Okay, guys – it’s finally starting to sink in how long it has been already since I graduated. I’ve been seeing all the new hires at my company this month that just graduated, and I feel old already!
In keeping with that realization, I wanted to share a few things that I’ve learned in the two years since graduating college that have proven to be insanely important and helpful – and can help you take your #adulting skills to the next level.
Today is the first day of a new weekly series on the blog for the summer where I’ll be sharing my most helpful and important ways of breaking down the puzzles of post-grad life and making things seem a little bit less scary, and a lot more manageable!
The topics are going to range anywhere from budgeting, de-coding what to do with a 401k, finding and decorating a great apartment, tracking down new doctors/hairstylists/dentists and everything in between, learning your new neighborhood or city, making new friends…we’re really going to cover all of the bases, guys!
Today’s post to kick off the series is all about organization and keeping track of important documents & information. Some of this might feel like a no-brainer…but some of it will likely surprise you! My parents had me holding on to this stuff for myself once I was a freshman, so I had a bit of a leg up when it came time for living on my own in Chicago!
Up until now, your parents have likely kept track of a lot of things that never even occurred to you…and you’re also being introduced to a lot of things that have never been a factor in your life before. There are so many different little responsibilities that crop up once you graduate college – but it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it seems at first glance!
The very first step in getting organized for all of the below information is to get a file folder or organization system of some kind where you can store everything you could ever need in one safe and accessible place – this folder and this one are great options to start!
Taking Care of Yourself | One of the most dreaded parts about post-grad life for me was knowing I’d have to find new doctors, dentists, and other physicians that I both trusted and could afford (more on how to find the best of the best in another post soon!) It’s so important to be fully informed on everything you’ve ever done medically. Usually, you can request for a patient version of your medical records from previous physicians to be sent over to you for storage, including medications you’ve tried, vaccinations and their dates, surgeries or broken bones, x-ray copies, dental records, check-up history, allergies, family illnesses and family medical history, your health insurance records….all of this is so insanely important (and likely something you’ve never thought twice about until now!) Having all of these on hand can be really important and useful, especially if something comes up with your health and a doctor needs more background information. Keeping your health insurance information on hand will also help you know where you’re covered so you can avoid costly bills!
The MOST Important Documents |
Up until now, your parents have likely kept these under lock & key…and for good reason. That being said, you’re an adult now, and it’s important that you are the one in possession of these forms for a lot of different uses and reasons. This includes your passport, social security card, the original copy of your birth certificate, and your driver’s license. You also need to have two copies of all of these – one for you, and one with your parents or a trusted person of your choosing. Next, you need to take a minute to set an alarm or reminder in your phone/calendar/planner 8 months before any of these expire or need to be renewed. Trust me, some of them take a long time to renew, some of them become more costly if the time lapses, and you never want to be caught without one being up-to-date.
I had to renew and replace every single one of these when I moved (no seriously) and it took AGES and a lot of money. Some of mine were misplaced when I was younger, so if you don’t have them don’t worry, it’s fixable! You can renew/replace them here: social security card | birth certificates | passports | and your driver’s license can be replaced at your new local DMV.
*If it makes you nervous to hang on to such important identity-related documents, it’s definitely worth considering getting a security deposit box at your local bank (and it’s pretty easy to do!)*
The Never-Ending Paperwork | You’re likely about to be handling more paperwork than you’ve ever seen in your life…lease and rental agreements, different types of insurance, bank statements, utility bills, phone bills, internet & cable…the list goes on and on. This is such an important thing to pay attention to – you need to keep a copy of every. single. thing. Whether it’s digitally in an email folder, or alongside all of these other items, you need to save everything. If your roommate handles the bills, ask to receive a copy each month or to be added as a co-owner of the account so that you can have access. This comes in handy more often than you think, like when you have to prove residence at the DMV or when registering to vote!
Speaking of Registering to Vote |
I know this might be low on people’s priority lists, especially as we just went through an election, but this is usually something you can take care of while you’re handling all of this other stuff, so it is smart to just get it out of the way. At your local DMV, ensure that you have the right documentation and ask to be registered to vote in your new city/state, so you don’t have to worry about it when the time comes. It’s super easy!
All About the Money | Everyone seems to have varying degrees of experience handling money upon graduating, but one thing is certain – you’re about to have a lot more of it, and you’re about to have to pay a lot more of it too. Tax documents that you receive from your new job, 401k forms and information regarding your company’s plan, anything regarding student loans if you have them, bank statements and documents…all of this needs to be saved, protected, and kept in one place. (Most banks do digital statements these days, as do student loan companies, so I made email folders with passwords for both!)
So there is is – everything you need to be keeping tracking of and organization now that you’re officially entering the “real world”. I know it seems intimidating and huge at first, but honestly most of these things you will only have to handle once every few years, or once and then never again! They’re all equally important, though, and you’ll constantly thank yourself in the years to come when you need them for something.