Life After College: 10 Goals You Can Implement Now Even If You Are A Freshman
Experiencing life after college may still seem like it is so far away. But if you never listen to another older person about anything, listen to them when they say that time goes quickly. It really will all be over before you know it. And then, you’ll be on to new beginnings.
Making sure that you have some good foundations in place now is imperative if you hope to make it far in life and avoid the pitfalls that can keep you from achieving your goals. In this article, we examine 10 things that you can do to ensure you set yourself up for a successful future. And you can start these now, even if you’re a freshman in college. Let’s begin!
1. Adopt Healthy Sleep Patterns
The first important step for a successful life, and one that you’re capable of handling right now on your own, is sleep. Sometimes college students pull all-nighters because they can. However, that sets up a bad habit that’s hard to break.
You may not feel you need the full eight hours of sleep that are recommended. It can become a source of pride to see how long you can stay up. And while it’s true that people have differing needs when it comes to sleep, everyone must get enough. (Whatever “enough” is in their world.)
Don’t let your mouth tell you. Listen to your body instead. If it needs to rest, then by all means give it what it needs. Don’t worry about being perceived as weak. And if you feel like there’s not enough time to get enough sleep, then reevaluate how you’re spending time and the amount you’re wasting on a given day. All of that can be repurposed to get your sleep schedule back on track.
2. Grapple With Your Addictions
We often focus the word addiction on a few major areas, but everyone is susceptible to something. It doesn’t have to be one of the big three (smoking, drinking, drugs).
An addiction to something like Pokemon can be every bit as bad as those that are harmful to your health. At least, it can if you’re allowing it to control your life and get in the way of the things that you need to be doing.
Sit down when you’re in a state of relaxation. Make a list of the different things you struggle with. It could be substance abuse, video games, pornography, food. You name it. Getting it out there in the open will give you the starting point that you need to conquer that addiction and come closer to leading a well-balanced life.
3. Read Each Day
With each passing day, you have an opportunity to become a more intelligent person than you were before. You have this opportunity through the habit of reading.
Audiobooks, ebooks, print books. Determine your preferred method, and create a reading plan where you’re able to get through your list of titles. You don’t have to read a book a day or even a week to start. Just get going!
Reading doesn’t have to be boring. You can grow intellectually no matter what type of material that you choose to read. From summer reading to technical manuals, the act of opening up a book introduces you to a world of thought and knowledge that can be more valuable than any classroom.
Start simply if you have to. The main thing is to move forward.
Journaling is a useful function for how it gets your thoughts onto paper (print or digital), so you can start making sense of what’s inside of you. It can be used to get personal feelings out of your system so you can better focus.
Or, it can help you line out what you know about a specific content area. This enables you to start applying what you’ve learned in a coherent and usable fashion.
It doesn’t matter how you choose to do it. You could go with an old school pen-and-paper or the latest and greatest app. The important thing is to set aside some time for yourself.
During that time, try to process your day. Write (or dictate) about anything of concern. It’s one of the oldest yet most continually effective ways to handle your inner thoughts and emotions.
5. Meditation Or Spiritual Practices
Organized religion is certainly on the decline. Younger generations are also more likely to skew towards atheism or agnosticism. That doesn’t mean spirituality should be off-limits, though. In fact, society will forget it at its peril.
Here’s the thing. For the longest time, belief systems, morality, and inner self has been governed by religion and spirituality. Considering the advancements we’ve made as a society in the last 2,000 years, it’s doing a decent job.
Yes, it has its share of problems. The literal extent to which some believers have taken their beliefs has led to bloodshed and division. But when you drill through all of that, spirituality has still done more good than harm.
Make time to discover your own path in this regard. Take time to pray, meditate, or just reflect on your life. Being alone, being at peace with who you are, will connect to the universe in a way that gives you a sense of peace and belonging through good and bad.
