Transitioning To Life On Your Own

“If you thought college gave you a lot of free time, it’s nothing compared to the real world. When you’re not at work, you have nothing but free time, and that can be a little boring or overwhelming. Find out what’s important to you and maintain one or two hobbies. Keep in touch with your family and friends. And don’t stress over working too much, you can do that for the next 40 years.” Matthew H. ’15
“Try to have fun with the process. It can be stressful at times, but you’ll look back and laugh, so you might as well laugh in the moment.” Anansa B. ’15,
“If you have time, pick up a side job to meet new people and make money for adventures. I host trivia around town and meet folks outside of the office.” – Douglas B. ’15
“Follow your heart and live your passion! When you do something that you love, others will feed off this positive energy and everything you do will be impactful.” Morgan P. ’15
“Don’t forget to have a life even if work feels like it’s all consuming.” Nahoma P. ’15
“Leaving college and starting a new chapter in life is really challenging and it is the hardest thing you will ever have to do, but always try to keep your head high and look on the bright side of things.” Ioannis Z. ’14
“As someone who is working full time and preparing to apply to professional school, it is important to budget your free time to meet your goals.” Ryan W. ’15
“Take online courses via Coursera, Lynda, or another online resource. Excel is a useful program to know, especially for the business world.” Lauren K. ’15
“You only get out of work what you put in. Enjoy life, but work hard and always be mindful of the future.” David W. ’15
“Create reminders to make sure you pay all of your bills on time!” –Mary Abbe R. ’13
“It is super important to find things to take your mind off of work or school or whatever else you are doing. I, for example, love playing ultimate Frisbee. The great part about ultimate Frisbee is that no matter where I end up I know there is a group of people with whom I have a shared interest. Moving around after college, I have met some of my closest friends through ultimate Frisbee.” –Douglass B. ’10
“It’s going to suck for a while—every transition does. But you’re not the only one doing it. Focus on being happy with who you are and what you’re doing. It really doesn’t matter how your life compares to that of your peers.” –Adrienne W. ’11
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“You’re not going to be able to do everything you want to do. Having a vibrant social life is fun, but sometimes you need to take time for yourself to make sure you get enough sleep, go to the gym, or do things that are important to your physical and mental health.” –David L. ’09
“Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. Try something new—you might like it!” –Rachel A. ’07
“There’s no more curriculum: you set your own goals. The lack of structure can be daunting at first, but once you come to terms with it, it is extraordinarily liberating.” –Nick L. ’14
“Leave your work at work as much as you can. If you have a work email, try not to check it at home. If you can’t stop yourself from checking it, don’t respond until you’re at the office.” –Melissa G. ’13
“Meliora
“Your first job can be challenging at times, particularly one where everyone is a workaholic. This develops an unhealthy routine leading to burn out. Leave time for yourself.” –Michael C. ’07
“Do a time audit. Track what you’re spending your time on for a few days, and then see how you can use your time more effectively.” –Patrick M. ’13
“Make time for ‘me’ time. Personal development doesn’t stop.” –Gemma S. ’09
“I try to have one to two activities planned during the week to keep myself from just sitting around when I get home from work.” –Anonymous
“At first it’s a hard transition to realize that you now have to work for the next 40 years of your life with no summer breaks. Be sure to try and balance your work and life plans, take vacations, try not to take too much work home, and throw yourself out into new experiences. I found that no longer having homework and now making money actually made for more freedom than you had in college, and it’s a very exciting experience.” –Anonymous
“Get involved in your new location. This way, you can create friends and a lifestyle.” –Catalina B. ’07
“Prioritize your personal and social life! I currently work 20 hours per week as a graduate assistant and am a full time graduate student. This gets busy, but I would be miserable if I didn’t prioritize social life. It’s all about time management strategies.” –Lindsay W. ’10
“Learn to live with yourself and accept being lonely from time to time. If you can’t live with yourself, no one else will want to, either.” –Allison G. ’08
“Keep your house clean—you never know who is coming by. Once you’ve been out of college a year or two, ‘dorm style’ living becomes quite a turn off.” –Elizabeth C. ’08
“Join a club or other group to make new friends, and also just get out of the house!” –Elizabeth C. ’08
“Enjoy yourself, but now is a time in your life when you can really throw yourself into your work before you have other commitments.” –Travis B. ’12
“You are going to be lonely the first few months. You will miss the U of R and your friends. This is when using all methods of keeping in touch become important. Still, you can’t live in the past. While remaining in good communication with those you care about, you also need to get outside and live your life. Go to clubs at grad school, or to happy hours at work, or join a social group in your community.” –Dan G. ’14
“It’s tougher than you’d probably expect. Stay close with your friends from college. People are the greatest asset in your life and they should always be the most important.” –Anonymous
“Make time for sleep and working out. Do not let either interfere with your work life, of course, but you may find that getting enough rest and physical activity improves your work/life balance. Don’t forget to make family a priority, even if it’s just a phone call or an email. Your family members will appreciate it.” –Diana D. ’08
“I would like to emphasize safety. Please remember that you are no longer in the safety net that is college. There are not blue lights on every corner and walking to Starbucks at night is much different than a trip to Starbucks from Rush Rhees at night. This is not to scare you but to remind you that you should always be aware of your surroundings. Furthermore there might not be a residential office to ensure that your appliances are functioning properly. Consult your landlord to ensure that your smoke detector batteries are replaced and that your locks are working properly. Be accountable for your own safety.” –Janise C. ’13
