How to navigate the transition into adulthood and independence

Oct 26 / Michelle Arseneault
As young people near the end of their teenage years, the pressure to figure out life can be overwhelming. So much seems to change at once – from gaining more independence and responsibility, to discovering who you are and what you want in life.

This transitional period can feel daunting, but with a few tips it can be navigated smoothly. Here are some things to keep in mind as you take this next step into adulthood.
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Don't. Freak. Out.

The first and most important thing to remember when navigating the transition into adulthood is not to freak out. It can be daunting to suddenly be responsible for everything in your life, but it's important to remember that you're not alone. There are plenty of people who have gone through this transition and come out the other side just fine. So, take a deep breath and relax. You've got this.
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Give yourself a break.

You’re not expected to have your entire life figured out the moment you graduate from college or turn 21. In fact, most people don’t have their lives completely figured out until well into their 30s or even 40s. So cut yourself some slack and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t have everything figured out just yet.
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Set some goals.

One of the best ways to make the transition into adulthood successfully is to set some goals for yourself. What do you want to achieve in the next year? The next five years? The next ten years? Once you have a general idea of what you want to accomplish, you can start making a plan to get there.
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Get organized.

One of the best ways to ease the transition into adulthood is to get organized. Make a list of all the things you need to do in order to move out and live on your own, and then start checking items off one by one. The more prepared you are, the less daunting the whole process will seem.
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Be open to change.

One of the biggest challenges of adulthood is learning how to deal with change. Things will always be changing, whether it’s your job, your relationships, your living situation, or your plans for the future. The sooner you learn to roll with the punches and go with the flow, the easier this transition will be.
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Create a budget.

Another important adulting skill is learning how to create and stick to a budget. Once you start working, it's important to start tracking your income and expenses so that you know where your money is going each month. This will help ensure that you're able to cover all of your necessary expenses and still have money left over for savings or fun activities.

Money can be one of the biggest stressors during this time in your life, so it’s important to be mindful of your finances and make smart decisions with your money. That doesn’t mean you have to live like a monk – just be aware of where your money is going and make sure you’re not overspending on things that aren’t important.
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Learn how to cook.

One of the biggest shocks of adulthood is realizing that you can't live on ramen noodles and pizza forever (trust me, I've tried). Learning how to cook basic meals is an important skill that will help you save money and eat healthier. There are plenty of resources available online and in cookbooks that can teach you how to cook even if you've never set foot in a kitchen before.
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Get a job.

One of the most obvious things you'll need to do when transitioning into adulthood is to get a job. Unless you're lucky enough to have a trust fund or some other source of income, you'll need to start working in order to support yourself. Start by looking for entry-level jobs in your field of interest. Even if the job isn't your dream job, it will help you gain the experience and skills you need to eventually get there.

The important thing is to start earning money so that you can support yourself financially. Once you have a steady income, you can start thinking about finding a better-paying job or changing careers altogether.
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Find a place to live.

If you're moving out of your parents' house, one of the first things you'll need to do is find a place to live. This can be easier said than done, especially if you're on a tight budget. Start by looking for roommates who are also in the process of transitioning into adulthood. Splitting rent and other expenses with roommates can help make adulting a bit more affordable.

This doesn't mean that you have to buy a house or an apartment; even renting a room in a shared house or apartment can be a big step towards independence.
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Make time for yourself.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and forget to take care of yourself. But it’s important to make time for yourself – even if it’s just 10 minutes a day – to do something that makes you happy or relaxes you. Whether it’s reading, taking a bath, going for a walk, or listening to music, find something that helps you unwind and stick with it.
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Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

It’s okay to admit that you need help, whether it’s from your parents, your friends, or a professional. No one expects you to do this all on your own, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.
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Find a support system.

Having a strong support system is crucial during this time in your life. Lean on your family and friends for emotional support and practical advice. If you don’t have a lot of people in your life that you can rely on, there are plenty of online communities and forums that can offer support and advice as well.

Transitioning into adulthood can be difficult, but with the right tools and resources it can be a bit easier. I've outlined some of the most important things you'll need to do in order to make the transition smoother, including finding a job, getting a place to live, and learning how to cook. Don't forget that it's okay to ask for help when you need it – there are plenty of people who are willing and able to support you during this time in your life.