Welcome to adulthood! You're ... well ... not going to love it so much at the beginning. There is a steady stream of new expenses, problems and lessons to discover the first few years on your own that may be daunting but will prepare you for the rest of your life. Though the learning part isn't so fun, acknowledging these challenges is the first step into adulthood.

1. Just because you get clean in the shower doesn't mean your shower is clean. The shower is a dirty, disgusting place unless you scrub it yourself.

2. When the items in your refrigerator get low, they don't refill themselves. Someone has to go out and buy them.

3. If you leave your laundry in the dryer for too long, the wrinkles will remain there until you wash those clothes again.

4. Oh, you have the flu? Need to fix a toothache? Is it time for your annual check up? You're going to have to make those doctor's appointments, they haven't been made for you.

credit card bill

5. You will begin to dread the day of the month when your bank emails you a "friendly reminder" to pay your credit card bill.

6. A dishwasher will save you hours of time and energy.

7. Never buy groceries alone. They will go bad quicker than you anticipate.

8. A light bulb blew out? Not going to turn on again until you call the super or install it yourself.

thanksgiving food

9. Home cooked meals sound fun in theory, but in reality take hours and never taste quite as good as your mom's.

10. Dry clean only? What the hell is dry clean only?

11. Trader Joe's should be your new house of worship. Their price motto is "all our items are on sale, day in and day out."

12. Receiving a letter in the mail is no longer $20 from grandma for your birthday/Christmas/graduation. Now they are bills, junk mail and more bills.

starbucks

13. A morning cup of coffee is one of the most expensive habits you can acquire.

14. Since you're an adult, your parents will stop signing your name on birthday/holiday/thank you cards. You're now responsible for writing those yourself.

15. You'll beg your parents to stay on their Verizon family plan. If you don't, watching the data rack up is torture.

16. Internet connection is a precious and valuable commodity. Coincidentally, when that internet is faulty, being on hold with Comcast/Time Warner/Verizon/AT&T will be the bane of your existence.

treadmill

17. Being healthy is a luxury. Gym memberships, organic food and vitamins are extremely expensive. Bright side? You can't afford food.

18. You'll start to think of prices in terms of hours you work. That new sweater you want? Not worth eight hours at your desk.

19. What's that rancid smell coming from the kitchen? Oh, it's the trash that's been full to the brim that you haven't taken out for two weeks.

20. You won't want to spend more than $10 on a bottle of wine. It all tastes the same anyway.


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  • Your College Major

    Most college freshmen don't know their major going into college -- and if they do, they frequently end up changing it after a semester or a year. The whole point of college is exploration: Take your time and try out different subjects until you find one that sticks.

  • What You're Looking For In A Relationship

    It can take a lot of relationship experience to figure out what you're really looking for in a partner. And by no means is that something you need to fugure out in high school or even college. Spending times with different types of people, and having both good and bad experiences with them, will make your needs and desires clear in time.

  • Spending WAY Too Much Time On Tumblr

    OK, so scrolling through Tumblr until 3 a.m. when you have an exam the next morning is probably not the best idea, but don't feel bad about spending a seemingly inordinate amount of time on your favorite social network. Twitter and Tumblr can be a great way to connect with others and figure out your own interests and aesthetics.

  • Defining Your Personal Style

    Your style will likely change drastically as you get older and experiment with different looks -- don't worry about figuring out whether to label your style as "glam" or "boho." Just look at Taylor Swift, who has changed her signature style with each album. Have fun exploring and gradually figuring out what looks you feel the most, well, <em>you</em>.

  • Having A Perfect Resume

    In high school and college, there's a lot of pressure to succeed in your academics, extra-curriculars and internships. But if you participate in activities and go after awards solely for the sake of your resume -- not out of real interest -- colleges and employers will probably be able to tell. Do things because they're what you love!

  • Being A Super-Fan

    So what if you worship your favorite star? Now is the time in your life to declare your unfailing, til-death-to-us-part devotion to that special singer or actor you love. Don't let the haters make you feel embarrassed about that "one thing" you can't get enough of -- whether it's the Biebs or the 1D boys. You have the whole rest of your life to play it cool.

