It’s April, and you know what that means: Spring is in the air, the days are getting longer, and around the country, thousands upon thousands of undergraduates are either crapping their pants or crying into so many Keystone Lights.
Why, you ask? Because in a month’s time, the Class of 2014 will be the Graduating Class of 2014. Yikes. No more college, no more parental support, and no more irresponsibility. All that’s left is the cold, hard real world and its jobs, rent, and worst of all, maturity. Gross.
So for those of you preparing to walk across that good ol’ graduation stage next month and receive that $100,000 piece of paper that is, allegedly, your key to the doors of career success and enlightened adulthood, I have some advice for you: know what to expect! Fortunately, I’m here for you; a humble 2011 graduate who’s been through the post-grad wringer. Here are some things you need to know as you get ready to graduate…just know, having this knowledge ahead of time will make the crushing realities of post-grad life a little more pleasant.
1 – Your major was probably useless.
Sorry, but it’s true. Unless you’re graduating with a degree in engineering or some really career-specific shit (like mining science or something else that about twenty people in the world majored in), you’re fucked, homie. I don’t care how prestigious your school is or how fantastic your GPA looks, if you’re graduating with a degree in communications, psychology, sociology, or any other run-of-the-mill, dime-a-dozen major, you ain’t getting a job right now…well, at least not a job that you couldn’t have attained fresh out of high school. Starbucks is always hiring!
2 – Your trade school buddies make more than you.
Your parents lied to you. A college education is not a valuable thing to have these days. This fact will hit home very succinctly when you realize that the kid that dropped out after sophomore year of high school to street race his Impala full-time ended up going to trade school for a year and is now working on oil rigs in North Dakota and pulling in $80k per year. Maybe you should have paid attention to those annoying ITT Tech commercials.
3 – After college it’s called alcoholism…and it’s not funny anymore, because you’re actually an alcoholic.
You’ve heard this phrase jokingly stated a million times in undergrad, and oh boy did you think it was funny. LOL BINGE DRINKING IS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT! I’M IN COLLEGE! #YOLO. Bummer dude, turns out you only DO live once, and you’ve probably developed some concerning alcohol habits in undergrad. And guess what? You don’t magically become a responsible drinker when you graduate! Sucks, I know. I speak from experience here – the heaviest drinking of my life occurred in my first year after undergrad. In college, heavy drinking is fun and social! After college, you need it to cope with all the real-world bullshit you have to deal with. The hangovers are worse, the parties are less fun, and the expectations for you to be responsible are higher, especially if you manage to land a real job. But don’t be fooled – your heavy drinking days don’t end with college…they’re about to peak! Wooohooo! ..or not?
4 – You still have no idea what you want to do for a career.
Engineers are exempt from this one too…actually, engineers are probably exempt from all of these because they’re smarter and more responsible than most of us. Fuck ’em. For the rest of us, this is a common feeling. You had no idea what you wanted to do out of high school, so you picked a random major. You didn’t like that major, so you switched majors. Your new major sucked, but you thought you could at least find a job with it. But once you graduate, you either can’t find a job, or you realize that spending the rest of your life doing research on communication studies would be about as fun as shoving a marble down your pee-hole. In any case, you’re going to realize you still have no fuckin’ clue what you want to be when you grow up…but SHIT, aren’t you supposed to be a grown up at this point? PANIC.
5 – You’re much less mature than you thought you’d be at this point.
Remember when you were a kid and you’d dream about your future and what kind of person you’d end up being? I bet you thought at 22 you would be successful and handsome and in love and responsible and mature! I kind of doubt you thought you’d still find prank-calling hilarious, that you’d list chugging a 40 in sixty seconds as your greatest life accomplishment, or that the number of one-night stands you had would be greater than the cumulative amount of months you’d seriously dated someone. Graduating college does not make you mature. It just makes your immaturity stand out a little more.
6 – Approximately 95% of your college friendships were shallow, meaningless, and not worth continuing.
But I still keep in touch with all my high school friends! I hear you. But think about it: most of your friendships in high school were based on substance and began during a key, formative period in your life. In college, most of your friendships were based on booze, partying, and the convenience of living together in the dorms. How much do you really have in common with Liz, except that you have both gone down on the same three dudes from SigEp? Not much, sister. And when you are living in separate cities next year, it’ll become a chore to keep in touch – a chore that just ain’t worth it. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll remain friends with your VERY closest college pals (two of mine are writing for this website!) but any friends that you’ve made out of convenience will soon be out of your life.
7 – Having a college degree doesn’t set you apart, it makes you a minimally-acceptable candidate.
Again, your parents are LIARS! They promised you that a college degree makes you look like a smart, accomplished young man or woman to potential employers. Um…no. Everyone and their mom has a college degree these days, and yours isn’t any more impressive. There’s a reason all your 25-year old buddies are going to grad school…and it’s not because the parties are better.
8 – The days of DGAFing and YOLOing are over.
This might be the saddest truth of all. After you graduate, whether you’re ready or not, the world expects you to be a somewhat responsible human being. As a post-grad, your days of puking from drinking, “forgetting” to wear condoms, and spending money you don’t have are going to have to die. Soon, you’re going to have real responsibilities…you know, responsibilities more important than making it to your 11am Friday class. And real world responsibilities have real world consequences. Fuck.
9 – You’re going to need a thick skin.
Before graduation, you’re on top of the world! You’re a senior in college! All you do is go to class two days a week to fulfill those last 12 credit hours, and party the rest of the time. You can bang any underclassmen girl you want, so long as you use your spiffy new ID to buy her booze. Everyone worships you, dude, you’re a regular Van Wilder. Sorry, though. It’s all over in a month. You better get ready to go from the top of the totem pole to the bacteria covering the ground beneath it. You’re going to get rejected – by employers, and by hot professional chicks who want a man that has something more to offer than a B.A. in film and an unpaid internship. The world doesn’t care about how many girls you banged senior summer, and it’ll make that abundantly clear in a hurry. Toughen up, cupcake.
10 – You need to go to grad school.
And then, one day you’ll wake up and realize that there’s one great option out there – GRAD SCHOOL! Everyone has a Bachelor’s degree, so you’ll get a MASTER’S! YEAH! Plus, that’s at least another solid 365 days of avoiding the real world and existing on a college campus – which means MORE PARTIES! WOOHOOO! The only bummer here: it isn’t free…awkward.
Better start saving up now, you only have one month.