By Linda Lee
Gone are the days of guaranteed dhall meals and comfy housing. Harvard has taken care of you well for four years, but it’s time to enter the world of adulthood. How does one cook a balanced meal? What do you mean you have to find your own apartment? What’s that patting thing your parents always do to the watermelons in the grocery store? It’s a scary world out there, but there are others who have done it before you and there are others who will follow you. Adulting has a steep learning curve based on experience and time, but there’s no harm in following some basic tips to help get you started on that #solo life.
When you finally get that bread, it can be tempting to eat it all at once. Splurging may satisfy your #bougie goals, but in the long run, this will leave you overwhelmed and struggling to make ends meet. Budgeting can help you responsibly meet your financial needs, and securing funds before splurging can actually allow you to treat yourself — without the guilt or regret afterward. If you need some direction, take advantage of the wide variety of online and mobile budgeting apps out there to guide your spending and saving.
Cook Your Own Meals
No, microwaving Hot Pockets or whipping up instant ramen does not count as cooking. As an independent adult, you are the only one responsible for your diet and health, so cooking your own meals can save your body and your wallet. After investing in kitchenware, start with easier recipes until you feel comfortable enough to tackle more elaborate dishes. Cooking your own meals can feel rewarding, and it’s an opportunity to flex your MasterChef skills on friends and family. You will thank yourself later.
Build Your Credit
Financial independence means that most of your purchases or opportunities in life will be determined by your credit score, which is used by many institutions to determine how financially sound you are. If you haven’t already, consider applying for a credit card — having zero credit is bad! Starting with small purchases and making payments on time is a great way to boost your credit, especially when you’re first starting out. Lots of credit cards offer deals and benefits such as cashback and reward systems, which can help you out in the future.
Make Time for Your Loved Ones
If you thought trekking to the Quad to see your friends was bad, then good luck meeting up with them in another city. Until now, we’ve been spoiled with the luxury of spontaneous dhall meals and the close proximity with blockmates and linkmates. Adulthood will involve a more conscious effort to make time for your friends and family, which can entail coordinating work schedules and traveling out of your regular boundaries. On a positive note, this means that every interaction is entirely your choice and will be that much more genuine and meaningful.
“Adulting” can mean many things. It ranges anywhere from managing your own finances to learning how to deal with loneliness and newfound independence. The world outside of the Harvard bubble can be terrifying, but it is also riddled with new opportunities and exciting experiences for you to discover. Don’t worry about feeling unprepared — if you can handle four years of Harvard undergrad, you can definitely handle living on your own.
Want more content like this? Subscribe to Harvard Today, Flyby’s daily newsletter with campus events, free food, Crimson content, the daily menu, and more!
Click here to read more of the Flyby Commencement Issue 2019!