9 Things That New College Graduates Need To Know
This will just take a second, and unfortunately, we're going to focus almost exclusively on all the negatives that you'll encounter when you step out of college and into the real world. Sad, right? You're graduating college. You've been handed an intangible victory that simultaneously feels very final and stressfully anti-climactic. You can't live inside your college diploma, and it won't cook you breakfast or pat you on the back -- at least not yet. And it's seriously not as bad as I'm about to make it seem, but these are some of the realities that you're going to have to deal with. You can't dodge all of these bullets -- you can lessen their damage by seeing them coming though.
9 Things That New College Graduates Need To Know:
- Once you're out in the real world, nobody is going to tell you what to do. If you want to go out in the city every Friday and Saturday and then curl up on the futon all weekend to watch terrible TV while you wait for your Foodler order to show up, nobody will judge you. Seriously, it's awesome, if you have a job, you ain't even got homework or nothin'. It might start being taxing on your body though. You're going to go this weird phase where you sync up schedules with the world around you, like when you learned how to stay up until 2am in college because that's the timezone campus was in. It is odd as fuck. The world almost forces you to become aged and wizened. Urgh.
- It's going to be a while before you see the results of your actions. Speaking of timezones, the real world operates in a very foreign one where it takes bullets a very long time to hit their targets. Be they job applications, grad school applications, or performance reviews, you don't hand in a paper and get a grade a day later anymore. It somehow both sucks and blows. You are launching ICBMs in the real world, and they'll take weeks or months to hit their targets and deliver damage reports. The idea is to have as many missiles (applications) in flight as possible.
- Being shameless when asking about employment will indicate inquisitiveness, not a sense of entitlement, so ask everybody. Ask your friends, your friends' parents, your siblings, your siblings' friends, your mom and dad, you professors, everybody. If you're unemployed and college-educated, and you're having trouble getting out of bed in the morning because of the heavy stench of abject failure weighing down on you like an ugly sweat, that's natural, and the only way to shake it off is to get the fuck out of bed beat some goddamn respect out of modern American society.
- Recognize the difference between the big picture and the little picture. Time is relative. Six months in college is basically an entire year. Six months at an internship is half of a breath. Keep conscious and you'll always be building your knowledge-base, so even if your current job/internship/roommate sucks, you can always be building towards your next step or the next checkpoint on the road to things more important to you. Things constantly suck day-to-day, however you'll notice that things somehow suck less week-to-week. Weird how that works, right?
- People are going to be cruel to you; and actually mean it. This isn't the bitchy, snarky, higher-social-caste at school, jokey cruelty. This is honest-to-God human-hate. It's quieter than you think and it's more blatant than you could imagine. This is the dipshit handing you a bagel and glaring with all their heart, or the motherfucker in sales that is as bigoted as he sounds, or the duck-faced bottle-blonde that talks smack about your friends while they're across the room at a bar or a party. Chances are low that you'd ever see certain people again, so they have no reservation about being honest and hateful.
- Turn your music down. Not because it isn't good or expressing your taste is a bad thing -- far from it, and I loves me a Skrillex track as much as the next tasteless poser. No, you need to turn down your music because one of two things will happen: a) Your roommates that are on different work-schedules will start to bottle cask-strength hatred against you within their sleep-deprived rage-dreams, and b) the other tenants in your building will call the cops on you. Not campus security, not your parents, the goddamn police. As in, the Law Guys That Hate Young People.
- Speaking of your friends, don't compare a 9-5 employment workload against a grad-school workload. It's an argument that goes nowhere and exists only to inflate a whiner's ego. Sit, listen, drink, and support. And I reiterate this no matter what side of the coin you're on. They are different beasts, they both suck, and if you turn it into a contest about who puts more effort into their waking hours, you'll end up hating each other.
- If you have an office job, you're going to wake up one morning and realize you've become everything you once promised you'd never be. You take public transit. You get excited about Thursday drinks on Wednesday morning. You call Wednesday "Hump-Day," but you don't even giggle about it. You might tell somebody that you plan to sleep all weekend, and they look you dead in the eye and say, "damn, you're lucky," and they fucking mean it in all their furious envy.
- You don't suck nearly as much as you think you do. This one will come up about a year after moving away from home. You'll get down on yourself about how slowly things move, and how shitty getting rejected at interviews feel, and how terrible your eventual job/non-job is, and how much you hate all the crap on Facebook, and how booze is expensive. Get over it. You'll get good at real life the same way you got good at college. You'll get comfortable and find what you like but for a while, yeah, you might be fucking miserable. After you're miserable though, you'll see just what it is you've got, and the realization comes slowly. It's a will to win and it's a hatred of losing and of the inconceivably childish version of yourself that exists in your memory. You'll get braver, and through it all, you realize that you can't lose because you'll always get back up off the canvas. The fight won't ever be over, not until you win, and not until you've taken this fucking world for all it's worth.
Those are the harsh realities that you should be made aware of. Now that you know about them, you'll definitely/probably have no trouble finding happiness in the real-world, whether you plan to get an advanced degree, or to pursue your career as, I dunno, a painter, or something. Remember, you're college-educated, dude (or lady). And you know how to write a goddamn beautifully-annotated bibliography.
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[The Alchemist | ] by Ghost Little