking box that’s usually in your basement or laundry room). Open up the door and scan the switches. Most likely, one has a colored flag, is labeled “off”, or has a switch positioned halfway between up and down. That’s the one to move back to ‘on’. Crisis averted.
2. Remember your passwords.
One rite of passage to adulthood is the mass accumulation of passwords. It’s no longer just campus email and your Netflix login now. Do you pay your bills online? Do you have a separate work and personal email account? Student loan account? Credit card login?
Security can be a major issue – so set your passwords intelligently. Try using familiar names with numbers or symbols in place of letters, like: T1ff@ny. If you’re struggling to remember your passwords, the Washington Post has a great guide for keeping track of your passwords without going insane.
3. Read your energy bill.
One of the most fundamental bills you will have for the rest of your adult life is your energy bill. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 people don’t take the time to analyze where their money is going with their energy. There are multiple things you can do to reduce your energy bill so long as you take the time to read what your current expenses are. Become an expert in 5 minutes with our guide to understanding a utility bill. Remember that a direct supplier like IGS Energy can help you control your utility bills with their rate plans and price consistency.
4. Know where your money is going.
Being out on your own means you are the one paying for any decision you make. Good or bad, these decisions dictate a significant amount of your future choices and opportunities. By adjusting your priorities and watching your debt carefully, you can weather many of adulthood’s challenges.
Beware of the Credit Card Trap. Use any credit you have sparingly. If you do use a credit card, try to pay off the bill every month – interest rates are not something to mess with. To help, bring in some software assistance; creating a spreadsheet to help you monitor your budget (Microsoft Office provides a great template) or downloading an app for budgeting can help keep your cash flow top of mind.
5. Let social media work for you – not against you.
You’ve probably heard before that our generation is considered the first “digitally native” generation. Social media is an amazing way to stay connected and share and, as an adult, it can become an invaluable networking tool. However, the lines between personal and professional can blur easily when online. Decide before you get in a sticky situation what your privacy settings are going to be, who you will connect with digitally, and as a result what you will share.
Even though you can ‘delete’ posts, always assume anything you share is permanent. Once you post that photo/video/strongly-worded opinion, it is free to show up in the newsfeed of anybody you’re friends with—your best friend, your mom, your boss, or that contact who one day might just be able to get you your dream job…
6. Enjoy this time of your life!
Becoming independent can be a painful, awkward, and frustrating journey. But in those moments when you just want to dig your head in the sand there is an opportunity to gain some perspective and laugh—everyone reaches this point at some moment in their life, don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t forget to enjoy this time of exploring who you are and building the life you want. After all, you have your whole life ahead of you!