10 Pieces of Advice for Postcollege Life

She Matters: This writer wishes someone had told her these things at her commencement.

Members of the graduating class of 2002 at Spelman College (Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images)

4. Ask for Help
Face it, you don’t know it all. You’re not supposed to. If you don’t know, ask. If you’re unsure, ask. You’ll make plenty of mistakes that are unavoidable. Avoid the ones you don’t have to make.

5. Save Your Money
If you were broke in college like nearly all college students, you’ll want to go and buy all the shiny new things you’ve wanted for the last four (or six?) years that you couldn’t have. You can have some of them, not all. Save at least 10 percent of whatever you make for a rainy day. I know that sounds like a cliche. It’s oft-repeated because it’s true.

6. Don’t Look for Just a Black Mentor
You are not entitled to mentorship by the black higher-ups at your jobs. Yes, they are there, and someone helped them along the way. And yes, it would great if they gave back. Everyone won’t. Your job is to find someone higher up on the chain of command to impart their wisdom to you. It doesn’t matter what color they are or what gender — only that they are willing to help you.

7. Use Your Age to Your Advantage
You will work jobs with colleagues and superiors who are old enough to be your mother. They have years of experience that you don’t possess. And that’s fine. You have fresh ideas, ingenuity and an online savvy that can’t be taught just by virtue of being new and young. Use them to your advantage.

8. Make Time for Love
There’s nothing wrong with working hard to build a nest egg or buy whatever it is you worked to afford. But burying your head in your laptop won’t land you a lover, or significant other. Consciously make the decision to go out with friends, meet new people and flirt shamelessly with people you find attractive and/or interesting.

9. It’s a Small, Small World
There are three degrees of separation between all college-educated black folk. Try your best not to burn bridges unnecessarily, and don’t tell all your business. Word travels fast.

10. Have Fun
Constantly worrying about the direction of your life doesn’t actually solve any problems; it just gives the illusion that you’re doing something about your worries. (However, your concern is a sign that you’ll probably be OK.) Focus on solving the problem — not just worrying about it — and do something (cheap) that will make you happy so you’ll feel better.  

Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. Follow her on Twitter.