10 Steps to Sounding Like an Adult

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As a college student preparing to enter the real world, I often find myself on Google panicking about the future. Where should I go to get a job for my major? How should I dress for an interview? What’s a 401K?! We’ve all been there, and it’s moments like this where it really hits me–once college is over, we’ll actually have to be adults. Luckily, College Mag is here to help with a 10-step guide to sounding like (and actually being) a true adult.

10. Dress the Part

The first step to convincing the world that you’re a real adult is to look like one. If you’re a girl, consider investing in a business dress or suit. If you’re a guy, it’s time to pull out that suit and tie your mom was always trying to get you to wear to family gatherings. First impressions are everything, so make it a good one.

9. Learn Eye Contact

For some people, this is the most uncomfortable part of adulthood. In a professional setting, people are always expecting you to look deep into their eyes like a Valentine’s Day date. It shows that you’re engaged and interested. If you struggle with this type of gesture, try practicing it with family and friends.

8. Have Confidence

This is no time to be shy. Hold your head high and keep your back straight. Confidence is key to being an adult, and your future co-workers will definitely respect your headstrong and committed attitude.

7. Take Control

We’re talking finances here. Adults are not financially dependent on their parents, so you shouldn’t be either. It’s important to understand the value of money before you can truly be an adult, so try to keep track of how much money you borrow, and how much you have actually earned. Start taking an interest in doing your own taxes and paying your own bills.

6. Drop the “Likes” and “Ums”

Filler words are hard to stop, but it’ll be a lot harder trying to go through your adult life sounding like a teenage valley girl. Try practicing when you’re out with friends by keeping track of how many times you say “like” and “um,” and cut back a little each day. You’ll sound much more adult-like and your confidence will skyrocket.

5. Get the Selfies Under Control

You’ve probably never seen an office worker sitting on their phone behind a desk Snapchatting away. Although it’s hard to fight the addiction, it’s sadly very unprofessional to always be on your phone. College is the perfect time to start getting it together when it comes to showing a little self-control phone-wise. Put it away while you’re in class, studying or even socializing with friends to start practicing for the real world of adulthood.

4. Be On Time

In college, you may be used to staying up until all hours of the night only to roll out of bed around 11 or 12 in the afternoon. Unfortunately, in the adult world, this is not how it works. You’ll have to start adjusting to waking up before 7 a.m., which means you may want to consider being in bed before 11 p.m. Regardless of how you organize your sleeping schedule, just be sure you’re awake and ready to go, making sure to always be early or on time.

3. Avoid Gossip

Even in the adult world, gossip still exists. Office rumors spread like wildfire, and the last thing you want to do is get involved. If middle school and high school taught you anything, it should have been that playing into drama never works out well for anyone. Avoid the water cooler and get back to work.

2. Get the Job Done

In college, you may have gotten away with slacking off on a few assignments here and there. In the real world, if you’re given a job to do, you’ll be fully expected to get it done, and get it done well. As an aspiring adult, learn to take your work seriously, and always finish what you start.

1. Thank You Notes

This may feel a little cliché, but never underestimate the power of a good thank you note after a job interview or meeting. It takes just a few minutes to do, but it shows a great amount of commitment and effort to whoever is receiving it.

Adulthood may appear to be a little intimidating, but a professional lifestyle is a small price to pay for independence and a great job. Your life is just beginning, and with these simple steps, you’ll be fully prepared to tackle everything that the adult world has to throw at you.

Erin is a broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland. She enjoys acrylic painting, playing piano, and long-distance running. Erin also enjoys skiing and snowboarding in her hometown of Buffalo, New York.

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