Captaining Your Own Ship

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

“Make sure you know what’s important to you. Whether it’s hanging out with friends or having enough time on your own, be sure to schedule that time for yourself. Going from a close community, like UR, when you’re likely always busy to living on your own with weekends free can feel daunting and sometimes lonely. Joining clubs or professional organizations (MeetUp is a great tool if you’re moving to a new area) or starting a new hobby you’re passionate about can help with that transition.” –Maria S. ’18

“Make a routine and stick to it to get things done, but don’t fall victim to it. You’re still in your 20s; live life.” –Allan H. ’18

“Post-grad life is not like undergrad life. From my own experience and what I’ve seen of my friends’ experiences, school and work are very different and much more all-consuming than school and work in college. It can be overwhelming trying to keep up with your work while maintaining a social life, exercising, and having time for yourself. It will probably take a while to adjust and find a good balance, but you just need to be patient and know you’ll figure it out eventually.” –Eileen R. ’18

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“Remember that money isn’t everything. It’s great to make big bucks, but time is much more valuable than money. Your time is best spent doing what makes you happy. You never know what could happen to you, so live the life you’ve always wanted to live. Working a job you hate just to make money is fine. Working a job you look forward to, that gives you fulfillment and allows you to do what you love, is freeing.” –Shelby C. ’17

“Life is your oyster. Do everything you want and find meaning in the things you spend your time on.” –Gavin P. ’17

“Do what you love. Make time for everything and everyone you love. Living our best life is not just obtaining our career goals but also enjoying our loved ones and the journey given.” –Kwame B. ’17

“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

“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

“Remember to go grocery shopping and do the little things! It’s easy to get caught up in work and to keep ordering out but go to the store and get food, call your mom, do your laundry. Taking a couple minutes out the day to do other stuff is important.” –Anastacia B. ’18

“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

“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

“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

“There’s a lot to think about beyond college, and my social life and personal life have a very different pace now. I find that the most important thing for me was to take time to think about my close friendships and connections I built throughout college (even throughout my life!). Many of us after high school jumped headfirst into college with accelerating pace. After college, we’re often less saturated with people our own age and outlook, we may go to live in much less or much more crowded places and pursue jobs which make us feel different. I’ve gained a lot of perspective so far, some of which is useful and some of which is learning what is pointless. By thinking about this and keeping in touch with friends (now alumni!), I feel I am more self-aware and am able to better get along with those who don’t see things the same as me or are in very different situations. We have much to learn from them, and when we disagree that is just manifest chance for growth.” –Nicholas K. ’17

“Make sure that you are always striving for more. As much as it is good to stay in a place where you are thriving, make sure that you don’t let better (maybe even riskier) opportunities pass you by.” –Delia C.N. ’17

“Try to set work boundaries. One advantage of having a significant commute is that there is usually a hard cut off time for arriving and leaving work. Hanging out with friends is important but also having personal time is equally important. Decide what days you want to go home and just do you versus spending time with friends.” –Joshua P. ’18

“To get used to a more hectic schedule, I find advanced planning of daily tasks very important. Unlike undergrad when schedules are more flexible (when I could give up self-care to cram for an exam and rest up for the rest of the week), I now find it important to schedule in exercise, meal prep, and chores in my schedule routinely. Or else I won’t have any time to do any of those things forever.” –Jianyu T. ’18

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“Balance is everything. Remember to have fun but also take care of yourself. Stay in touch with your family on a regular basis and make time to actually talk with or see your friends rather than just texting or emailing.” –Jaclyn S. ’11

“It can be hard and lonely at times, so it’s important to take care of your mental health. Figure out what’s most important. Figure out what needs to happen first, and what can wait. Stay connected to loved ones and seek help/advice/guidance from whatever resources you may need.” –Ashley B. ’17

“Try to maximize your experiences. It’s always tough to balance everything going on in life, but you’ll be happier overall if you take advantage of the opportunities wherever you live.” –Michael D. ’13

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

“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

“Enjoy it! If your parents are okay with you living at home, take advantage of it. Not only do you get cheap (free) rent, laundry, food, etc., but you get an opportunity to spend quality time with your family. As annoying as family can be sometimes, as you age it will get more and more difficult to spend so much time with them. So, appreciate the extra time you get with family, show your appreciation, and take the chance to save or pay off loans.” –Shelby C. ’17

