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Chelsea shares "adulting" lessons she wished she'd learned in her 20s, including money mistakes she wishes she could have avoided. Learn more "grown up" changes you can make in your life here:

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Hey, guys. It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet.

And today I'm going to be doing something a little more personal and fun than usual, which is talking about the things that I wish. I'd done differently at 22. Now we know a lot of you guys are in the college age range, pretty soon going to be heading out into what we all call the real world.

So I thought it might be fun to share with you guys some of the things that I wish I had done differently at that age. Now obviously, not every one of these points is going to be purely financial, but I do believe that the better prepared we are for the realities of post-grad life, the better we're able to handle everything, including, and possibly especially, money. So let's jump right into it.

Here are the 13 things I wish I'd done differently at 22. Number one is telling people I can do things when I know I can't follow. Through now I think there's a variety of reasons that lead us to saying yes to a lot of things, like favors or helping people out, or even just social activities.

But no matter what the reason, I think a lot of us find ourselves in young adulthood with a calendar full of things that we said yes to that we knew in our heart of hearts we weren't going to do. And there is nothing worse than A, looking at your calendar and dreading something you agreed to, or B, canceling on people last minute when you should have said no in the first place. It took me several years of adulthood to really learn to say, OK.

Clearly, I'm not going to want to help my friend go to the Ikea all the way in downtown Brooklyn at 8:00 in the morning on a Sunday. And by learning to say no to things upfront, and to be honest with myself about what I can and can't do, it saved me a ton of headaches. The rush you get from agreeing to do things is nowhere close to worth the downfall you feel when you know you're not going to do it.

Number two was remembering that the decisions. I made at that time in my life were not going to define me forever. There's such a rush when you graduate to really sort of define who and what you're going to be.

And you can often feel like you're in a race with people in real life and on social media to really decide on a path and define yourself. Now obviously, you shouldn't look at your first job out of school as like, ah, this is a throwaway. I'm just 22.

I don't have to be great at it, and you know, get fired six months later. But you also shouldn't look at that job as the thing that's going to define you for the rest of your life. Part of the problem with majors and internships and that sort of culture of picking a career path is that it sets you up to feel like your whole education is worthless if you don't do exactly what you thought you would do.

The truth is that you're very likely to bounce around between a few paths in your first few years out of college. And taking some time to really understand what you want to do is not a failure. You're allowed to make mistakes.

Number three is be more picky about my unpaid work. Now it's pretty much unavoidable in America today-- and we can debate the ethics of this later-- that in order to get the career you want, you're probably going to have to do a little bit of unpaid work here or there. But I think like a lot of people in that sort of like late college, early career area,.

I was sort of everyone's bitch and felt like, OK, working a full-time, unpaid internship with not even a whisper of a real job after is just what you do. There were internships where I didn't even ask if there was a possibility to be compensated, and there very well might have been. And even in unpaid situations where there was a benefit to me, I didn't know where to draw the line.

For example I wrote a few articles for big, prestige outlets early on in my career that definitely had enough money to pay their writers. And I wrote one for them, and I sort of got such a high off of it that I kept writing articles for them, even though one to get the byline was enough. And I should have drawn the line.

I don't think I'd have the career I have today if I didn't do some unpaid work, but I should have been a lot smarter about it. Number four is honestly simple. Be less of a bitch to my parents.

It would be an exaggeration to say that they were right about everything. But there were certainly a lot of things in my college and early professional life that I really fought them on that I should have just trusted them on. You shouldn't blindly trust your parents about everything.

But it's important to remember that, in most cases, your parents genuinely and purely want what is best for you. Very few people in your life will be advocates to that level. So you should listen to them.

Number five is negotiate. Now I know we've been over this a million times, but it's because it's so important and so ignored. It took me, like, literally four different jobs to start negotiating, and that is ridiculous.

At 22, I was just so excited at the idea of someone paying me money for work that I wanted to do that they could have been paying me in, like, shells and twigs, and I would have been over the moon. I didn't advocate for myself because I was like,. I'm a lowly college-- not even grad.

I didn't even graduate. So I was like, I don't deserve any of this. I'll take whatever you give me.

I'm not exaggerating-- not negotiating probably cost me at least $10,000 to $20,000 over the course of a couple years because don't forget, once you lock in that initial salary, that's the salary you're building off of for as long as you're out that company. Number six is to be way smarter about how. I bought professional clothes.

Here's a good rule of thumb. When you're not sure what your job's going to be yet, you get one nice interview outfit. And you don't buy more work clothes until you have the job.

I was on the interview process and I was like,. I guess I need an entire wardrobe like that scene in The Devil Wears Prada where they take her into the work closet and give her an entire year's worth of Dolce and Gabbana. That was me, except with Ann Taylor instead of Dolce and Gabbana.

