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The Grad Olympics

By Christopher Schonberger

Are you amped that the Olympics are finally here? Yeah, me too—no matter how hard

politicians and nandrolone-injected athletes try to ruin them, the Games are still pretty exciting. In fact, they get me so inspired that I want to throw on some full-body spandex and dominate people!

Unfortunately, no one wants to race me at the local track and I don’t have access to any javelins, so I’ve decided to redirect that energy into a special event I call the Grad Decathlon. In this ultimate test of post-college mettle, there are no winners and losers. But if you want to become the Dan O’Brien of grads (minus the falling off into oblivion part), here are the ten areas where you need to excel. Walk with me, people.

Challenge #1: The Apartment Hunt

Potentially the most competitive of all events in the Grad Decathlon, particularly given these unique seasonal conditions (i.e., August and September are when recent grads usually look for apartments in major cities, and generally they are all vying for the same ones). Looking for an apartment is an endurance event (most people check out between 10 and 50 places), but keep enough gas in the tank to sprint to the finish line when one emerges. Training Regime: Deciding Where to Live, Knowing How to Look for an Apartment, Preparing the Necessary Pre Apartment Search Documents, Apartment Hunting Resources

Challenge #2: The Job Hunt

Getting a job is a tone-setter, kind of like the 100m dash. It’s the glamor event—snag a sick job with a fat paycheck and the trickle-down effect will give you all kinds of momentum (and qualify you for challenge #8). Training Regime: Figuring Out What You Want to Do, Writing the Perfect Resume, Composing the Perfect Cover Letter, Knowing Where to Look for Jobs, Networking Your Way to an Interview, Nailing the Interview

Challenge #3: Cook-off

This Iron Chef-style throw down is all about providing yourself with fuel while saving money for the rest of the decathlon. Training Regime: Kitchen 101: Cooking Supplies, Eating Cheap, Recipe of the Week

Challenge #4: Car Wars

Mobility is a prerequisite for a fulfilling post-grad life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to own a car. As long as you can get to work and anywhere else important with the quickness, you will be p0ning this event. Bonus points for "going green." Training Regime: Determining if You Need a Car, Deciding Whether to Buy or Lease a Car, Purchasing Car Insurance

Challenge #5: Fiscal Fitness

Savings accounts, 410(k)s, bills, and budgeting—you know it’s hard out there for a grad, so this event really tests the self-discipline of competitors. Focus and perseverance are of utmost importance. Training Regime: Choosing a Bank Account, Picking the Right Credit Card, Budgeting the Easy Way, Understanding the Benefits of Investing

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