“Feeding yourself is important. I gained a lot of weight because I didn’t make time to plan my meals or cook a healthy meal at home. I used to go out to eat a lot and as a result spent a lot of money and gained a lot of pounds. Put time into planning and into cooking. In the end, it’s all worth it.” –Angie S. ’11
“Even though you’re on your own, call your parents. They’ll appreciate it and you won’t have to deal with the guilt when you finally make it home.” –Alexander P. ’07
“It is much harder to meet people outside of the college bubble. Try to keep up the activities you enjoyed as an undergraduate and look for community groups, sports teams, etc. in order to build up a new social circle.” –Emily W. ’10
“After the work day, you might be exhausted. Make time to go out with friends. Go to work happy hours and get to know your colleagues. Get to know the city you live in.” –Ross B. ’09
“I always did my best studying at UR in the library. I was never good about studying in my dorm room. I learned that the same is true for me after graduation. I’m not very productive at home. I plan to stay late at work or take my work to the local library or coffee shop when I need to get stuff done.” –Sarah W. ’08
“If you find that it works best for you, set up a schedule and stick to it. You can schedule things like working out or reading before or after your workday, depending on what works best for you.” –Andrea M. ’12
“Try something new and explore your area but balance that with time to yourself! Mondays are my days to catch up on all the errands, chores, and cooking I didn’t give myself enough time to do on the weekend.” Jill D. ’16, Health Care, Non-Medical
“It’s hard to find time to do everything I want to do. Especially when you’re not on campus where everything you need to do is like 15 minutes away from everything else. Commuting is soul-sucking, but make the best of it. I’ve read close to 50 books since June and I only sometimes read on the trains. As an added bonus, it’s a great way to avoid eye contact with weirdos.” Teresa R. ’16, Medicine
“Never stop learning. Travel while you are young. Don’t get caught up on frivolous spending. It’s okay to stay in for a weekend – bars are expensive and there aren’t parties every weekend like in college.” Ha L. ’16, Business
“Make a plan for yourself and go from there. Congratulate yourself for your small and big achievements to help stay motivated. Ask people for advice on what to do.” –Simone A ’16, Social Services
“It is important to budget time for self-care. Busy work, school, and life schedules often get in the way of taking care of our basic needs. I definitely make a point to eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, and catch up on all of my TV shows!” Jessica R. ’16, Nursing
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“Don’t let other people tell you what should be important to you. Whatever drives your decisions – a thirst for new knowledge, the promise of exciting career opportunities, or the love of your life – be honest with yourself and others about your motivators, or you won’t find happiness and peace. The people who are important to you will learn to trust you know what’s best for you.” Maya K. ’16
“Learn how to prioritize and work on time management.” Elias D. ’16, Information Technology
“I really had to learn how to enjoy doing a lot of things on my own that I had usually done surrounded by a ton of friends at college. My biggest piece of advice is to put yourself out there, because there’s nothing to lose! This transitioning phase in life is a really great time to figure out who you are on your own.” Kelsey S. ’16, Health Care, Non-Medical
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Moving Back Home

“There is nothing wrong with moving home. Whether it’s a long term plan to save some money, or a short term plan as you find a job, moving back home is actually a great option. Just be careful not to get too comfortable and be sure to have some level social life. And if it’s rent free, be sure not to piss off your landlord.” Matthew H. ’15
“It may be hard to go back to living with your parents after living on your own for four years, but it is a GREAT money saver.” –Alyssa B. ’10
Alumni Events in your city
“Get a job, even if it’s retail or something you don’t want to do, in the meantime. I moved home for the summer after graduation but got a job canvassing in a city 45 minutes away, and it was great to spend time out of the house and also meet new people.” –Miriam F. ’13
“If you can live at home with mom and dad and work a full time job, DO IT. You can build up a huge savings very quickly if you don’t have to pay rent. Although having your own apartment and freedom is great, spending a year or two at home to build up a large savings can make a huge difference for the rest of your life.” –David L. ’09
“I moved home after graduation. It was important for me to save up money before making the jump to total independence. It’s difficult with your parents after having autonomy during college. Make sure you’re still respectful of them…it’s their house!” –Rachel Y. ’14
“Everyone does it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to become complacent.” –Anonymous
“Set boundaries before you get back. You’re a different person than you were in high school, but your parents won’t necessarily see you like that. Try to not fall into old patterns you had before college. Just because you live at home doesn’t mean you can’t do awesome things and have a life—don’t use it as an excuse.” –Melissa G. ’13
“Be patient—living with your parents again may mean living with their rules again. Respect their wishes and save your money so that you can move out on your own if you do not like abiding by their rules.” –Diana D. ’08
“It can be hard sometimes, but try to stand living at home for as long as you can – the money you save makes it so worth it. Try to be helpful around the house, and follow the rules. It’s a great time to bond with your parents, so remember that you won’t always be able to see them as often as you’d like.” –Matt B. ’14
“You must realize that your parents are trying to help you, so try not to abuse the privilege of living rent-free at home by going out and partying all the time. Be patient, save as much money as you can, and set a goal date to find your own place.” –Anonymous
“Realize that you are not living on your own anymore and this experience comes with wonderful family time and adjustments. It’s a process and it takes time for both parties to get used to.” –Madeleine C. ’08
“After your undergraduate education, you are an independent, mature adult. Moving home will likely cause old habits to come up and you may find yourself being treated like a younger version of yourself. Old habits die hard! So unless you are aggressively battling student loans and have an A-level relationship with your parents, skip moving home.” –Guy M. ’10
“Pay rent, even if you’re living at home.” –Adrienne W. ’11