But the point is I took it so, so over the top because I was like, it's professional time, bitch. I'm going to look really good. Number seven is accept the fact that not every friendship is going to make the transition from school to real life.

The truth is that a lot of friendships are contextual, and whether we want to admit it or not, a lot of our close friends in college were really only so close because we saw them literally every day. I think a lot of people can either take it really personally or sort of beat themselves up if they lose that connection with a lot of the people that they were really close to in college. And I'm definitely one of those people.

But the truth is that a lot of friendship just aren't made to withstand that change in context and in distance. And the friendships that you do keep will become that much stronger. No one will tell you this, but if you're a working, busy, full of responsibility adult, you basically have the time for a couple good friends, and that's already a solid achievement.

College sets you up for really unrealistic expectations about how your friend groups will be maintained. Let it go. Eight is saying no to certain jobs.

The truth is that people are so desperate after college to get a job so that they feel like they're not A, a failure, and B, in some way wasting all of the money and/, or loans that they took out to pay for that college education. But the point is, if a job looks terrible in every way except for the fact that it's a job, don't take it. It's a much better move to do some waitressing and retail and barista-ing for a year while you find the right career path rather than to jump into the first office job that will take you because the truth is that abruptly leaving in any way a quote, unquote professional job is a lot harder to explain on your resume.

So just because a job gives you a cubicle and a little bit of social prestige, don't be sucked in. Number nine is put a little bit more thought into my living space. Now it doesn't matter how much money you have to spend on your space or on your furniture or on your neighborhood or whatever.

Everyone has the ability to take care of their home. And there were definitely a couple years post-grad while I was still sort of like a teenager in my mind, and I would have piles of things everywhere, and I didn't keep a neat calendar, and things were completely disorganized. And it totally reflected in my life and in my work.

The sooner you start taking care of your living space like, say, your mom might take care of your living space, the better. Nothing will get you off on a better foot in your first job than coming home to a space every night that really feels like the adult you want to be. Number 10 is relax about the social media race.

If you're a post-grad who's in the sort of frantic, get a job race, one of the best pieces of advice. I can give you is to seriously reduce your social media consumption. Now whether that means unfollowing certain people who make you feel kind of bad about yourself, or whittling down what you yourself feel the need to post, just take it down a notch.

So much of that crazy pressure to figure your life out at 22 comes from seeing people around you who seem to have it all figured out because everyone's life looks more impressive and more together when filtered through social media. But when we feel really insecure and down about ourselves, it can be hard to remember that everyone else is painting an incomplete portrait, just like we are. So if you feel yourself feeling like the loser who can't figure their life out, I recommend seriously cutting back on social media.

You don't need to be pinged with a push notification every time one of your friends gets a job. Number 11 is take on more side projects. Now obviously, in the first six months to a year of a job, it can be hard to find that balance that allows you to take on side projects and hobbies and things like that.

But one of the only good ways to figure out what you want your career to look like, especially in the long term, is to make sure you're constantly diversifying what you do with your time. You should be forcing yourself to dedicate at least a couple hours to earning a little extra income, working on learning a new skill, or sharpening one you already have. Just having a job is not enough.

You have to have sort of a well-rounded portfolio of your professional self. For example, why not do a little Duolingo or something on your commute to work? There's nothing stopping you from always adding something new to what you can offer.

Number 12 is embracing the time that I still had with my school friends. 22 is a year in your life where so, so much is going to change. And it can be really hard to understand in the moment that the people who you're so used to being around all the time are pretty soon going to be a very small part of your life. It's not anyone's fault or failure when friendships can naturally fade away a little bit.

But it's really important that we keep and treasure the time that we have with these people while we have it. If you're nearing the end of your college life,. I would recommend taking maybe a weekend to go on a little trip with your friends, or find a little activity that the few of you can do for this last semester, or whatever it is to make you feel closer and more connected with these people.

To be honest, I kind of took for granted a lot of the time that I had with my college friends when I had it. And I wish I'd really appreciated it more in the moment. Number 13 is remember that my identity is totally fluid, and I don't have to decide who or what I am.

There's such a rush when we graduate school to really find a label that fits ourselves as well as student did. You know, you want to be, like, I'm a professional,. I'm a teacher, I'm a writer, I'm a New Yorker, I'm a whatever.

And we try so hard to find these perfect labels that we feel we can really be proud of and really live in. And then we realize that they don't even define 1/3 of who we are. So if I could go back, I would remind myself over and over that my job status, my relationship status, my location, none of those things are who I am.

They're just things I do or things I have. The race to find a definition of ourselves that fits is one of the most frustrating of the post-grad era because you will never win it. So get comfortable with just being you and realizing that what that means can change even on a day-to-day basis.

So as always, thank you for watching, and don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and go to for more. Bye.