My Unsolicited Advice to the College Graduate

14 Jun


Tomorrow is my university’s graduation day and the fifth anniversary of my own graduation from college. When people say time flies, they sure aren’t kidding. I can’t believe it’s been five years. It seems like I was just handed my fake diploma (you don’t get a real one until MONTHS later. Psh. Whatevs), and was looking out on the scary world of full time employment and adult choices. And what have I learned? Lots of little things, and a few biggies.

So, class of 2012, here’s my advice to guide you through the first few years after college. Take it at your own risk.

1. Spend more money on experiences rather than items. Will that new $150 dress make you happy? Probably. Yes. You know what will make you happier? A silly night out drinking pitchers of beer at the bowling alley with your friends. Or a short weekend trip to a nearby state park. I’m a HUGE believer in this…though maybe it just helps me justify my spending decisions.

2. Cultivate a fantastic Pandora station for work. Make it work appropriate and yet awesome. On the flip side, make a crazy good station for pre-gaming/getting ready to go out. Make it insanely and dirtily not work appropriate. Do not mix up the two.

3. Be alone sometimes. Go to movies alone. Shop alone. Travel alone. Sleep alone. Get to know yourself as an individual, not a person in a class, as part of a group of friends, or as a boyfriend/girlfriend. You’ll be a much more interesting person for it.

4. Call your grandma. She loves you.

5. When your friends ask you if you want to go out dancing, say yes at least 90% of the time. Believe me, the chances to go dancing/drinking get less and less as people grow up, get married, get crazy jobs, etc. Yes, staying in and watching the marathon of “Say Yes to the Dress” is tempting, but hanging with your awesome crew is even better.

6. Start fun traditions with friends that you can keep up for a while. My best college girlfriends and I have an annual summer cabin weekend. It is an amazing chance to get together and catch up on our lives, while eating s’mores and swimming in a lake. Will we be able to do this forever? I SURE HOPE SO.

7. The generic brands of groceries are JUST AS GOOD as the name brand and cheaper! Buy them! The exceptions to this are saran wrap and kitty litter. Just so you know.

8. Boring money advice: Start saving money now. Open a retirement account. Get a credit card if you don’t have one already and use it responsibly to build credit. UGH, boring, I know, but so important.

9. Buy good, well-fitting bras/underwear. You’ll feel and look 150% better. Promise.

10. Be kind, and only hang out with kind people. Don’t spend time dating people who want to play games. Don’t be friends with the person who treats receptionists like shit. And good God, don’t treat receptionists like shit yourself.

11. Online dating IS NOT that bad. Come on, now. It’s time we all got over this. There are such sweet, good, handsome/pretty, normal people on there! And even though it may feel like you have to go on a kabillion dates before you meet anyone good, you certainly can meet that person! That being said, don’t give creepy guy a second date, just because you feel bad. Circa 2009 Mandy could’ve used that advice…

12. Know how to make at least one awesome, impressive (or at least, impressive seeming) meal. You will have to host some sort of dinner at some point, and yes, you can always order in food, but being able to cook even just one thing will make you seem like a grown up hero. My go to meals for this purpose are roast chicken and enchiladas.

13. Take care of your body. Eat well, start exercising now, and sleep enough. Get annual check-ups and dental checks if at all possible. Oh, and the stomach flu is contagious. It’s not always food poisoning. Know this before you take care of your poor sick bf, otherwise it could end very, very badly for you. PEOPLE OF THE INTERNET, LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES.

14. Continue to learn. Yes, you’re out of school, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to stop reading, learning and striving. There is so much more to know!

15. Relax. Your twenties are scary. I’m currently in the middle of my twenties and terrified about 50% of the time. No, things aren’t immediately easy for everyone, and that sucks…but it’s ok. Relax. Have fun. Be calm. Enjoy yourself. You only have this moment, so you might as well try to love it.

Gah, there’s so much more, but this is a start. Congratulations, Class of 2012! Go and make the world a better place (at least, after you run around like chickens with your heads cut off for a little while)! I can’t wait to see what you can do!


3 Responses to “My Unsolicited Advice to the College Graduate”

  1. Laura June 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    I graduated two years ago in July and I STILL need all this advice (apart from the spending money on experiences thing, cause I’m so there on that) So yeah, thanks. And I still have no clue what I’m doing, but we’re so young that I think that’s ok, right? RIGHT?!

    • ohdizzle June 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

      It’s totally fine! I think having no clue what you’re doing is a sign that you’re a healthy, thinking, functional 20-something. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway. 😉

  2. Sarah Von June 18, 2012 at 2:52 am #

    Yes. yes. yes. A thousand times yes!

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