Graduation season is well underway (not even two weeks ago, I graduated from Northeastern University!). Tons of advice is thrown our way as we enter this transitional stage of our lives and I thought I’d offer my own two cents to my fellow graduates of the Class of 2015.

There’s no doubt that being a college graduate is all about achieving goals, overcoming obstacles, and dreaming big…we’ve heard it time and time again from nearly every commencement speaker there ever was. But if we were to break it down, plain and simple, being a college graduate means one thing. It means that you’re a real adult now with real adult responsibilities and a real adult life. And so, I’d like to offer you eight tips to consider as we enter the world as “real adults.”

1. Eat good food with good people.

There is nothing quite like enjoying a delicious meal over great conversation with fantastic people. No more frozen meals. Remember, you’re an adult now. It’s time to learn how to cook. Real food, colorful food pairs wonderfully with meaningful discussions.

2. Stop waiting for the weekend to have a good time.

And to that affect, stop hating on Mondays. Every day can be just as good as the next but it’s up to you to make it that way. In college, we have had the incredible opportunity to partake in any club imaginable but now, we’ll have to make our own extracurricular activities. Join a local sports league, take an art class, discover a new restaurant every week. Whatever you do, make your workweek just as fun as the weekend.

3. Embrace the off button.

According to a study released by Nielsen, the average US adult spends 11 hours a day on digital technology. Now that we fall under the category of “average US adult” let’s make it a point to bring that statistic down. 11 hours…that is just madness. We can experience so much more of the world if we could just get our noses out of our phones for just one hour a day. Breathe in the world around, people watch, take note of the changing colors of the leaves. Wonderful things can happen when our eyes are open to it.

4. Step outside your comfort zone.

Make it a point to do something you otherwise wouldn’t at least once a year. It could be something as simple as striking up a conversation with a stranger or something as bold as packing up all of your things and moving to another country. Discomfort is a good thing – force yourself to experience it. Learning to deal with discomfort will help you grow into a stronger person.

5. Be selfish.

We all have a common idea of what an adult life looks like. You graduate college, get a nine to five job, come home from work, make dinner, watch TV, answer some emails, go to sleep and repeat it all over again. Perhaps you’ll marry, maybe have some kids, and you’ll inevitably get fat and hurt your back because that’s what happens when you become an adult, right? You put others priorities in front of your own, you make excuses that you’re “tool old” to do something productive with your time. Realize that it’s okay to be a little selfish. Realize that at times, you should be a little selfish. Let’s go back to tip #1: eat good food. Be good to your body by feeding it food that is both nutritious and delicious; be good to your body by moving it – maybe it’s not at a gym or fitness club, then learn to kayak, visit a state park, the national seashore. Be an active member of the landscape you inhabit. Lastly, be good to your soul by taking time to do something you enjoy everyday.

6. As essential as it is to be selfish, it’s also important to be selfless.

As of today, there are over 7,300,000,000 people in this world, many without the simple necessity of clean water. Take a moment perhaps and buy the stranger behind you in line a coffee, lend an ear when a friend really needs it, smile at those you pass on the street. Make somebody’s day.

7. Don’t be afraid to fail.

We’ve already established that the next stage of our lives will be a scary one. Let there be ample room for success and equally ample room for failure. There will always be stress, there will always be struggle. Life will get hard and you will fail. And that’s ok! It’s how you handle those struggles, how you respond and recover to that failure that’s most important. Don’t ever be afraid to fail for it is when we fail that we grow the most.

8. Live like a child.

Remember when you were 5 years old? A pencil could be an airplane, you could be best friends with a girl you just met five minutes ago, and you had no problem running around the beach naked. Now, I’m not suggesting you run around any beach naked but I am urging you to live with the creativity, the openness, and the hunger for learning that a child lives with. Yes, we are technically adults now but that doesn’t mean we have to act like it 100% of the time. 

As we graduate college and officially take on the role as “adults,” I ask that you keep in mind these few things:

There will be times when life seems like it’s hit an all-time low, there will be times when life seems like it could never get any better. But no matter where you are in the next stage of your life, don’t forget about all successes that have brought you here and all the wonders that lie ahead. Learn from your experiences and give yourself a future to look forward to. The world has so much out there for our taking, so let’s go out there and take it.

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