“Depending on your parents, it may range from complete freedom to having to ask for permission to go anywhere. I was used to staying out late and staying busy with the dance groups I was in so coming home was difficult because I had a 10 pm curfew and was driven everywhere. My advice would be to talk with your parents and let them know that you are just about a responsible adult and are used to being on your own and it would be easier to transition if you both reached a compromise.” –Maritza G. ’14
“Offer to chip in (a good amount!) for food, utilities, etc. It will set the tone for a more adult life, unless you want to live like you’re in high school again.” –Elizabeth C. ’08
“Living with mom and dad doesn’t need to be a struggle. Ask your parents what they expect of you, and be honest about your needs during this transitional time of your life. Put every and all expectations out there, and establish some rules for living together—just like with roommates.” –Arielle F. ’10
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“Appreciate spending time with your parents.” –Justin G. ’10
“Treat your parents like (or better than!) roommates. Clean up after yourself, do the dishes, and offer to cook. Your parents should not have to tell you to clean your room anymore! Don’t forget to thank your parents because they do not have to let you live there. They are doing you a favor and deserve to be shown thanks and appreciation.” –Sarah W. ’08
“Your mom and dad (and siblings, if any) will drive you slowly insane. It sucks, but think of how much money you’re saving. Try to see friends and take time for yourself to preserve your mind. Find hobbies that remove you from the house periodically (i.e. running, walking the dog, etc.).” Teresa R. ’16, Medicine
“Remember that even if you’re grown, they’re still your parents. I would recommend staying at home for the first year or two, then look at moving out. This will allow you to save money and gain work experience.” Sailesh D. ’16, Information Technology
“Just know that your situation is temporary, but enjoy it while you can. Spend time with your family, but also work towards having your own space in some shape or form. And know that roommates always help keep expenses somewhat at bay – just make sure they are people you know and trust first!” –Stephanie S. ’16, Military
“If you’re willing to do it, it’s likely the cheapest option. It will definitely help you in terms of saving for big purchases in the future, but make sure you plan ahead and control your spending, otherwise you won’t actually save anything.” Matt A. ’16, Engineering
“Make a plan for next steps. There’s nothing wrong with going back for a few months, but don’t take it for granted or use it as an excuse to delay your goals or striving for independence.” Dominick S. ’16, Law

Forming New Relationships

“Put yourself out there! If you’re relocating to a new city, moving into a place with roommates can be especially helpful, even if it is just temporary. Ask your current friends if they know anyone living in that city as well, even if they’re from high school. When meeting people for the first time it’s okay to admit you just moved and don’t know many people in this new city, they might even take you under their wing.” Ryan W. ’15
“Smile at people. It goes a long way.” –Adrienne W. ’11
“Ask questions of those around you; everyone loves talking about themselves.” –Rachel A. ’07
“Making new friends will be easier than you think, but it helps to put yourself out there. Ask people at work to eat lunch with you sometimes and try to organize or attend happy hours. Eventually you’ll find friends at work or people through friends at work. You can also join groups outside of work, like a sports league, if you’re into that. I joined a women’s soccer league. Meetup.com is also a great way to find friends who have similar interests.” –Mary Abbe R. ’13
“Go out and meet new people. If the people in your office are talking about going to a happy hour, ask to come! Also, there are a ton of dating sites for young people: OkCupid, Tinder, and Hinge. These are great places to meet a potential significant other or just make more friends.” –Rachel T. ’10
“Be open-minded and don’t be afraid to attend events that are a little out of your comfort zone. Also, do not compromise yourself when it comes to friendship or dating. You’re too busy for that, and your relationships won’t be satisfying as a result, if they even last at all. Be yourself.” –Diana D. ’08
“Keeping up with old friends might mean talking or emailing only once a month. This is normal for post-college life. Think about how you connect best with your friends, and keep those communications lines open while leaving yourself enough time to forge new friendships wherever you are now.” –Erin O. ’11
“After you graduate, the dating world is very different. You are no longer literally surrounded by people of similar age with similar interests looking for similar things—the transition is a little rough! I was surprised at how my friends and I responded to this differently, and what I learned is this: do your own thing, do what makes sense for your situation, and do not apologize to yourself or others for that. Once you figure out what it is you want and commit to it, you will surprise yourself by the relationships that will form!” –Casey L. ’09
“I had a lot of trouble at first making friends as a post-graduate, but then I realized that I was trying to make things work with people with whom I ultimately didn’t have a connection. We had little in common and it just felt awkward all around. Find the people who you don’t have to work too much around. Maybe they’re not where you are right now. In an extreme case, I had to move across the country to find close friends, but I’m so glad I did that. If you’re not invested in making things successful where you are, then you need to reflect and search out the people who will make you happy.” –Lauren B. ’10
“Be willing to try new things. If you meet a girl or boy you may be interested in dating and they suggest doing something that is not immediately appealing to you, go try it. You might just find out you like it and the other person at the same time. Go on lots of random dates with people even if you’re not looking for a relationship. Casual dating is a great way to learn about yourself as well as how to interact with someone you may consider a significant other.” –David L. ’09
“Be outgoing. Kickball is always popular for the young twenty- somethings. Craigslist roommates can turn out to be a great resource, as long as you get along with them. You can meet friends of friends of friends that way.” –Anonymous
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“Volunteering and taking fun classes is a good way to make new friends. Don’t date just because it seems like you should have a significant other by now. Do it because you want to get to know someone better. Otherwise, just don’t do it.” –Anonymous
