I figured Oprah Winfrey, Conan O’Brien, President Barak Obama, and hundreds of other highly qualified American leaders gave commencement speeches across the country to thousands of college graduates. They established what graduating from college means. I am sure they told each young adult how to make the world a better place, seize every opportunity, be positive while working those 15 hour days at your new job, and so on.
When I graduated from Spelman College I thought that I would be excited to never turn in another report or never wake up for a Statistics test. I thought I would be thrilled to be a working adult. No one told me that I may go through a sadness after graduating from college.
Think about it… When we left high school we were looking forward to going to college to party, make new friends, party, leave home, study and party. Graduating from college means you are an adult with bills… Ugh! You don’t have immediate access to like-minded people your age to brainstorm and challenge intellect with, you have the 45-year-old in the cubicle next to you. You may share an apartment with a friend that had parents pay a semester tuition on a dorm room, so now your fellow grad. is always late on the monthly rent. It gets a little worse, but then it gets better. A lot better… I promise.
Here is my humble post-graduate etiquette advice…
You may go through a quarter-life crisis. At 25 you’ll wake up, look at your job and apartment and say, “is this what I went to college for.” Yup! But, don’t get angry. When I went through my mini “crisis” I dyed my hair, quit my job and moved to LA. It worked out.
You will realize you are smarter than your manager, boss, etc. Don’t throw a chair. Find out what you can learn from them. Chances are they have been at that company for a long-time. Listen and find out how you can get promoted faster than they did and make more money sooner. They may just give you good reasons to take your talents elsewhere.
You thought you would be making a lot of money, but you’re still eating ramen noodles. This sounds crazy, but enjoy the skinny you. When you start making money you eat more and gain weight. Don’t believe me… check out your graduating class in five-ten years. Seriously, this moment in time is when I really learned how to budget my money. I used my dollars for important things like bills, and limited my drinking and shopping money. It feels really good to not ask your parents for help.
Adults treat you like an adult. It kinda sucks when you cannot be young and dumb. People hold you at your word. You answer for your actions and cannot blame your parents, professor, advisor, whomever. The buck stops with you, and that buck is a jagged pill. Know that the most intelligent and talented people make mistakes (look at McCain choosing Palin). Shit happens, but it’s not the end of the world. Years from now you will laugh and credit it to your success.
I think back on my first couple of years out of college and my only regret is not enjoying the stumbles and not partying as much I wanted to at happy hour after work.
Seize the day, Hotties.