I saw an article on the Washington Post yesterday titled, "The 10 Things They Really Don't Tell You at Graduation" and, seeing as my college graduation was nine years ago (!!!) this week, I thought I'd see how things compared from the other side. It's true that graduation speeches are sappy and overly optimistic and yes, it would've been useful to hear some of these things as I stood on the cusp of real life (because college is NOT real life).
1) Next year you'll be unemployed and/or living in your parents basement. I lucked out on this one, I lived on my parents' dime for a year after graduation so I could pursue an unpaid internship in Paris and then I moved to DC where my uncle was nice enough to lend me his spare bedroom for as long as I needed it until I got on my feet. Otherwise, yes, there's a pretty good chance I would've been living in my childhood bedroom because the economy wasn't too great back then (though, judging by the look on my dad's face when I packed up my car and left town less than a week after getting back from Paris, he wouldn't have minded if I lived at home for awhile longer).
2) You will keep in touch with friends, but not the ones you thought. I've been lucky here too, the people I was closest to in high school and college are still some of my good friends today.
3) When you hit a certain point in your 20s, everyone starts getting married. Holy bananas yes. Six weddings in 2.5 months during the summer of 2006. Epic.
4) In life, no one rewards you for performing mundane tasks. Besides points in my internship when I was fresh out of college (and I didn't have a name, I was the intern), I've felt pretty appreciated in the workplace. And my husband makes me feel pretty appreciated at home when I do stuff around the house (and I try to do the same for him). And since I'm a grown-up, I can choose not to vacuum up the cat hair right away if I don't feel like it, or not scrub the crown molding. But then the house just starts to look disgusting and I give in.
5) Regardless of anything the rampant college hookup culture has taught you, you are suddenly expected to Start Going On Dates. Well. I met my future husband when I was 23 and we were married by the time I was 25. He did take me out on proper dates, he did call when he said he would, and we were engaged within eight months of meeting each other. Yet another reason why Mr. Sweetie gets brownie points: saved me from wandering around the post-college dating scene.
6) Something strange happens to music as you age. Nineties on Nine on XM radio. And that quote "when someone says 10 years ago, do you still think they are referring to the 90s?" I remember when my mom would listen to stuff from the 70s and she'd shout out, "Oh, spring of junior year of high school!" or "Freshman year of college." Pretty dorky. Annnd, now I do the same thing. I also stopped listening to 90s on 9 as frequently because the station that plays the songs from 2000-2009 (obviously so much more hip and cool) has a commercial that says, "if you're still listening to the 90s on 9, you are too damn old." And that's kind of ruined it for me a bit.
7) Being young isn't everything, but it's a good thing. By modern standards, I'm still pretty young. But things I took for granted in my 20s (being able to have two glasses of wine sans hangover) aren't happening as often in my 30s. Sniff.
8) There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap. I wouldn't call anything that I do brilliantly creative. BUT, worrying about what others think of you will hold you back. You're not in high school anymore. If you're not doing something illegal or hurtful, go for it.
9) You have no idea how personal finance works. Sometimes I still don't. But I do know how to write checks, address envelopes, and send bill payments in the mail on time. Most of the time.
10) Some days will be better than others. Some days will be worse than others. It's all about looking at the big picture and realizing that the things you might not enjoy right now will eventually pass, you can get through them. And the the moments that you cherish, they will pass too - don't forget to sit back and appreciate it. And for the most part, the best days really are ahead of you.