Getting Your College Grad Ready for the Real World in 4 Steps

After years of late night study sessions and grinding away at papers, you couldn’t be more proud of your college graduate. Then you start to think about how your kid still can’t cook, remember to send a thank-you note or bother to answer the phone. Here are some tools to give your daughter or son before they leave the nest for good to ensure that they are ready for adulthood.

Expect responsibility at school and at home. If your child still has a bit more time in graduate school, encourage them to take advantage of the rest of their student days to learn life skills. A suite or apartment-style residence is the perfect transition to “real world” housing, as this space provides opportunity for hosting, decorating, cleaning and cooking. To encourage more cooking, offer to put your student on a partial meal plan with a supplemental budget for groceries (if you fear this may go straight to pizza delivery, give them gift cards to the nearest grocery store). If your grad is moving back home, even temporarily, explain that they are now another adult in the household and will be treated as such for as long as their stay. Justly divide up household tasks like vacuuming and cooking.

[My Advice to Grads: Be Careful Who You Choose to Be]

Minding manners. Hopefully your child will have received many presents—perhaps a practical slow cooker—in honor of their graduation accomplishment. This is a great opportunity for you to encourage writing thank-you notes to the generous gift-givers. Family and friends will love to feel appreciated with a note in a mail, even if their thank-you writing skills are a bit rusty. Also encourage your grad to send thank-you notes to his professors as well as anyone else who impacted their college experience. These connections are important to keep, so remind your grad that a thank-you note can help them do just that. Additionally, remind them that potential employers appreciate and sometimes expect a thank-you note following an interview. It only needs to be a few sentences, but could end up being a deciding factor in today’s critically competitive job market.

In addition to thanking the people that have a hand in your child’s success, this is a great time to consider their daily communication and interactions with family, friends and even hiring managers. If your grad has trouble answering the phone, is hesitant to make an important call or check critical voicemails, they might be sending the wrong message to others or missing out on a life-changing opportunity. Harness the power of the digital age and encourage the use of tech tools that will manage calls and other forms of communication like email more effectively.

[Watch 5 of the Best Commencement Addresses of 2016]

Speak their language. Resist the urge to compare your grad to yourself at their age and nag them of this. Instead, promote helpful resources that are likely to resonate. Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown is a humorous yet practical book written by a millennial for her own generation. It’s a quick read that you can include in a grad gift, and includes tips for managing a healthy personal life, successful career and happy home. If your child prefers blogs, they can check out the companion blog here:

Other web resources already come in the form of your grad’s favorites: BuzzFeed and Facebook. Check out the BuzzFeed Food section for tons of creative and simple recipes, the Do-It-Yourself section featuring tips on organization and the Health section. There are also countless pages on Facebook that offer tips and tricks for everyday life presented in a fun way. Our favorites—both sponsored by BuzzFeed—include Proper Tasty, which features yummy recipes quickly taught in video format, and Nifty, which features fun craft projects that are practical for the home.

[Read Maria Shriver’s latest ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ essay]

Accept that, sometimes, people do just have to learn for themselves. You have put your best efforts forward to raise a happy, healthy, productive member of society. You may even nag a bit, but it’s only because you want your son or daughter to avoid many cringe-worthy movements you might have experienced. But any kind of learning requires firsthand failure, and learning to navigate the real world is no different. That trash can you sighed over five times will be emptied quickly when a date complains of the smell in the room. Tossing a salad together will sound like a great option when feeling bloated, tired and poor after ordering delivery for the past week. Encourage them to learn from their mistakes and seek help from their resources—including you—and your grad will be ready to tackle the real world.


About the Author

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Alex Quilici has been a successful entrepreneur in the telephony space for the past 15 years, and is now the CEO of YouMail, which replaces traditional voicemail with unique call management services.

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