  • Finding The Right Group Of Friends

    Finding good friends in high school is important, but don't stress about it too much if you have never found the perfect group of friends. As you move into college and the real world, where you're interacting with a larger and more diverse demographic, you'll find those people you <em>really </em>want to spend your time with.

  • Being Able To Cook A Gourmet Meal

    Even if cooking isn't your thing, it's still worth learning how to make a meal that doesn't come out of a can or box. But don't stress about being able to prepare meals worthy of a five-star restaurant -- simple, basic recipes can still be healthy, delicious, and impressive to dinner party guests.

  • Finding 'The One'

    Think your high school sweetheart is the real deal? Finding love when you're young is an incredible experience, but don't worry too much about finding your "forever." You have years ahead of you to find yourself before you find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

  • Still Going To Your Parents For Help

    If you're 12, 18, or even 30 years old, it's okay to lean on your parents for help or support whenever you need it. Growing up means learning to do things on your own, yes, but it doesn't mean that you have to do it all alone. Learn to lean on the people who will always be there for you.

  • Understanding Your Sexuality

    Sexuality and attraction can take many different forms, and it's something you can spend your entire life exploring. Questioning your sexual orientation can be a challenging process, but try to remember that it's okay if you're still figuring it all out.

  • Defining Your Political Beliefs

    Not sure if you lean liberal or conservative, or what exactly all the differences are between the Democrats and the GOP? Don't sweat it. While it's important to stay informed about current events and issues in our country, figuring out what side you're on isn't so important. It's the issues, not the parties, that really matter.

  • Getting A Credit Card

    Unless you HAVE to, just don't. Credit cards are dangerous because they can feel like free money -- a track that many debt-laden college students have fallen into. Stick to cash and a debit card until you determine that you're ready to build good credit and have the resources to pay off your bill every month.

  • Acting Like A Little Kid Sometimes

    In your rush to leave childhood in the dust, don't worry about acting like a kid sometimes -- you know, taking time to just <em>play</em>. Make a 10-minute stop at the swingset on your walk home, let yourself doodle during class, and enjoy an ice cream cone (with rainbow sprinkles) when you're having a bad day and need a pick-me-up.

  • Being Single

    When your friends are all in relationships and every teen magazine is giving you tips on how to "Get a boyfriend now!" it's hard not to feel inadequate about being single. Whether you're a serial dater or you've never been in a real relationship, learning how to embrace being on your own is a skill that will make you stronger -- and happier -- for the rest of your life.

  • Following A 'Life Timeline'

    For the more type-A among us, it's almost instinctive to try to chart out your life: Make the varsity team by sophomore year, get a boyfriend or girlfriend by senior year, travel abroad by 18, get a job right out of college. It's important to have goals, but let's be honest -- life doesn't really work that way. Save yourself a lot of frustration by being flexible about when you accomplish things and not getting too upset when life don't go exactly according to plan.

  • Being Perfect

    This goes for individuals of all ages, but the pressure to be perfect can be especially challenging as a teenager. Time spent worrying about being a straight-A student, having a flawless figure or living the perfect life is time wasted. Embrace your flaws.

  • Knowing If/When You Want To Get Married Or Have Kids

    Whether you think you may want to start a family right after you graduate or the mere idea of marriage sends you into a tailspin, knowing if and when you want to settle down isn't something to waste your energy worrying about. Chances are, you'll change your mind a handful of times during your teens, 20s and 30s before you figure it out -- and that's totally OK.

  • Knowing What You Want To Do For The Rest Of Your Life

    When you're feeling pressured to figure out where you're going to college, what your major will be, and in turn, what you want in your career, it's easy to stress out over your entire life plan. But the truth of the matter is that interests evolve and that most people change their careers many times of their course of their lives. If you haven't found your passion, experiment with things that sound fun to you until something clicks -- and trust that, eventually, it will.

  • Knowing Who You Are

    We've heard time and again that change is life's only constant -- and it's true. Especially when you're a teenager, you're still changing and figuring out who you are, a process that will continue for most if not all of your life. Instead of feeling pressured to define yourself based on your musical taste or relationships, enjoy the lifelong process of discovering -- and creating -- yourself.