“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

“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

“Enjoy becoming friends with your parents. It can be really interesting to learn about and reconnect with them as “people” not just your “parents”. If you can manage to find that balance [between parents and friends], you’ll develop a deeper level of appreciation, love and respect for each other that is really special.” –Elizana-Marie J. ’17

“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

“Be patient. Try to maintain a social life outside of your parents’ house so you don’t go crazy. Remember—it’s worth it! You’re saving so much money.” –Emily H. ’12

“Don’t be ashamed of it at all. I had to move home for a while and as challenging as it can be, it was a great opportunity to save up money and focus on my financial goals. It’s tough to keep growing when you’re living at home, so be sure to schedule social time or time when you’re focusing on working towards your goals. Maybe it’s reading articles that approach topics in your field, or maybe it’s listening to podcasts, going to the gym, or connecting with people you respect. Schedule time for personal growth so it doesn’t feel like you’re falling back into your high school self.” –Maria S. ’18

“Make sure that you and your family are clear on how you expect to live. It will be a challenging conversation since it is not your property but you should have clear boundaries/rules. Also, they are still your parents and it is still their home, so you need to make sure you’re respectful.” –Delia C.N. ’17

“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

“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

“Appreciate spending time with your parents.” –Justin G. ’10

“Be respectful and grateful to your parents that they are giving you this opportunity; it’s not your right to have this. Also make sure you have a plan and a timeline to get yourself out on your own. This helps everyone’s sanity.” –Jaclyn S. ’11

“Everyone does it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to become complacent.” –Anonymous

“You are in the position to save a lot of money! Take advantage of the extremely low cost of living and SAVE.” –Leonardo B. ’18

“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

“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

“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

“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

“Stay motivated looking to the future. If you are still looking for a job, make sure you’re working towards the search every day. It is very easy to sit on the couch at home and get sucked into being a professional Netflix watcher, but the longer the gap is between the end of school and the start of work, the rustier you will get and the more difficult it will be to explain the time gap.” –Melissa B. ’17

“Bittersweet. You don’t get the full “new life” experience right away but make use of this time of lower living expenses and save up. Also, your parents won’t be around forever, and this is likely the last time you will ever live with them. Make the best of it.” –Allan H. ’18

“Help out around the house in any way that you can but remember to save. Inspire your family: siblings and friends (if any), to reach for the stars. And it is okay if you have to move back home. I did! I was upset at first but I am saving so much money doing so.” –Kwame B. ’17

“It’s okay, be sure to ask your parent’s what you can contribute financially or otherwise. Remember your long-term goals and keep pursuing them rent free!” –Hira A. ’18

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

“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. 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: OkCupidTinder, and Hinge. These are great places to meet a potential significant other or just make more friends.” –Rachel T. ’10

“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

“Making actual friends is going to be challenging and maybe a bit awkward because now you don’t have any similarities or common questions right off the bat. You have to actively try to build a romantic relationship or friendship.” –Delia C.N. ’17

“You can use apps of course, but I’m not a huge fan. Not to say you can’t meet great people that way, but it is definitely not a sure game. Great to go out and get to know your neighborhood and at the same time meet people while doing it. I actually think the library and museums are some of the best places to explore and maybe make friends. Get a library card for sure. In big cities, especially one as tech-focused as SF, genuine human interaction can be difficult to find organically. But it’s not impossible.” –Joshua P. ’18

“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

“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

“Get involved in something you’re passionate about and you’ll naturally meet people you connect with. Don’t be afraid to ask co-workers for suggestions on clubs or organizations in the area, especially if you are in a new city.” –Maria S. ’18

“It comes naturally over time so try not to stress out about it. If you live somewhere like NYC, everyone is always looking to be social and meet new people. So, don’t hesitate to do the same. Some relationships will be transitory, others will develop into longer-term friendships. You never know so don’t turn down the opportunity to get a drink with someone, go to an event, etc.” –Michael D. ’13

“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

“Put yourself out there. Find community activities, be it volunteer, a hobby, whatever. You’ll no longer be surrounded by like-minded, similarly-aged people. It can be harder to make friends and meet people, so make an extra effort to get involved (just like on campus). I joined a trail running group, though I’d only really ever done road running, and love the sense of community and friends I’ve made from attending group runs.” – Shelby C. ’17

“College is useful socially because most times we are thrown into situations where we are forced to get to know each other. The “real world” is on you. Make an effort to go out in your community or wherever you are, and opportunities will come, I promise. You can’t expect for new friends to magically come to you.” – Allan H. ’18

