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Welcome to Adulting: 6 Books Every New College Grad Needs

by  | May 14

You’ve graduated (or are just about to graduate), sooo…now what? If you’re like me, you’re probably freaking out (read: panicking) and wondering how in the world you could have your diploma/bachelor’s/master’s and still feel like you know NOTHING AT ALL. Seriously, these last few months have mainly consisted of me realizing all the things I don’t really know how to do yet, like buy furniture (did you know beds don’t just…appear???) or file taxes. But at least I know that a2 + b2 = c2, right?

Before we continue down this hole of despair, let’s take a deep breath. Yes, this adulting thing seems/feels incredibly difficult, but surely we’ll get through it and figure things out…right??? In order to get started, here are a few books to help you (and me!) feel like we have some kind of handle on life post-graduation.

The

The "I Love My Rice Cooker" Recipe Book

by Adams Media

So, you no longer live at home. Maybe you even managed to get your first apartment already (a true feat, especially if you’re in New York), but uh-oh...now there’s food to really think about. Because no more daily access to your parent’s delicious cooking and (possibly) no access to campus food either. What to do then?

Well, how nice would it be to be able to cook 175 different recipes using one rice cooker? Get yourself a copy of the “I Love My Rice Cooker” Recipe Book—or request it as a graduation present because, well, your bills aren’t going to pay themselves—and you can do just that! Full of recipes for making veggies, pasta, appetizers, soups, and desserts, this easy-to-follow book will help you make meals that are healthy, using basic pantry ingredients. Even if you’re not yet living on your own, it’s never too early to start learning how to cook for yourself!

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Refinery29 Money Diaries

Refinery29 Money Diaries

by Lindsey Stanberry

It’s time to talk money. Good financial education should begin as early as when you’re five years old (really!), but unfortunately most of us don’t begin to learn until we are in our 20s. This is usually when you have no choice but to learn, as knowledge of money becomes more important than ever. After all, those student loans will be right there waiting for you (unless you’re lucky enough not to have any, in which case, know that I’m super happy for you and not at all jealous). The idea of financial education can feel so overwhelming because it’s hard to know where to begin with it all. Budgets? Cash envelope system? Prayer? All the above???

Luckily, Refinery29 and Lindsey Stanberry have our backs! Money Diaries is a book that will help you navigate the oh-so-scary world of money through advice for saving, tips on repaying loans, help with starting an emergency fund, and more. What makes it even greater is that it also looks at the personal finances of other people to show what they save, what they buy, etc. You’ll feel much readier to face your bank account (and less terrified to actually check it) once you’re armed with this book!

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Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

by Dr. Seuss

Graduations usually signal the end of one chapter of life (see how committed to the book’s theme I am already?) and the beginning of another. It’s perfectly normal to be scared at the thought of graduating, no matter what level you’re at. No matter how much we try to plan ahead, do we ever truly prepare?

Never fear, though. Our good pal Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is basically a pep talk for graduates (and probably the BEST pep talk you’ll ever receive because it rhymes). It somehow manages to be appropriate whether one is graduating kindergarten or graduate school. Really, we could all sometimes use a reminder that things will not always work out and we may end up in a slump, but that we’ll not only make it out, we’ll move mountains too (and that’s because we’ve “heads full of brains and shoes full of feet”). Let’s face it. This wouldn’t be a proper list of books for new graduates without this classic.

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Putting Peace First

Putting Peace First

by Eric Dawson

One of your main goals is to change the world…someday. There’s the environment to save, social justice to fight for, awareness to raise, etc. But it feels like you can do nothing much yet because of your age, having to focus on just surviving, etc. Or you just don’t feel like you’ve had the opportunity to make a huge difference.

What if you found out that Eric David Dawson, co-founder of the nonprofit Peace First, co-founded it at the age of eighteen? And that he subsequently wrote Putting Peace First, a book for young aspiring peacemakers. The book uses the stories of real-life peacemakers and explains how they achieved their goals step-by-step, while also focusing on different aspects of peacemaking. It’s always possible to be an activist, no matter how young/unestablished you think you are.

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When's Happy Hour?

When's Happy Hour?

by The Betches

Ah, the dreaded topic that comes up quite often (especially if it’s college you’re graduating from)…jobs/careers. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a job/source of income waiting for them after graduation. Wouldn’t that be nice though? Wouldn’t it be quite lovely if a job was handed out with your diploma/degree??? Too bad we’re kind of left to figure things out on our own (take advantage of your school’s career services before you leave, if you can!).

This is where the book When’s Happy Hour? comes in. Written by the New York Times bestselling authors and founders of Betches.com, this book is perfect for those who are not yet happy with their professional development and those who want to get ahead in the workforce. Even if you’ve already secured a job, this book is still for you, offering help on a variety of things, like navigating an office hookup, getting closer to that CEO position you’ve been eyeing, and above all: “becoming the Beyoncé of whatever you aspire to do” (that’s right, you could be like the Queen Bey).

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Freshwater

Freshwater

by Akwaeke Emezi

Sometimes, the best way to learn about yourself and/or improve your worldview is to read about the fictional lives of others. Thus, novels are just as important for healthy development as any kinds of nonfiction books. Whether you’re reading middle grade science fiction, young adult romance, or an adult thriller, there is always something to be gained.

One worthwhile novel is Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. Through the main character’s internal struggles, we are offered an exploration of her separate selves conveyed through beautiful writing. You see, the main character, Ada, is a Nigerian girl who is considered a troubled child, who was “born with one foot on the other side.” She eventually develops separate selves as she grows older. After a traumatic event happens to her at her American college, these alters solidify until they become much more real, and Ada herself begins to fade, disturbingly, into her mind. Another thing that makes this novel a unique read is that it’s told in alternating points of view among Ada and her alters, so that the reader directly experiences all her selves.

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Foyinsi Adegbonmire interned on the children’s editorial team of Simon & Schuster’s Books for Young Readers and is studying for her MFA in Creative Writing & Literature from Hofstra University. She adores Young Adult and Middle-Grade fiction—especially fantasy (she can talk world-building forever if you let her), science fiction, and romance. Non-bookish interests include cooking shows, Criminal Minds, philosophy, and sitcoms like Girlfriends, The Big Bang Theory, and Friends.