“Be open-minded. Attend networking and happy hour events and you will find other people in your same situation. You can’t meet people if you aren’t social and never leave your apartment.” –Anonymous
“Boundaries are also different outside of college. At UR you already have a connection and a baseline of trust because you attend the same school with these people. Outside of the college bubble, girls especially should be more careful about how much personal information they share with a new date.” –Emily W. ’10
“It will never be as easy to meet people as it was in high school or college. That’s just reality. So find what you really love to do—any hobby at all—and go find other people who love to do it too. That will at least give you a good start.” –Allison G. ’08
“True love probably can’t be found in a bar. I met my husband through online dating. It’s becoming more and more common to use online dating, especially in big cities.” –Sarah W. ’08
“Join groups! Take lessons! Go out for (a moderate number of) drinks after work with colleagues. Unless you feel unsafe with the person, don’t say no to a date. The important stuff in a relationship can’t usually be vetted without spending at least a few hours together. And be honest early about things that are important to you, as well as things that you feel quite neutrally about.” –Elizabeth C. ’08
“Be active! Go to festivals and free outdoor activities when the weather is nice. Do what makes you happy too! It may be a new city or place, and it’s great to try new things, but be sure to continue to do the things that also bring you joy.” –Kellie I. ’10
“Just like in college, doing activities outside of work is a great way to meet people! If you are in a city, you are bound to find a group of people who meet up and do an activity you enjoy (book clubs, religious organizations, sports clubs, etc.) You can of course socialize with people you meet at work, but you might find yourself in a company full of people significantly older than you, which could make this less of an attractive option.” –Anonymous
“Dating sites. It’s a moderate-size investment up-front in the form of creating a profile and filling in the details, but once you get it up-and-running you’re meeting new people without relying on luck or lots of time and energy. Free sites are perfectly fine; there’s no need to pay for a membership/subscription. And any of them will do; it’s mostly about increasing the chances of meeting someone you click with. So pick your favorite and start chatting!” –Matias P. ’14
“I made a lot of new friends through my graduate program. We are all facing similar challenges and experiences right now, so it’s nice to have a group of friends who understand if you can’t come out one night because you’re stuck in lab doing an experiment—they’ve been there before too. They respect the work that you’re doing, but also want to hang out and have fun. If you have any groups you were involved with in college, finding ways to continue your involvement post-grad is a great way to make new friends.” –Andrea M. ’12
“Find friends outside of your profession/graduate program.” Katherine V. ’15
“Find your interests.” Robin W. ’14
“Try and build your friend groups around work, mutual friends, and religious and events.” Elias D. ’16, Information Technology
“Get involved in the area. Talk to your coworkers about what there is to do. Find an activity and try out a few places: if you’re religious, find a church; into sports, find a local club or a team at work; like fitness, join a gym; like volunteering, find a group or event in the area to get started.” Matt A. ’16, Engineering
“Meliora
“Be open to new experiences, but also stay true to yourself. Step outside your comfort zone to meet new people, but don’t step so far that you start acting/becoming something you are not or do not wish to be.” – Stephanie S. ’16
“Make sure you’re surrounded by people who have qualities that inspire you. Your free time is now highly limited and you only get thirty thousand days on earth. Make them all count.” Richard H. ’16, Finance
“Make friends in the company you work for. I’m still trying to figure out the dating scene after college.” Ha L. ’16, Business
“Do something you’re passionate about! You’re likely to find other people with similar interests. I’m meeting new friends every day while I hike!” Gina D. ’16
“Smile! Talk to people and be friendly to make friends. Try to find people at work with common interests or hobbies to talk to or hang out with.” Teresa R. ’16, Medicine
“Get involved in a recreation league or group activity.” – Sandra W. ’15, Engineering
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Achieving Personal and Professional Goals

“Cooking for myself wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped it would be. A lot of people will get meals through the mail. But if you want to do it yourself, I suggest spending a long weekend with the best cook you know (your Mom, Dad, sister, Grandma, whoever). Get 4 or 5 recipes under your belt and you’ll soon learn to explore on your own.” Matthew H. ’15
“YouTube videos.” Isabella T.V. ’14
“YouTube has every recipe you need.” Anansa B. ’15
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“Pinterest is great for recipes. Look for healthy meals on a budget. Try to cut out a lot of the junk you probably ate in undergrad. You’re an adult in the ‘real world,’ you will see your body turn to garbage if you feed it garbage.” Kendra H. ’14
“YouTube videos and online recipes are a life savior.” Ioannis Z. ’14
“Call your parents and tell them you took their housework for granted. Ask for recipes and tips.” Ryan W. ’15
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“Look up simple recipes online and make your shopping list accordingly. Practice makes perfect.” David W. ’15
“Find friends who can cook and have them teach you a dish or two. Trying on your own can be expensive if you mess up and then waste your ingredients. Having someone show you means you learn and get to eat delicious food.” – Patricia C. ’15
“Get a George Foreman grill. You don’t need to know how to cook at all – just Google how long to put a piece of meat (or vegetable) on for and you will have tasty food in no time. Also, embrace prepared food from Trader Joes.” – Emma A. ’15
“Never underestimate the frozen food section. It is your friend.” Hannah V. ’15
“I participated in a mentor group through the Association for Women in Science. If you are a female in STEM, I recommend looking into it. Meeting with other women in science on a regular basis kept me accountable for the goals I had shared with them.” –Rosemary Z. ’10
“Write your goals down and hang them up on a mirror or wall. You need to be reminded of your goals every day.” –Anonymous
“Keep in touch with your mentors from UR. Make a five-year plan— even if you don’t end up following it. Having a plan and setting goals can help you figure out what you actually want.” –Madeleine C. ’08