“Be open! Talk to everyone! Greet everyone! Be nice to everyone you never know when you’ll meet them or see them again or if that one connection you make can help you down the line.” – Anastacia B. ’18

“My law school had an orientation where we were all thrown together and essentially forced to make friends. I made some that way. I also had to come out of my shell a lot, more than in undergrad, and make an effort to see people socially since we have so much more work than in undergrad and no one lives on a campus anymore. I’m glad I did because I made some wonderful friends.” – Eileen R. ’18

“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 are 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

“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

“Make friends in the company you work for. I’m still trying to figure out the dating scene after college.” –Ha L. ’16

“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

“Say yes until you feel like you can’t say yes anymore. That will expose you to new opportunities. Once you’re committed to tons of things you love, it’s time to learn how to start saying no.” –Emily H. ’12

“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

“Do things that you enjoy and you’ll naturally meet people who have similar interests. Also, don’t be afraid to open up to people.” –Jaclyn S. ’11

“Get involved in a recreation league or group activity.” – Sandra W. ’15

“Try and build your friend groups around work, mutual friends, and religious and events.” –Elias D. ’16

Achieving Personal and Professional Goals

“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

“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

“Write your goals down and hang them up on a mirror or wall. You need to be reminded of your goals every day.” –Anonymous

“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

“The world is a wide place. Take an online course, MOOC, work on an open source project, network and find a hobby in your city, whatever you want to do in your free time. Life isn’t just about going to class and doing homework or going to work 9-5 and going home anymore. Also, don’t underestimate traveling and “vacations.” You can learn a lot about yourself.” –Allan H. ’18

“Network with people. Few people do exactly what they want to right out of school. Figure out what you like about your current job and what you don’t, then learn how to ask the right questions and if you can find the right people to ask them to. Sometimes meeting with people like this can just be informational, and other times it can actually lead to a new job.” –Joshua P. ’18

“I’ve had a lot of work experience in many different jobs. On paper, it doesn’t have much of a pattern, but each job has given me important skills that I then use at every new job. I love when I realize I can connect something crazy like a skill I learned while working with people at Walmart to planning an event for pet owners in my current job. You don’t think things connect at the time and then they do and that’s really satisfying. I think having all these varied experiences has helped me understand people in different ways and has made me very successful.” –Jaclyn S. ’16

“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

“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 am organizing and incorporating a nonprofit focused on healthcare advocacy called Advocates-R-Us. I also sit on the Board of Directors for an international NGO named Serving People Living with HIV/AIDS (SPWHA) geared towards providing antiviral medications for children living with HIV and AIDS in Zambia and Cameroon. These avenues are allowing for me to grow a stronger sense of entrepreneurship and management, which are critical for serving communities, especially in providing health care.” –Kwame B. ’17

“I have learned to be more organized and disciplined.” –Delia C.N. ’17

“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

“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

“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

“I put myself out there. Even when I felt uncomfortable or stupid, I would ask questions and for help. In doing so, I opened myself up to advice and learning opportunities. My supervisors–and coworkers–now go out of their way to ensure I understand things and have the opportunity to do and try new things.” –Shelby C. ’17

“Keep up learning beyond classroom or office.” –Robin W. ’14

“The first few months of my job, I would take about 30 minutes every Friday to keep a journal of what I learned that week on the job and what I should keep in mind for the next week. Then on Monday morning, I’d quickly review it as a refresher on what to focus on for that week. There is so much to learn in your first job, so it was super helpful for me to write those things down and remind myself of them on a daily basis.” –Maria S. ’18

“Always challenge yourself.” –Elias D. ’16

“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

“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

“Stay close to the thought leaders and the rainmakers. You don’t know anything at 22 – they do.” –Richard H. ’16

“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

“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

“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

Learning Your Way Around The Kitchen

“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

“Never underestimate the frozen food section. It is your friend.” –Hannah V. ’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

“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

“Look up simple recipes online and make your shopping list accordingly. Practice makes perfect.” –David W. ’15

“Call your parents and tell them you took their housework for granted. Ask for recipes and tips.” –Ryan W. ’15

“YouTube videos and online recipes are a life savior.” –Ioannis Z. ’14

“YouTube has every recipe you need.” –Anansa B. ’15

“YouTube videos.” –Isabella T.V. ’14

“Experiment a lot.” –Gavin P. ’17

“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

“Search around for some recipes to follow if you’re just starting out. Get a feel for what kind of stuff you enjoy cooking and go from there. In no time you’ll be able to throw stuff from the fridge together without having to reference anything.” –Melissa B. ’17

