Nine ways to kick-start adulting

Eating healthy in college can seem impossible, but taking small steps like stocking your fridge with plenty of water and fruit can help.

Grace Kenningham, Herald Contributor

Being a young adult in 2018 is no picnic. Don’t get me wrong; it has its upside. For example, you are allowed to make mistakes because you are still “discovering yourself” and your butt still looks perky in jeans. Other than that, young adulthood often feels like you are free falling from the sky and someone rigged your parachute to pull at the last second.

Sometimes everything feels overwhelming. From finding a job to finding a significant other, your 20s are a blur of instability and confusion. But if you do at least a couple of the tasks listed below, you may feel like your life is more together.



It’s never too soon to start saving for retirement. That sounds odd because retirement doesn’t usually make the top 10 list for most people who are 20 years old.  But the thing young people have the most of is TIME — and time is the biggest advantage you have when saving money. If you start saving now, it will really pay off later in life. It is a good idea to to set up a retirement account in your 20s so it can build compound interest for 40 or 50 years. Put small amounts like $50 or $100 into an account every month for the rest of your life; you’ll have some serious moolah when you are ready to retire. As you get older, it’s likely that your income will rise, so you will be able to increase the amount of money you put into the account overtime. Yay! Free Money!


Student discounts are like a gift waiting to be unwrapped. There are so many discounts waiting to be taken advantage of! Some places require your student ID and others use your .edu email. Either way, it’s an untapped money-saving gold mine. Amazon, Fedex, Charlotte Russe, and Apple are just a few of the establishments that have great student benefits.

  • Amazon: Free two day shipping for six months and a discount on Amazon Prime.

  • Fedex: Show your student ID and you can get discounts on shipping and printing.

    • Charlotte Russe: 10 percent off merchandise at participating stores for students.

  • Apple: Provides education pricing – Ex: $200 off Macs

    1. BUDGET

I know you may want to treat yourself all the time, but you’re an adult now and you have to start planning ahead. Try to develop a system that works for you. Prioritize your needs. For example, budget for the essentials like food, gas, and retirement first. Then spend what is left on wine and online shopping. Determine what you need for the month and allocate income accordingly. Set aside some money for your entertainment for the month. And if you’re feeling extra “adulty,” put the leftovers into your savings.


If you haven’t heard of this app yet, consider this your spring cleaning gift. Letgo is an app that lets you buy and sell items. Anything from old clothes to blenders can be sold on the app. You just have to post a picture and a short description of the item you want to sell. Next, people will start messaging you through the app wanting to buy your items, you settle on a price, then meet up for the exchange. It’s super easy and a great way to clean out while making some extra cash.


You never know when you might need a copy of your resume. It doesn’t even have to be fancy. Honestly, the simpler it is the better. If you don’t have a resume yet, stop by the career center in GHH. Their job is to help you develop your adulting skills. They would be more than happy to revise or help you draft a resume. Pro tip: Even the smallest things count on resumes. Hype yourself up! That club you’re a part of but don’t always make the meetings? Put it on there. You babysat a few times last summer… put it on there. I am not saying to put irrelevant information on your resume, but things you think “don’t count” may have a larger influence than you think. Also, before you go in for an interview, edit your resume to cater to the specific job you’re interviewing for.  For example, it would be a good idea to highlight your babysitting gig if you’re applying for a childcare or teaching position. Employers want to see any and all experience you have working in the field. Like I said before, it never hurts to have a resume on hand because you never know who you will run into!


This a risky one but still very important. Building your credit is a major step towards adulthood. Credit, whether it is good or bad, can have a serious impact on your life. It can influence your ability to buy/rent an apartment or get a job. Your credit reflects your reliability. If a landlord or employer sees you have good credit, they can assume you have an accountable character. So apply for one or two credit cards. Do some research online because some credit cards offer student benefits! Once you are accepted, do not blow a ton of money on stuff you can’t afford to pay off. Take your parents out to dinner, by some new headphones, go to the movies, and use your credit card. Pay it off on time and build good credit! You won’t regret it!


You’re young; now is the time to meet people! Making good, solid connections at this age is going to be what separates you when it’s time to start your career. Networking is crucial to your career but not exclusive to a professional setting. You never know what kind of opportunities someone can open up for you. Communication is key, so be sure to be friendly and polite when you are introduced to new people. Having meaningful conversation with relatable context could lead you down a whole new path.


It is definitely hard to balance time at this age. Between school, extracurriculars, sports, studying, and your social life, it’s hard to find time to work out and eat healthy. But if you can do a few of these things, your body will thank you for it. There are basic cliche things like drinking water, eating healthy, and working out. Obviously it’s so much easier said than done. Here are some tips: when you want to try and eat healthier, focus on portion control. Try to eat less of everything you like so you stop the craving, but don’t over eat. Also, if you limit snacking or eat healthier snacks you will be more satisfied during the day. When it comes to exercise, find something you enjoy doing. It could be something out of the ordinary, like goat yoga, but if you’re up and doing something active it counts! Exercising does not have to be something you dread. Pro tip: doing these things with a friend or a group is more fun and you can hold each other accountable. Drinking water and getting a few more hours of sleep seem like basic tasks, however, do not underestimate them. Increasing your water intake will not only hydrate you but help your skin, hair, and nails. Sure, extra sleep makes you more friendly and brightens your demeanor. But honestly, take a nap because you want to, and because you deserve it.


You can have fun, party, go out, and make bad choices. But for the love of all that is good in the world, DO NOT POST IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not it will come back to haunt you. Do yourself a favor and keep it in your camera roll.


I choose to define healthy relationships as someone who makes you a better person, whether that be a partner or just a friend. Spending time with someone who makes you laugh and takes away the negativity is well worth your time. If your significant other brings you more stress than happiness, it may not be worth it. Do not lose sight of who you are, what your goals are, and what you truly care about. Because you are young, you have the privilege of exploration. Find the type of people you enjoy being around and maintain those relationships. And if in time it’s too difficult or stressful, you have no obligation to stay. Remember, now is the time to make new friends who will become your old ones. 


Now that you are adulting, you have a new set of privileges and responsibilities, most important of which being your right to vote. However insignificant the right to vote may seem, it does hold weight. Keeping up to date on current events and issues allows you to form opinions. Thus, these opinions turn into actions. You have more power to make change than you may anticipate. I’m not saying you need to go out and read the paper every day. However, even scrolling through Twitter or Snapchat news just to stay semi up-to-date on topics is beneficial. If you aren’t already a contributing member of society, you will be soon and you should know what is going on in our ever-changing world. An added perk of this practice is that you can maintain conversations with real adults. In addition, find a cause you support. Whatever it may be, having a passion for change will benefit yourself and society long term. 


Enough said.