Managing Time and Money after College

Jamie Anderson

In the fall of 2006, I embarked on the journey known as college. I grew up in rural South Dakota. There weren’t a lot of kids that lived nearby and I was an only child so I was pretty independent.

When I went off to college, the transition was easy. I quickly made great friends and before I knew it Brookings felt like home.

Everyone says “Wait until you get into the real world…,” but there’s a good reason for that saying. Life is quite a bit different after you get out of the “bubble” we call college.

Finding a job after you graduate can be a task. I had to complete an internship for my journalism degree and I fortunately got hired full-time at the newspaper I interned with. My Collegian advisor helped me get a connection to the newspaper in Pierre. I contacted the Capital Journal and before I knew it, I was there working on my internship. Sometimes in life, things just click and other times you have to work for it.

I probably applied to almost 10 different places, only to get rejected by nearly all of them. Don’t get discouraged by any rejections or setbacks you may encounter; they will only make you stronger. Just remember to keep your head up and keep fighting for what you want. I would also encourage you to branch out.

After my lease is up in my current apartment, my boyfriend and I are planning on moving to Arizona. We want something warmer and he has family there. We are hoping to get a place and find jobs before we move. There may not be any jobs in your field where you currently live, but if you are flexible, look in surrounding states for jobs that may interest you, or if you are really adventurous and want a complete change, look in Georgia, Washington or another completely random state. It doesn’t hurt to check and who knows, you may love it.

The biggest change between college and the real world is bills, and lots of them. Whether it is utilities like heat, air, electricity, rent, or the “necessities” like cell phone and Internet. Don’t worry; this list will only get bigger as life goes on. In college, you have tuition (which my parents helped out with, thank you Mom and Dad), books, room and board, cable and Internet, maybe phone and probably just a few groceries. About half of those costs are college related, so they will completely change when you graduate.

I don’t know how to say this without sounding like my parents, but one of the most important parts of handling expenses is money management. Whether you take an internship, find a job, or work somewhere to pay the bills after you graduate, budgeting and planning on where and how you will spend your money is important.

In college, I probably bought a ton of things that I didn’t need and have since disposed of. Once you are out of college, you learn not to spend money on things you don’t really need. For instance $5 movies at Walmart may seem cheap at the time, but $5 adds up quickly if you get one every time you go.

Finally, after 4 years (or more) of attending South Dakota State University, you graduate. You start looking for jobs and places to live. It’s time to go out into the real world, bills and all. Keep your head up and be prepared to get back up when the world knocks you down. I hope my experiences and advice help you in the not-so-distant future. Hold nothing back and enjoy your journey through college and life.