Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hey Ma, look! I'm all gradumacated! Part 2

In case you missed part 1 of my new advice series for grads, take a minute to catch yourself up and click here.

Ready? Swell. Let's continue.

(That's right, little guy! Hooray for cake time!)
1. Everyone you know will get married. Seriously. I don't know what it is, but something happens to people when they graduate and all of a sudden, everyone you know is either getting married or having babies. I think it has to do with some kind of hormone release or maybe people think they're done maturing and growing up and can now settle down or maybe they're terrified because they just graduated and NOW WHAT?! I'm definitely not saying it's a bad thing, married people, I'm just warning you grads out there... it happens pretty quickly and even if you don't want to get married or you're happily single or whatever, you'll get what they call "wedding bell blues" which actually is a real thing! Diagnosed! (Maybe!) But only for girls, I think. I don't know if guys get it. (Guys: to clarify, girls with "wedding bell blues" is the emotional equivalent to "blue balls". You've been warned.)
2. Everyone you know will move away from you. This is probably the worst thing about graduating. All of your friends will move away and either go to grad school, Married-People-Land, or relocate for a job. The good thing about this nowadays is that with Facebook, iPhones (but seriously not one of the greatest 100 inventions) and Twitter, it's really easy to keep in touch with everyone. Just don't let social networking suck up all your time - remember it's equally important for you to get out there and make new friends; meeting new people in your new area will help you adjust. Trust me. I speak from experience when I tell you that sitting in your room alone with that bottle of Jack and pining for days past does NOT help in the long run. Now is the time to reinvent yourself! Be daring, and not a dbag.
3. For whatever reason, you will not party like you did in college. Maybe it's because your alcoholic friends live far away and partying via webcam is oddly creepy and unsettling, maybe you can't afford booze on your Starbucks salary, maybe because it feels different (and it will) but partying like you did in college loses its charm and feels... sad. Because it is. Learning how to have fun and socialize in new ways is just as important as finding a job, because crazy drunken behavior has consequences now. Welcome to responsibility! It blows! But you get used to it, and you learn to make it work for you. In short: don't get wasted at office happy hour... inevitably, someone senior to you will be sober and take note and then you might go from office to cubicle the next Monday.
4. Good news! You will begin to understand and appreciate the important things! It's not all bad news, dude. Really, I promise. Everyone talks about the transition from high school to college being a big one, but I think the transition years right after college are some of the hardest that you'll go through. With difficulties and trials, however, come experience and wisdom. Remarkably, you'll become much more aware of things that are important to you. Toxic friendships and mediocre relationships will fall away, and you'll be left with true friends and relationships worth maintaining. Maybe you'll reconnect with siblings or parents or friends from years ago, maybe you'll realize that person you were dating really *wasn't* right for you... whatever. Stepping out on your own is liberating because you have the opportunity to cut a lot of the bullshit out of your life and spend more time with the people and things that matter. It's so worth it.
5. You will suddenly care about really lame things. Such as: does your new job offer dental insurance as well as health? Did you budget enough money for gas and car insurance this month? Is it smarter to get a Costco card or clip coupons from the Sunday paper? What kind of vitamins should you be taking? Is there nutritional value in anything from Taco Bell? What kind of taxes does your company take out on your overtime pay? What kind of commute would you have if you got that apartment across town? Maybe you were concerned about these things before you graduated, maybe not. You will soon enough. It's like, "adulthood" or something.
Don't worry, though. It just means you don't have to worry about things like homework, finals and class projects anymore... if you ever worried about that to begin with. Probably not, but you get where I'm going. Now, take a deep breath and have a beer. We've done some important work here today.

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