Since moving to D.C. and starting work, I’ve had to make several adjustments and changes to my life. Besides moving into a new apartment and getting my first real job, just about everything I do is the opposite of the way it was in college. A few highlights:
1. I Wear Dress Shoes More Than I Wear Sneakers
After wearing sneakers every single day for 20 years, I now wear dress shoes every day, with the exception of casual Fridays. Flip flops and going barefoot are for lounging around the apartment, and now sneakers have been relegated to only being used for going out with friends.
2. I Have A Constant Inflow (And Outflow) Of Money
For 7 years, I worked during the summer, built up some savings, then over the course of the next 10 months, proceeded to spend it. The summer would come around and I’d repeat the process. There we no bills to pay (just accruing student loans) Now, I constantly monitor my accounts, check my budget, and receive paychecks every two weeks. I have bills to pay and I am thinking more about the future than about which candy bar I should buy.
3. I Shop At Trader Joe’s
In college, I went shopping once a month, stocked up on pasta, bagels, bread, and processed cheese and hoped it would last until my next trip to the supermarket. Now, with Trader Joe’s and Safeway within walking distance, I am able to shop more frequency, which meals fresh fruits and vegetables are no longer out of the question. I’ve started to enjoy the finer things in life (pesto, portobello mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese paninis), and there’s always salad in the fridge. I still eat pasta, but now the topping isn’t a can of liquidy tomato sauce.
4. My Time Is Worth Something
I used to work only when it was convenient, and I always had time for just about anything. I often got comments about how it seemed like I never went to class or had work to do. My time was pretty much worthless and I spent countless hours wasting time. Now, with about 7 hours of free time a day, I have to manage my time so I can relax, hang out with friends, and watch the game.
5. Sleep Is For Losers
Last year, I started class no earlier than 11am, so I was sleeping about 8 hours every single night. Waking up at 6:30am means fewer late night adventures and often being tired during the day. I assume that eventually my routine will become normal and my body will adjust to sleeping less, like it did in high school when I would get home from basketball at 9pm and get about 6 hours of sleep a night.
It sounds like I had a pretty fantastic life in college. It’s true, but graduating and starting a real life has plenty of advantages. I have a much higher quality of life, I’m probably healthier from eating fewer grilled cheese sandwiches, and instead of accruing thousands of dollars in debt, I’m able to start paying it off.