Guest post by Becky Bailey

I recently graduated college from Chico State with a Communications degree, a fluffy kitten named Stella, and four great years of memories to show for it – plus 4 life lessons after college graduation. The typical response I get when I say I went to Chico State is “Ooh, party school.” And yes, there were some long nights with cheap vodka but there were also all-nighters spent in the library.

After graduation I had my eyes set on moving to Los Angeles, dying to experience someplace new. I (prematurely) packed up all my stuff and moved, leaving Stella with my mom until I found my place. After being in L.A. for about six months I have grown a lot as a woman and I’ve learned so much about myself and post-college life.

To sum it up, here are the main things a recent college grad learned about moving away from home:

1.Yes, you will miss your mom

I lived in Chico for four years and only went home for major holidays and the occasional phone call seemed to cure all of my homesickness. I figured this would be the same. No way. I found myself calling my mom and dad every single day just to chat. There were questions I had that usually my mom was right there to help me with. It’s totally okay to miss your parents when you’ve moved away!

2.You will need a checkbook

Now this was something I was so unprepared to do on my own. I went to apply for an apartment and they said they needed a check to do the application fee. A check?? You guys don’t take Venmo? Welcome to the real world, Becky. I left feeling defeated, immediately throwing away the application because I have never had, or written, a check in my life.

The next stop was the bank. I confidently went to the teller and told her I would like checks with puppies on them, please. Was I shocked when I realized there is more to it than what kind of animal you want on the front. I stood there with a blank look on my face and started laughing. I told the lady to just hook me up with whatever she thought I needed because I had NO clue! They then informed me I could have done this online with eyes full of judgment and pitty. Lesson learned.

3.Post College Life Is Not All Brunch and Concerts

I figured now that I was done with school that I would have all of this free time to hit up Bottomless Mimosa Brunches and Friday night concerts. Joke’s on me. I thought I was broke in college but wow, was I wrong. Currently working an internship at a PR Agency and a restaurant job at night, I have no free time and even less money. It is important to take some time for fun, even if its just a hike with the dogs or breakfast on the pier.

4.Don’t Beat Yourself Up, Mistakes Are Inevitable

Moving to a new city meant I had a lot to learn. Traffic is different here than in the Bay Area. On certain days, I fly to work in less than 30 minutes. Other days it can take a solid 45. So sometimes I find myself late when I thought I was right on time.

Budgeting is not as easy as putting money away. Hidden expenses you never saw coming can throw off your whole savings plan. Deodorant runs out a lot faster in always sunny L.A. than it does in the foggy Bay Area. It all comes down to balance and learning. Maybe every time I go to Target I don’t need to buy that accent pillow, even though it would compliment my bed perfectly. . . (Okay, I bought it). These are things not to beat yourself up over. It’s all about learning from your mistakes.

My advice to both parents and young people about to graduate is take your time. There is no rush to move out (if your parents will have you, that is). Find what you are really passionate about. Take some time to go on a post-college trip. Get a checkbook before you move. Don’t forget to take some time for fun. You’re young and these are the years that count! And don’t be afraid to call your mom every 5 minutes just because.