“Try to continually educate yourself on many subjects. I take online courses in whatever interests me and I read a lot of books ranging in topics such as economics, business, finance, statistics, physics, astronomy, etc. The more you can learn, the more interesting you will be as a person and that also helps with job interviews and your future career development.” –David L. ’09
“Keep good habits. Eat healthy, make time for exercise, get enough sleep, nurture relationships, show up to work ready to work and put the cell phone away.” –Lauren R. ’10
“Focusing on the right things has helped me achieve goals in both areas. Don’t let outside noise interfere with your relationships or your work ethic.” –Diana D. ’08
“Create an implementation intention. Basically, you link some cue to a response that gets you closer to your goal by framing your goal as ‘if-then’ statements. For example, if your goal is to read more, frame it as ‘if it’s 7 p.m., then I will read for 15 minutes.’” –Patrick M. ’13
“Be reasonable with your goals and set big and small, long- and short-term goals. If your only goals are really huge and long-term, it can feel daunting and that you’re not going anywhere. I created smaller goals to reach a larger one and that helped me a lot.” –Anonymous
“Read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, know how much you can accomplish with how much less sleep, and spend at least twenty minutes per day with two people whose time is more valuable than yours.” –Guy M. ’10
“I gave myself about six months to adjust to work and living in a new city. Now that I’ve established a network at work and some solid friends, I’m starting to work on applying to graduate school. It’s definitely good to let yourself enjoy having free time after work and on the weekends, if you’re planning on going back to school eventually. Appreciate the free time that comes with a 40 hour/week job and make a deadline to start actively working on the next step in your career.” –Mary Abbe R. ’13
“I took my time getting settled into a way of life. The first few years were rocky and I felt nervous about committing my time to any one thing. But now that I feel stable at work and have reliable local friends, I’ve begun to expand my horizons and pursue goals I’ve harbored for several years. Patience pays off.” –Allison G. ’08
“I actually write out my goals and check them off when I achieve them. Might sound corny, but I love seeing a goal checked off.” –Emily H. ’12
“I keep a planner and make sure I find time to exercise or do one non-school or work-related thing each day—even if it’s something small like rearranging a drawer. It’s also really important to me to talk to friends who live out of town on the phone at least once a month. Time seems to move faster as you get older so it’s really important to keep on top of the things and people that matter to you.” –Megan H. ’09
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“I always find an opportunity to network. I attended my job’s annual holiday party knowing that my interviewer, deputy director of administration of the psychiatric hospital, would be in attendance. To my surprise, he was so ecstatic to see me that he introduced me to his colleagues, one being the executive director of the psychiatric hospital. Now I have multiple contacts who are able to help me as I pursue my career as a mental health counselor.” –Janise C. ’13
“Set SMART goals—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. You don’t want to set things that are unreasonable and get discouraged. I like to set goals, but really take it one task/one day at a time. Then I review and re-evaluate every three months for short-term goals and six months for long-term goals. Life/priorities change so it is always good to make sure what you are shooting for is still what you want.” –Matthew F. ’08
“Work as hard as possible. Envision your goal and connect what you’re doing now to what you want to be doing in the future. Make everything you do goal-oriented.” –Will H. ’14
“Keep looking for the next big opportunity.” –Anonymous
“Professionally, I’ve been working on building my network so that I can reach out to professionals who have had similar experiences as me and are now working in a field that I am interested in. Having them as a resource for advice will help me achieve my professional goals during and after graduate school.” –Andrea M. ’12
“This is something that I’m working on improving, but in general I try to do things, especially in the work place, at a standard of 110%. I think that prioritizing what you’re working on, or need to do in your personal life, will help you to achieve your goals.” –Anonymous
“Surround yourself with people who make you better.” –Gregory M. ’08
“I think that seeing my classmates’ successes is my biggest motivator to keep plugging along with my professional goals.” –Emily W. ’10
“Focus on what really matters to you and find a way to do it. Do your best and try not to be too hard on yourself. It’s hard to go from zero to adult in like 5 minutes.” Teresa R. ’16, Medicine
“I took on side projects outside of my job to keep myself invested and engaged. I’m taking online courses that may lead to an accelerated master’s degree.” Ha L. ’16, Business
“Stay close to the thought leaders and the rainmakers. You don’t know anything at 22 – they do.” Richard H. ’16, Finance
“As a professional, I would say that it’s incredibly important to keep learning new skills and technologies, as we live in a constantly changing world. Your formal education may be done, but that doesn’t mean you’re done learning. I would recommend Coursera and EdX as good tools.” Sailesh D. ’16, Information Technology
“Having the confidence to try new things and put yourself out there is key to achievement. Believing in yourself and your abilities will take you far.” Jessica R. ’16, Nursing
“Always challenge yourself.” Elias D. ’16, Information Technology
“Keep up learning beyond classroom or office.” Robin W. ’14
“Keep in touch with old bosses, co-workers, and professors! I spent my spring break in Rochester and used the time to get coffee with some of the connections I made as an undergrad.” Katherine V. ’15
Alumni Benefits

Learning Your Way Around The Kitchen

“Get a CPA if you’ve lived in two states.” Isabella T.V. ’14
“For filing taxes, there are companies that will do it for free if you are low-income.” Anansa B. ’15
“Look for free tax services like Turbo Tax, who offer free state and federal taxes for some, or CASH Coalition, who also facilitates free tax prep services. Get to know the tax language; it’ll help you save money by completing them yourself.” Kendra H. ’14
“Recent grads are lucky. Chances are you don’t own a home, have the majority of your income come from a singular source, and don’t have any dependents. Despite what TV has made tax returns seem to be, it’s relatively easy.” Ryan W. ’15