“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

“Do not leave cooking oil on the stove unattended!” –Kwame B. ’17

Blue Apron or Home Chef!” –Jill D. ’16

Tasty videos are great. Learn more about nutrition and use those goals to guide your cooking!” –Jiayu T. ’18

“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 Networkand 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 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

“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

“Struggle Meals is a great YouTube series with various recipes for cooking on a budget!” –Maria S. ’18

“Relax and take things step by step – food can sense fear!” –Leonardo B. ’18

“Meal prep! I resisted for so long but now I am addicted. Making big batches of food and then portioning it out for the whole week is a huge money and time saver.” –Eileen R. ’18

“Learn one new dish at a time. Trying to overhaul your weekly menu all at once is impractical and exhausting!” –Erin O. ’11

“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

“Call your parents and ask for your favorite recipes. It will make them happy and you’ll have something to cook when you inevitably feel homesick. Always keep pasta on hand so you have something to make when you’re too tired to cook anything else.” –Jaclyn S. ’11

“Just read the recipe or watch the video. It may not come out so well the first time (or it might), but you won’t get better unless you keep trying.” –Delia C.N. ’17

“Cooking may be a life skill, but it’s also just another hobby. Like everything else, practice makes perfect.” –Allan H. ’18

“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

“Fry up onions and peppers in olive oil. It will smell like you know how to cook.” –Katherine V. ’15

“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

YouTube. Find recipes online.” –Elias D. ’16

“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

“Don’t be afraid to call your Mom!” –Jessica R. ’16

“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

“Start out with some simple meals, like lasagna or spaghetti. It’s hard to mess up pasta and noodles!” –Morgan K. ‘ 16

“Weekly meal prep. YouTube it, if you don’t know what I’m talking about.” –Ha L. ’16

“It is very easy to look up recipes or cooking videos online and there is nothing wrong with doing that.” –Daniela B. ’18

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

“Be kind to your garbage disposal. Regularly clean your sinks and drains. Preventative care and cleaning are important!” –Megan H. ’09

“Buy a multipurpose toolbox and keep it somewhere easily accessible. Learn the difference between a flathead and Philips head screwdriver. Have more than one screwdriver in case you lose the first one.” –Jaclyn S. ’11

“YouTube is the best guide for any DIY repair or maintenance. This even applies to repair and maintenance on your car.” –Leonardo B. ’18

“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

“Find a good landlord that does this for you.” –Gavin P. ’17

“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

“Start reading for fun, now that you no longer have assigned readings.” – Monique Jones ‘15

“Invest in a nice tool set, it’s amazing the difference having a good hammer and screwdriver can make in doing small repairs yourself.” –Melissa B. ’17

“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

“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

“Clean your place at least once a week. The more you hold off, the worse it will get and the less you will want to clean it.” –Daniela B. ’18

“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

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

“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

“Make sure to look online first—reviews are everything!” –Delia C.N. ’17

“Learn how to be handy and good with these types of things. Your friends will REALLY like you later on if you’re good with repairs and maintenance!” –Michael D. ’13

“Google is king and YouTube is queen.” –Allan H. 

Other Advice For The Class Of 2019

“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

“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

“Life is now literally what you make it. Which can be good or bad, so make it good!” –Allan H. ’18

“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

“No more anxiety of incoming due dates!” –Leonardo B. ’18

“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

“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

“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

“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

“Find what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to take some time to yourself to do those things.” –Andrea M. ’12

“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

“Having more time to work out and read for fun has been delightful! Stay curious and keep learning. Your school career may be over but there is still plenty to learn about other people, yourself, new ideas, and the world. Happiness, like knowledge and fulfillment, is not a destination but a means of travel. Find pleasure in the journey, and freedom in the inevitable seasons of evolution. No matter where you come from, or what lies ahead, may you always strive to be Ever Better. Congratulations Class of 2018! Meliora!” –Elizana-Marie J. ’17

“My favorite aspect of life after college is losing the urge that I have something due all the time. If you have a steady work pace and a plan to accomplish any tasks at work, then you won’t ever have to worry about that feeling again!” –Delia C.N. ’17

“Not being stressed about schoolwork gave me the opportunity to be able to read, go for walks on the park, work out, paint, etc.” –Daniela B. ’18

“Taking trips around the city and outside, especially if there are beautiful national parks or other sites in your vicinity.” –Joshua P. ’18

“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

“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

“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