May 2014 is upon us. It marks 1 year from when the best four years of my life (so far) ended and I entered this thing people call “the real world.” I haven’t seen many of the people with whom I shared classes, horrible professors, drinks, and memories for almost 12 months now. And soon, the class of 2014 will join me in the world I have not yet completely learned to love. There are so many things I wish I would have known about the post-grad life, but it is probably best that I learned myself, through experience. (Huge shout out to #PGP for getting me through my post grad struggles.)
However, class of 2014, I’d like to shed some light unto what will become your life. Here’s what I wish I knew:
On taking the first job offer I could get:
This is a tough one, because everyone expects you to graduate, get a decent paying job and join the productive society. However, after not even two weeks post graduation, fear, desperation and not having a clue what I was doing led me to take a job that seemed promising but turned out to be a nightmare.
Attention, future grads: Don’t settle for the first offer. Believe me, you’ll end up wanting to fold shirts at the outlet mall instead of spending 45 plus hours at a job in which you are surrounded by ungrateful, disrespectful people, who think you are only there for the money.
Newsflash, we are Gen-Y. We aren’t driven totally by money; we want to create something of which we are proud in hopes of changing the world. So, don’t settle. It’s rough out there, but push through and you’ll find something that’s right for you.
On thinking “Sex and The City” is an accurate description of the adult life:
Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE “Sex and The City.” And, not much about our priorities have changed since the show ended; alcohol, sex and excess continue to rule in our world, but how can anyone afford any of it? After rent, utilities, the damn cellphone bill, eating out more than I should and maybe one shopping spree per month, how can anyone afford multiple pairs of $400 shoes? How did you do it, Carrie? I really need to know!
On revisiting or refusing to leave the college scene:
Oh, summer of 2013. Not only was I new in one of the biggest drinking and party cities, but I also began to hang out with people who were still in college.
Just don’t do it.
Number one, you’ll feel SO old when everyone you meet is still underage and using fake IDs. Number two, you won’t like the taste of cheap alcohol any longer (thank you, standards). And number three, your post-grad hangovers will make you wonder how much worse imminent death could possibly feel.
Also, people will never understand why you can’t just go out until 3 am on a Thursday night. “Can’t you call in sick?” NOPE.
On distancing yourself from your family:
Since I was living in an entirely different city in a totally new world with which I wasn’t yet familiar, I decided to withdraw myself completely from my family. Text messages would go unanswered for hours. I wouldn’t pick up the phone for days and only deigned myself to speak to them to complain about how much I felt my life sucked.
This was pretty selfish of me caused my parents much anguish — I truly regret it. Distancing yourself from those who love you is by far the worst mistake you can make. Ultimately, no one will care as much about you as your family does.
Keeping up with people is difficult, especially when you’re in a totally new chapter of your life. But, whether it’s your mom asking you if you’ve been eating well or your dad emailing you tax tips, a simple acknowledgment and “thank you” can go a long way. Trust me, when you’re hating your boss, feeling brokenhearted or simply desperate to share a funny story, no one will listen to you as well as your parents will.
On taking happy hour too far:
It’s called happy HOUR. Singular. Not, “let’s bar hop all around town until we find a Mexican restaurant with 2 for 1 margaritas.” You do not know torture until you’ve spent more than eight hours at your desk, staring at your screen with a massive hangover. If you’ve ever been in excruciating pain from a night of drinking while passed out on your couch, eating copious amounts of grease while watching “Friends” reruns, let me tell you, it’s paradise compared to a work hangover.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to happy hour. Half off flatbreads, mussels and pitchers of sangria? Count me in. But, learn to control yourself, class of 2014. You can go all out on Friday nights — just don’t do it during the week.
On attempting to reconnect with old college flames:
There are the ones who got away, the ones who were simply douchebags who you loved to love (and loved to hate,) and the ones who just didn’t work out. But, as you become part of a world in which you no longer have a campus in common with people, you’ll begin to turn to forgotten flames.
But, like with so many other things, if something isn’t meant to be, it just won’t be. And, you’re probably better off because of it. Sometimes, it’s not healthy to commiserate with people who are just as lonely and unhappy as you are. Move on.
On using the “I was drunk” excuse:
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that messy things won’t patch themselves up with an “I was drunk” excuse while gorging on breakfast tacos and micheladas. Problems don’t disappear the next morning while comparing stories about who acted the craziest.
Well, guess what? After college, drinking and hurting others with your irresponsible behavior will ruin things — and sometimes, for good.
You do not want to ruin a friendship, a relationship or the mere idea of one, with an alcohol-induced poor decision. A moral hangover is way worse than a physical one because it is unlikely it will ever go away.
Be responsible, class of 2014. Be responsible with yourself, with your feelings and with other people’s feelings.
On quitting a job:
After months of being unhappy, I quit. I interviewed at two of the top-ranked marketing firms in my city and after a few weeks, I got a full-time offer for a non-entry-level position. It turned my life around and I’ve learned that when you are happy with what you do for a living, the whole world shines brighter.
I did not become rich overnight — I wish! But, quitting my job was the best decision I ever made #noregrets. And although I truly appreciate the opportunity I had fresh out of college, the lesson here, class of 2014, is that you should not only never settle, but you should also find what truly makes you happy. Don’t let other people’s negative attitudes and energy cloud your view of the world. If you look for the right opportunities, positive people and maintain a solid work ethic, you’ll be going places in no time. People who are “lucky” are the people who work the hardest.