Sugar, we’re going down swinging.

Last Friday at 11:30pm the night of my 27th birthday I found myself sitting on the kitchen floor, fridge door wide open, fork in hand, eating the massive gluten-free birthday cake my boyfriend surprised me with earlier that day while contemplating if I should eat one of the gluten-free whoopie pies or all four of the gluten-free cake pops still in the fridge. So why was I on my kitchen floor eating cake out of the fridge instead of cutting a slice and eating it at a table like a normal adult? Guilt.

But there were lessons learned.

Five years ago today on May 2, 2014, the day before my 22 birthday and a week before my college graduation, I found myself sitting in an insurance office being interviewed for a liability claims job. To be honest, I really didn’t know what the job I was interviewing for entailed, and either that manager didn’t realize how clueless I really was or he recognized that I wasn’t just blowing smoke when I said I was a hard worker. Regardless of why he offered me the job on the spot, he did. I think he made the right decision since I’m still employed there. I’ve learned so much over the last 5 years and today I’d like to share with you the top 5 lessons I’ve learned.

Be careful who you hang around.

Merriam-Webster has six different definitions for the noun friend. Not one, not two, not even four. Six different ways to define the people we refer to as friends. That’s the thing about friendships, they’re multidimensional. They’re complex and at times messy. They have such a huge impact on who we are, but do we put enough thought into choosing our friends?

Sometimes I feel like giving up but I just can’t.

I remember the first time I started to feel like I was moving in the direction of successfully adulting. Surprisingly, it wasn’t when I got my first full-time job offer. Instead it was when my health insurance benefits went into effect with my new postgraduate employer. I felt like I was ahead of the game compared to my peers when I actively made my health a priority. I couldn’t have guessed how life altering being proactive about my health would be or how badly I really couldn’t afford to give up that mission.

For the first time in a long time I’m doing fine.

What is PostGradMad? To be honest it started out as just my Instagram handle. Like a lot of Instagram users, I was trying to find a clever username that combined my name, Madison, with something relevant about me such as the fact that I graduated college. What’s more important is what my Instagram PostGradMad morphed into... my gateway to comparison and self-pity.