College
by Lance Pauker on April 10, 2013

It’s that time of year again. Statuses are being punctuated with exclamation points, comment threads are being hijacked by people talking really loudly about where they’re planning on living when they move to New York, and college seniors are beginning to get REALLY excited about the fact that in less than a month, a lot of these people will no longer be in their lives. 

What comes next is all that’s being talked about. But all that’s being talked about is being talked about in a certain all-smiles way. Truth hurts, but the truth is a lot more valuable:

 

You Shouldn’t Do What You Want/Are Passionate About

Unless you absolutely know what you want to do with the rest of your life (in terms of a set career path, or an idea of a career path), this is actually awful advice. Following your dreams is probably the biggest risk a human can take–it often means years, if not over a decade of dire financial straits, a ridiculous time commitment, and an extreme adversity to stable relationships and friendships.

Meaning that if you DON’T TOTALLY KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO YET, take some sort of 8 hour job you don’t totally care about that pays decent. One that enables you to not live with your parents, accrue a bunch of cool stories, and take the occasional road trip. (Now that Boy Bands are back in, the No Strings Attached mantra resonates as loudly as ever) You’ll then be able to build up some sort of savings that can come in handy when you do choose to make the leap into your true passion. All of this is much easier said than done in this economy, but far from impossible.


It’s More Valuable Knowing What You Don’t Want

Process of elimination. If most things are miserable (which, I mean, come on), this enables you to choose life’s 6th grade science class equivalent of “the path of least resistance”–the path comprised mostly of things you don’t totally like, but can definitely tolerate, and at times secretly can’t get enough of.

 

Don’t Wait to Get a Job…But Don’t Succumb to the Pressure Either

Last year this time, I was extremely stressed out about getting a job. Not so much because I wanted a job, but because it was the thing everyone was doing. It’s the thing your parents want to talk to other parents about proudly. It’s the thing that if it gets to graduation and you’re forced to say “you’re figuring it out” (while masking deep-seated insecurities and second guessing under that pleasant “I’m totally not about to have a mental breakdown” smile), there's a good chance you'll slowly begin to hate yourself.

The truth is, you could wait months and months after graduation, and it’d probably be a better call. Waiting for the right job isn’t pleasant, and people will talk behind your back about it given that people are notorious for having nothing of value to talk about ever. But gauge how much you want to endure that stuff. It’s annoying, but delayed gratification something a professor I had in college once said was a good thing to endure. I got a B minus in that class.

   
Your Roommate Dynamics from College Won’t Be the Same, and Might Not Work

It generally goes something like this. You spend the first year or two splitting a residence with someone who enjoys smelling like fish, or doesn’t enjoy the usual college raging because they’re too busy adjusting their glasses in the mirror and listening to Imogen Heap. Thankfully though, the upperclassmen years are the greatest success story everyone’s ever had–hanging, living, and growing up with your real friends. The people you know you want to surround yourself with for the rest of your life. So naturally, you resolve to spend the years after college shacking up together, their weird obsession with The Maury Povich Show and all.

I’m not saying don’t live together. But there’s no shot it’s gonna be like college, particularly if you’re on different work schedules and/or doing drastically different things. It’s a growth process when people realize what they actually want (or in many cases, need) out of where they live–you’ll be surprised how much even the best of friends tend to differ on that sort of thing.

 

You’ll Have A HUGE Problem Balancing Your #Dayjob and #SideProjects

The ethos of people today is to fulfill yourself through strange shit that has a very low chance into manifesting itself into a full-time career. (See: Foodie Blogs involving speciality cupcakes, that big screenplay).

Upon taking an offer that screams “it’s not totally what I’d like to be doing, but it’s a job,” many a college grad will be very confident that they’ll be able to work by day, but REALLY work by night. Because if college teaches us anything, it’s that there is a truly ridiculous amount of time in the day.

Except that when you have a job, this simply isn’t true. How I Met Your Mother is on, and you need to unwind because some 40 year-old wearing a starched shirt talked to you in a condescending manner. You also need to take to social media to tell people about how hard you’re working on your #sideproject, which is really a #sideproject in itself. It’s also tough to discount how much valuable minutes will be spent thinking of the proper wording for that email about the meetup with your abroad friends. Time is money, time is your dreams withering away. Time is uploading pictures of arriving at Coachella. No filter. That's the true dream, anyway. 

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overworked dude pic via shutterstock