“Always save important paperwork. There are two schools of thought on taxes. If you want to keep money in the short run, then over-declare dependents but you may end up with a smaller refund or possibly owing money. If you under-declare, then you pay more taxes now but will end up with a bigger refund.” David W. ’15
“Check with your parents; technically they can still claim you if you were only self-sufficient for half of the year (aka starting after graduation).” – Emma A. ’15
“The U of R paperwork relating to financial aid can be tricky. Make sure you look at it closely before filing your taxes.” Hannah V. ’15
“I love to cook and I think a lot of people have this unnecessary belief that cooking is difficult. I try new recipes on the weekends, while sticking to the basics during the week in order to save time after work. Another time-saver is to cook dinner for two and save half for lunch the next day. That way you don’t have to make your lunch after you’re done making dinner. If you buy any products in glass jars, save them to store things like dried beans, rice, pasta, and flour (they also make good glasses if you don’t want to spend money on new ones).” –Mary Abbe R. ’13
Alumni Benefits
“Always start with a recipe, but then experiment from there. If it turns out poorly, you can always order a pizza! If you like something at a restaurant, try and recreate it using healthier ingredients where you can.” –Jonathan A. ’09
“I recommend buying a basic cook book (like Betty Crocker or The Joy of Cooking) or look online for recipes. I look for recipes with a reasonable number of ingredients (fewer than eight) and common ingredients that you can use for other recipes.” –Katrina B. ’08
“Make a grocery list, and if your local grocery store posts weekly specials, start your list with the items you need that are on sale. If you have a long commute in the morning and you aren’t a morning person, make your breakfast for the week on Sunday. I make hard- boiled eggs that I take with me to work.” –Mary Abbe R. ’13
“Try new recipes! Cooking is fun. Try to remain healthy (saves money too), and not go out as much to restaurants.” –Lindsay W. ’10
“Eating out is fine every so often, but don’t make a habit of it. Learn to make a few dishes really well, and then branch out if you so choose.” –Nick B. ’14
“Frozen, steam-in-the-bag vegetables and 90-second rice! Hands down the fastest, easiest, healthy meal. Some are already lightly seasoned. Also canned soup, peanut butter, and oatmeal. Couldn’t survive without them.” –Lauren R. ’10
“There are plenty of simple meals you can cook that require very little effort or knowledge and are cheap and reasonably healthy. Baked chicken costs about $2 to make and is very easy. Pasta dishes are also very easy to make and very inexpensive. Start watching Food Network and read food blogs if you are interested in learning more about cooking, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes when trying to cook something new.” –David L. ’09
“You will learn through trial and error. Bacon burns fast, so be careful. Eggplant needs to be sliced thinly and soaked in salt water to take away the bitterness. Vegetables are your friend. So is Trader Joe’s. Get a Crock-Pot.” –Dan G. ’14
“Find five foods you like to eat. Learn how to make those. Repeat. The less ingredients/steps, the better. This will save time and money and is usually healthier.” –Gemma S. ’09
Budgetbytes.com is AWESOME. It offers new and interesting (and easy!) recipes, broken down by the price it will cost you to make them based on the price of ingredients. You can sign up to have recipes emailed to you daily.” –Caitlin C. ’11
“Take a cooking class!” –Joana B. ’10
“Ask someone for help! Baking is a science; cooking is an art. Most people who are good cooks/bakers are more than happy to point you in the right direction when you’re just starting out.” –Rachel A. ’07
“Search the internet for cooking instructions. If you have a grocery store that is conveniently located, only buy what you need for upcoming meals. Keep it simple—extra ingredients add up financially and make things way more complicated. Cook in bulk and then freeze the extra food in individual serving containers so that you have meals ready when you need them. For recipes, use the internet and popular blogs such as SkinnyTaste.” –Diana D. ’08
“I’d recommend investing in a resource like Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. It covers the basics of different cooking techniques, has references for things like how much water to use when cooking different grains, and gives basic easy-to-follow, but also easy-to-customize, recipes index by main ingredient.” –Chelsea D. ’10
“Even if it reminds you of something your grandmother would do, cooking in bulk can be a great time and money saver. Make up a big batch of soup, chili, lasagna or something else freezer-friendly and store it in individual servings–perfect for a quick dinner or to bring to work.” –Chelsea D. ’10
“Julia Child is on Hulu! Get out some cookbooks from the library and go for it! Finding recipes online is easy, but using a book can help you push your cooking boundaries. Also, invite friends over who like to cook or like to eat and learn from them.” –Madeleine C. ’08
“Learn one new dish at a time. Trying to overhaul your weekly menu all at once is impractical and exhausting!” –Erin O. ’11
“Don’t be afraid to try different cuisines.” –Michael C. ’07
“Some things are really easy to start with. Roasting veggies: cut up veggies, toss with olive oil, put them in the oven at 400°, cook for 20 minutes, and check on them once or twice. Tacos: buy tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, shells, taco seasoning, and ground beef/turkey. You have dinner in 15 minutes!” –Arielle F. ’10
“When you find a good recipe online, print it and put it somewhere safe! You’ll never find it on Google again.” –Anonymous
“Watch Gordon Ramsey’s Home Cooking Show and America’s Test Kitchen for some great ideas. Other good ones include Lidia’s Italy, Alton Brown’s Good Eats, and Giada DeLaurentis’ Everyday Italian.” –Guy M. ’10
“It can be a lot of work sometimes, but you can impress your significant other, family, friends and co-workers! Start with things that are more familiar and expand outward. For example, if you like Italian, try making your own pasta, and then expand to other Mediterranean food like Spanish or Greek. All cultures have something delicious to offer.” –Anonymous
“If you have never cooked before, call mom or visit her if possible and observe. I learned most of my skills in the kitchen from my mother. My favorite recipes have come from the New York Times. Key supplies are: large frying pan, spatula, sharp knife, cutting board, Pyrex dish to put in the oven (great for easy casseroles and grilling when the weather is bad).” –Emily W. ’10
