10 Signs You've Outgrown Your Bad College Habits

They say college is all about growing up. You know, finding yourself and forming an identity independent of your family and the life you knew from ages 1 through 18. That might be true. But, for every moment of self discovery, there is another, equally impressive moment of totally juvenile behavior. Maybe it's the "no parents, no rules" effect, but when you find yourself and three roommates crammed onto a twin bed in the middle of the afternoon, re-watching Arrested Development for the fifth time, crumbs strewn everywhere, you have to wonder if this isn't just childhood hedonism with alcohol thrown in.
Advertisement
That's okay, though. That's what college is about, in part. But, now you've graduated, be it two or 10 years ago, and you're moving on to a distinctly less crumb-filled existence (or at least trying really, really hard not to eat in your bed except on Sundays...baby steps). Because you deserve to feel good about that, here are 10 signs you're growing up in the real world — proof you've morphed into the Ally McBeal-inspired, inward-leaning, have-it-all woman you always knew you would be.
1 of 10
Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
You own matching wine glasses.
Let us be clear: They don't need to be fancy wine glasses. They don't even need to be wine glasses, per se. So long as you've got a set of any type of liquid-bearing vessels specifically designated for alcohol, and said vessels are not washed-out Solo cups, you're on the right track.
2 of 10
Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
You make plans with the people who are important to you (and you know who those people are).
One of the toughest wake-up calls post-graduation is the realization that your friendships will drift apart. You might even come to discover that you actually never had much in common — beyond shared living space — with the people you once called your "soulmates." Through that painful process, though, you'll identify the friends who really are there to stay, and you'll see that these people won't just conveniently find their way into your life via the dining hall or an on-campus party. Instead, you adjust your busy schedule to find time for the people you really care about, you keep in touch, and you don't wait for friendship to fall into your lap.
Advertisement
3 of 10
Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
You fight, maturely, about the big stuff, and put pettiness aside.
Okay, nobody's perfect. At every age, the little things, the nit-picky parts of life, can get to you and drive you crazy in a relationship. But, looking back on the things you and your S.O., friends, or roommates fought about in college, it can feel like you were all fishing for drama like middle-schoolers at a Valentine's Day dance. When you've got things like jobs and kids and "real life" to worry about, you start to see when you're sweating the small stuff, and you can stop yourself before you make a mess — or at least tread more mindfully into it.
4 of 10
Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
Assignments are not a suggestion.
In a classroom setting, you and your professor are getting through it together. Yes, it's on you to complete work on time and get a good grade, but your professor is there to help you through it — it's their job to teach you. While the best bosses are always teachers in their own way, working life (especially if you're trying the freelance route) requires a bit more self-sufficiency and productivity. If you don't perform up to standards or you let yourself slack off too much, chances are nobody's going to sit down with you and say, "Hey buddy, you're headed for a C minus." That's a luxury of the past, and maybe that's a good thing — if you don't expect your superiors to cut you any slack, you'll make a name for yourself as someone who's truly on top of her game.
5 of 10
Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
The phrase "team player" now actually means something to you.
Speaking of doing your best work — when you're part of a larger organization and the results of your efforts are more tangible than grades, the consequences of doing good (or bad) work start to come into focus pretty quickly. Sure, you might be able to sneak by without doing that thing your boss asked for this week, but that means your coworkers, your superiors, and anyone you manage are going to end up with more stress (and possible resentment towards you) in the long run.
6 of 10
Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
You have learned the difference between work clothes, party clothes, and sleep clothes.
And, while you might still wear sweatpants for all three, you realize there are certain standards of put-togetherness to which one must adhere.
7 of 10
Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
You actually take care of your nice stuff.
It's not like you didn't know that your cashmere sweater shouldn't be washed in the communal machine, or that your laptop didn't actually benefit from a weekly ketchup bath. But, somehow, those things now hit home a little bit more. Whether you're putting aside a budget for dry cleaning, finding time to vacuum your floor, or actually installing updates on your devices (gasp!), that basic maintenance is a hallmark of responsibility for a grown-ass woman.
Advertisement
8 of 10
Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
Going out isn't a burden, it's a pleasure.
In college, there's often a certain pressure to party yourself to the edge of death every Thursday through Saturday night (at least). Gradually, though, that guilt begins to fade as the pleasure of night cheese and Friday evenings at home grows more acute. There's nothing wrong with staying in — and if you live in a city where going out costs big money, it's even more preferable to hit the town only when you're really in the mood and you've got something truly awesome to do.
9 of 10
Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
You occasionally go out to a nice dinner — without your parents.
There was a time when ramen and pizza were sufficient to get you through between parental visits, at which point you would promptly attend the finest restaurant in town. Nowadays, you're likely to treat yourself to a nice dinner when you can, and that counts for something, even if you still text your mother afterwards to inform her of how very fancy you are. Advanced level: Offer to split the bill with your mom and pop when you do go out together.
10 of 10
Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
You've stopped asking everyone where they went to school.
Now, you ask them for their LinkedIn profile instead.
Advertisement