6. Make Fitness Part Of Your Daily To-Do List
Fitness isn’t just for athletes. It’s for everyone. In fact, the quality of your life as you move ahead will have a deep connection to what you start doing now to stay in shape.
Go to the gym. Watch what you eat. Have a sense of your dietary needs as well as the temptations that you need to avoid. Buy those workout clothes that make you feel attractive. Do whatever it takes to prioritize exertion, energy, and activity.
If you feel and look your best, you’ll have more self-confidence. You’ll do better in school and life. Better yet, you’ll live longer and enjoy the life that you have.
7. Master Money
Mastering money before you’ve had a chance to accumulate debts will put you in a good position as you progress through your educational journey. Student loans are generally considered “good” debt because they are an investment in your future and a guarantee against low earnings, at least as it goes compared to those who don’t pursue an education beyond high school.
That can seem hard to fathom when you are having to make payments on your student loans. But if you’ve picked a marketable major, you’ll be able to handle the load. You’ll also come out earning far more money than you ever would have during your lifetime had you not continued your education.
The best thing you can do is to stay away from credit cards, work part-time and save at least 10 percent of each check, and pick a good major. Do these three things, and you’re 75 percent of the way to a financially independent life. The other 25 percent? Don’t have children before you can afford them.
8. Take Vacation Time
Taking frequent vacations can give you a chance to recalibrate your focus. It can help you deal with the monotony of your daily workflow and keep you from burning out on an otherwise good job (or major). But just what do we mean by “frequent” vacations?
It’s impractical to think that you can do something every weekend. You will rack up a ton of debt if you try that. You’ll also run the risk of burning out on recreation time, thus fast-tracking yourself to the life of a workaholic.
No, you have to keep your focus on the things that you have to do. You have to do this without breaking your workflow too often or for too long. Vacation time will help you, but only if you use it sparingly. That’s why we recommend a vacation every quarter or so.
Some of you may not ever find your way to a job that allows four weeks of vacation per year, and that’s okay. You can still pull it off. At least, you can with a little strategy. Do a run-through of holidays each year. Try to plan vacation time where it butts up against long weekends to get a little extra mileage out of your days.
The frequent breaks will help you recharge your mind. They will also give you something to look forward to and work toward.
9. Set Boundaries
Boundaries are so important to the trajectory of your life. They’re important because the failure to set them will inevitably attract the wrong kind of people. The people you attract, in other words, will be the kind who constantly vie for your time and attention in a way that draws energy from you.
Seldom do these people invigorate you. They want what’s in it for them, and it too often comes at the expense of other. They end up siphoning your time and energy until you are doing just enough to get by — no more, no less.
Learning how to say no is one of the most important things you can do for setting boundaries. Remember that you don’t owe people a “No, and here’s why.” Lead with “No.” Nothing more. Put the burden on them to seek whatever they wanted from you elsewhere.
That doesn’t mean you have to be hateful. Nor does it mean you have to disassociate. You just have to set a clear standard so they will know not to ply their time-sucking trade in your neck of the woods.
10. Communicate With Your Loved Ones
Friends and family are the people that you will have with you your entire lives. Don’t let fleeting relationships get in the way of those bonds. Make time each week to reach out to a family member. Even if it’s just a text message or a comment back-and-forth on social media.
The more you keep in contact, the easier it will be to plan meetings and make real ongoing connections. Don’t let yourself get snowed under by life and work and responsibilities. Those things must be managed, but they’re nowhere nearly as important as your support unit, and you need to work hard to keep it as healthy as possible.
Build A Life After College You Will Love
It may not feel like it right now, but life after college begins now. Whether you’re in high school or college, that’s the truth. You’re already being introduced to the issues and situations you will face well into adulthood. Use this time as a testing ground to get it right.
You can do that more effectively by paying close attention to the 10 tips that we’ve shared above. But what about you? Do you have some other tips that you’d like to throw into the mix? If so, we’d love to hear them. Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Pixabay Creative Common License]