“Ten things every kitchen should have: flour, sugar, olive oil, eggs, butter, milk, baking soda, salt, bread, and cheese. Whether it’s for last-minute baking, easy breakfast, or whatever, those are helpful for just about everything. Have two good mixing bowls, either for baking, or for putting out food at parties.” –Ross B. ’09
“Cook every day. Even if it turns out horrible, you get more comfortable working in the kitchen the more you do it.” –Miriam F. ’13
“Start small: learn how to steam, stir-fry, grill, and bake. THEN get fancy with things you find on Pinterest.” –Adrienne W. ’11
“Meliora
“Get a good skillet, a good saucepan, some good knives, and go to town.” –Allison G. ’08
“Crock-Pot, Crock-Pot, Crock-Pot.” –Alyssa B. ’10
“It can be boring if you’re cooking for one, and you probably are less likely to make full, well-balanced meals. My advice would be to try to plan a weekly or bi-weekly dinner with a friend, co-worker or building-mate so that you can share some groceries and learn new recipes. I get together with two girls who live in my building for a mini potluck every Thursday. It’s a great way to pick up new meal ideas.” –Sarah H. ’10
“Trader Joe’s! Their frozen meals are a good substitute and they have a lot of great and easy recipes around the store. In D.C. they’re also fairly cheap compared to other grocery stores. I also constantly Google things to find what I can make with the few ingredients that I have.” –Anonymous
Rochester Alumni Exchange
“Fry up onions and peppers in olive oil. It will smell like you know how to cook.” Katherine V. ’15
“Happy to share my recipes; I have been cooking for 15 years over the last 26.” Robin W. ’14
“Don’t be afraid to mess up. Trying new things is the key to expanding your repertoire. On a related note, keep some quick and easy meals around for when mistakes happen.” Dominick S. ’16, Law
YouTube. Find recipes online.” Elias D. ’16, Information Technology
“Don’t be afraid to experiment. But don’t be afraid to stick to the recipe either. If you cook by a recipe enough times, you’ll get a hang of how the flavors interact. If you want to change the flavor or consistency of whatever you’re making, look up some ideas online (for instance, there are tons of details on baking cookies and how changing certain ingredient ratios changes flavor and consistency). If you like to eat, you should learn to cook. If you find meals you enjoy cooking, it’ll be better for your health, your wallet, and your happiness.” Matt A. ’16, Engineering
“Don’t be afraid to call your Mom!” Jessica R. ’16, Nursing
“Grilled chicken breasts are your friend and can be easily mass cooked for meal prep. Pair with some brown rice and a veggie and call it a meal.” Richard H. ’16, Finance
“Start out with some simple meals, like lasagna or spaghetti. It’s hard to mess up pasta and noodles!” Morgan K. ’16, Science/Research
“Weekly meal prep. YouTube it, if you don’t know what I’m talking about.” Ha L. ’16, Business
Blue Apron or Home Chef!” Jill D. ’16, Health Care, Non-Medical

Easy Home Repairs and Maintenance

“Get someone to help if you are not skillful.” Isabella T.V. ’14
“If you don’t know how to do it, it’s probably on YouTube. If you have any reservations that you might screw it up, hire someone. You should at least have a tool kit at home for simple things like hammering in a nail. Places like Walmart even has some tool kits in nice colors — I got a full-equipped one for $20 in purple!” Kendra H. ’14
“Use Google and YouTube. There are always instructions and tutorials for do-it-yourself projects. However, don’t get in over your head or you will end up costing yourself more money.” David W. ’15
“Get a tool kit.” Brianna I. ’15
“Keep a flash light, screw driver, and duct tape in your coat closet at all times.” –Anonymous
“The internet is a great resource for home improvement. Things you should have on hand for emergencies or repairs: duct tape, a simple tool kit, tape measure and wood glue.” –Diana D. ’08
“Be kind to your garbage disposal. Regularly clean your sinks and drains. Preventative care and cleaning are important!” –Megan H. ’09
“I’d say as far as living with roommates, try to do a chore wheel or something that will divide the work between people and allow you to skip pointing fingers at dirty dishes.” –Anonymous
“If you live in an apartment, make sure you know what kind of shape they expect you to leave the apartment in when you leave. Don’t hang anything on the walls until you know whether or not you’ll have to cover the holes up. Make sure you report to them every detail about anything broken in the apartment when you first move in. Your goal is to get all of your deposit back when you leave!” –Mary Abbe R. ’13
YouTube can teach you how to do anything.” –Travis B. ’12
“Giving your apartment a good cleaning once a month will save loads out of your deposit. Cleaning goes a long way in preventing small, inexpensive issues from becoming big, expensive issues.” –Adrienne W. ’11
“I suggest checking rental housing for smoke detectors and CO detectors. I’ve installed a bunch in my apartments when the landlord failed to do so. It is pretty easy to follow the instructions on the package!”–Kate W. ’07
“Go to an Ace Hardware or local mom and pop shop. The employees there are much better trained and the customers are usually more knowledgeable too. Good tool kit includes: pliers, box cutter, hammer, wrench, screwdriver (flat head and Philips), caulk, level, pencil, and tape measurer.” –Emily W. ’11
“It is essential to get some window insulation in colder climates. It’s cheap, easy to install, and will save you money on your heating bill. Get the plastic sheets that go over a window, and for particularly drafty spots get a roll of foam insulation.” –Ann G. ’07
“I constantly look up how-tos on Pinterest and online. If I really feel like it’s too complicated and can’t do it myself, I ask around my group of friends if they can. Only if they have no clue do I look into spending money to get something done.” –Angie S. ’11
Volunteer Ad
“Start with the right supplies. Every person should own a toolbox with the following: hammer, screwdriver with several bits, level, pair of pliers, tape measure, flashlight, and a knife. This is enough to set up any piece of Ikea furniture and should get you through most home maintenance problems.” –Gregory M. ’08
“Call your landlord often and promptly when things need fixing.” –Will H. ’14
“If you own your own place, make sure to save about 5% of the value of your home each year for routine repairs and preventative maintenance.” –Bobby S. ’08
“Duct tape. Also, YouTube.” Teresa R. ’16, Medicine
YouTube is a magical thing. If I need help with anything I don’t know how to do, I consult with YouTube before anything else.” Ellen S. ’16, Health Care, Non-Medical
