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There is Life After College Graduation

Post-graduation: A Room of One’s Own

With school over, you need to figure out where you plan to live: Whether you move back in with your parents or find an apartment, you living arrangements will be a far cry from the lifestyle afforded by your college community or dorm.

Starting a life after graduation is stressful enough, and when it’s compounded by a move to another city, the prospect can be petrifying. Lisa Tronolone, a 2007 graduate from Mount St. Mary’s University, believes her biggest accomplishment in the first 30 days after graduation was moving to Baltimore. “My apartment is perfect and it’s a huge accomplishment that I am able to pay rent every month,” she says. “I was able to support myself and stand on my own two feet without the help of anyone.”

Indeed, the loss of a prefabricated support system—and the shock of living alone for the first time—can be the most troubling experience for some college graduates. Karen Aldefer, a 2006 graduate of Loyola Marymount University, moved to Reno after college and realized that she would never live with her roommates again. “After four years in college, I had become very comfortable with the school, my roommates and my friends,” she explains. “Moving to Reno for graduate school was a big change. I didn't know anyone in Reno, and I rented an apartment alone.”

Graduates starting over in a new city may have to reach deep into their freshman skill set to make new friends once again. That was the energy channeled by Karen, who worked hard to meet new people. “I went to group study sessions, invited people to dinner and went out of my way to get to know people. Now I feel like I have a lot of really great friends there,” she says. “I think that making a fresh start can remind you that you’re capable of change. Knowing that makes me feel independent.”

However, the dream of total independence may be far off for many graduates who have no choice but to move back in with their parents. After returning to the nest, it helps to create a timeline of when you want to move out. Kristy Jackson, the post college editor for BellaOnline.com, recommends you consider why you are moving home. “Are you staying there for a few weeks until you get a final offer on a job? Waiting for graduate school to start? If you have a timeline, it’ll keep you motivated since it’s easy to stagnate if your folks are footing the bills for the indefinite future,” she notes.

Posted: 10/3/07