“DIY isn’t always as hard as you think. Parents and friends have likely struggled with a similar problem to what you are encountering, so seek advice. If you do choose the DIY approach, plan out everything before you go and do it. All good projects require at least three trips to the store.” Dominick S. ’16, Law

Other Advice For The Class Of 2017

“Start reading for fun, now that you no longer have assigned readings.” – Monique Jones ‘15
“College was awesome! Making your own money and trying crazy stuff you always wanted with that money is also amazing so have fun!” Ioannis Z. ’15
“Take up a new fitness activity or rekindle an old interest. I was a cross country runner in high school and had given it up until after graduate school. Now I run for miles on end and love it! I also like the fact that with your independence, you have the power to choose: where you live, whom you spend time with, what your next career move will be, etc. You have freedom. Take advantage of it now.” –Diana D. ’08
“Sunday fundays! Brunch is a great way to get the crew together for good food and drink, and it’s always less expensive than going out for dinners.” –Anonymous
“Travel! Use that paid vacation time to go places you have never been before.” –Angie S. ’11
“Keep learning. Read books and watch online lectures. Pick up a new hobby or skill. Just because college is over does not mean your education is over.” –Patrick M. ’13
“Remember, you are still young! You may feel old now that you are in the real world, but don’t feel pressured by parents, or intimidated by friends who are in medical school being all successful. You don’t have to have everything figured out yet, it’s OK! Most people are in that position, even though Facebook may only highlight the individuals who are getting engaged and have the best jobs. It’s not actually the case :). You graduated from an amazing school, and you will figure everything out.” –Lindsay W. ’10
“I’ve found that living on my own also means having extra time I didn’t have at home. I don’t have to cook every night, I don’t have to clean every week, and when I do clean it is just my room and bathroom not a whole house. I’ve started crocheting again since I have more time and am working on expanding my skills. I also found a group that meets once a week just to unwind and chat while we knit/crochet.” –Maritza G. ’14
“Make sure you find clubs/activities/programs where you can meet new people. Again, be open-minded and be willing to try new things. Who knows, you might even meet someone who can help you get a better job in the future.” –Anonymous
Alumni Events in your city
“The 9-5 life is quite wonderful! I’ve been lucky enough to work for companies that will give me a nice discount on taking classes. If you have a similar opportunity, take advantage. Taking a class that is not connected to a degree, but is merely for the joy of learning, is very rewarding.” –Rosemary Z. ’10
“Graduating is your chance to start all over again.” –Travis B. ’12
“The best part about life after college is that you don’t have any pressing work hanging over your head. When you leave work at 5, you really get to leave work at 5.” –Anonymous
“Work out five times a week. It’s also good to make friends. Go see shows, concerts, do anything. Get lost in your city and find your way home without Google Maps. Opportunities find their way to you when you explore. Most of all? Turn off your phone when you could be interacting with flesh and blood humans.” –Will H. ’14
“While the real world is overwhelming in some ways, it’s nice not having homework on the weekend and that makes all the difference in the world.” –Anonymous
“Life after graduating is challenging on so many levels. No one prepares you for the job search and the potentially long months of ‘making it work’ on your own. But give yourself a few years and you’ll find that all of your experiences have made you a better person.” –Ann G. ’07
“Life keeps getting better after graduation! Travel, read, write, take pictures, eat junk food, and enjoy your life! You’re young and have a big future ahead of you. Don’t get so caught up in the day to day grind. Be happy and enjoy being employed!” –Rachel Y. ’14
“Get to know your community and be active in making it a great place to live.” –Kayleigh S. ’08
“Find what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to take some time to yourself to do those things.” –Andrea M. ’12
“It’s exciting to have time to read books for fun again! I also love being able to get a drink after work and not worry about reading. Most of the time, if you have a 9-5 job, you have a lot of time for yourself where there are no pressing deadlines. It’s great! Working a regular schedule can be very tiring, though. I definitely need downtime to rest after working in an office all day. The college lifestyle was better for my overall energy levels, so I do miss that.” –Kate W. ’07
“The life ahead of you is full of uncertainty. You can either choose to be anxious and fearful of the unknown, or embrace it and use it to your advantage. I don’t know about you, but the fact that I have no idea what I’ll be doing in 15 years is the most exciting part of my future.” –Lucas P. ’12
“I met a lot of amazing people at the U of R, and I continued to meet so many more after college. Be open to new things and new people. Even though I’m on a fairly different path than I thought I would be, the U of R prepared me well. The undergraduate curriculum and experience has given me the foundation and attitude necessary to be successful in a variety of settings.” –Elizabeth C. ’08
Rochester Alumni Exchange
“I now volunteer a few times a month. I think it’s something that I would have never done but now do. I love the financial freedoms to travel or take a weekend away with friends. After adjusting you will love life after college. I promise!” –Anonymous
“Try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.” –Bradley C. ’10
“That first August/September after you graduate, when the classes below you return to Rochester and put up all their back-to-school photos, can be brutal if you’re nostalgic. Just remember that you don’t always remember all the fun you had in college. You did fine. You are good. Be happy.” –Ross B. ’09
“You know how much better college is than high school? Life after graduation is even better. There may be some tough spots, but being an independent adult is mostly awesome.” –Sarah W. ’08
“Two words: smile and Meliora.” –Catalina B. ’07
“After college is a great time, especially, to continue working on your weaknesses. For me, I was never good at physical activity – that all changed when I was serious about joining the military, and I lost a lot of weight to join. Nothing is too difficult if you put your mind, body, heart and soul into it!” –Stephanie S. ’16, Military
“I don’t think I’ve found a favorite part of life after college yet. Perhaps it’s not been long enough for me to stop missing college yet!” Teresa R. ’16, Medicine