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PRETTY YOUNG FAIL

surviving a millennial world

Month

December 2015

Embracing the “Real World”: How to Come to Terms with NOT Going Back to College this Fall

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August has come and gone, the back-to-school Target dorm sales are in full swing, and the snapchats and instagrams of upperclassmen back at college are sweeping into your phone with the speed and tenacity of a spindly freshman late to class. And you are not loving them. You are loving them about as much as the fact that your best friends are now scattered all over the country and the only class you’ve been to recently is yoga, defining “recently” as within the last three months.

But there are a few reasons the real world might not suck as much as we think. I am here to help you—and, more importantly, me—come to terms with the fact that we aren’t going back to campus this fall.

  1. Now you can get a pet. If you’re like me, and your mom is allergic to every animal that breathes except hermit crabs, then this is exciting. Especially if you were so afraid of said crabs that you may or may not have intentionally starved them to death, A tiny kitten to snuggle with while you work out the rest of your life? Yes, please. RIP Mr. Waternoose. It’s not your fault you were so creepy.
  1. No more school cafeterias. My college had a cafeteria with a distinct smell that actually clung to your clothes when you left, so you forever smelled like undercooked carrots and failed Asian-fusion.
  1. No more homework. I don’t feel like this warrants further explanation, especially if you ever took three English classes in one semester like I did.
  1. This is an opportunity to follow your dreams. This is the first time in our lives that we have had this much control, this much power. Have you always wanted to backpack through Bali? Be a ski instructor in Vail? Write a blog? Become a teacher? Learn how to play guitar, but you’ve never had the spare time to try? All you have to lose is your pride.
  1. You have time to figure it out. This is such a strange time, a time when we can really pause and think about our lives and the direction we want them to go in. And people are surprising themselves. My cousin, after four years studying nursing, called me yesterday from her nursing assistant job and said: “I don’t want to be a nurse anymore.” One of my closest friends who swore she hated kids is now teaching English to them in Vietnam. Another friend is respectably holding off on the whole career thing and took up a job studying wine, her true passion. And I, having known I wanted to write since I was seven, have the opportunity to strategize how best to go down this path.

We have a newfound freedom, freedom from our parents’ expectations and our professors’ suggestions—the freedom to really consider what it is we want to do with our lives. And, for once, we have the time to do it.

  1. Treat yo-self. I could not agree with this mantra more. Have you taken the time to really acknowledge your accomplishments in your life thus far, and celebrate your graduation and your four years at college? Buy that hat you keep thinking about, but your friend told you made you look like a low-class cowgirl confused about what season it is. Read that book that is below your reading-level, but brings you inexplicable pleasure anyway. Give yourself a moment to take in the clean, sweet scent of rain falling on a freshly mowed lawn. Smile. Relax. Breathe. Order a cocktail with dinner. Cheers to you. Cheers to the next chapter of our lives.
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9 Life Lessons We Can Learn from ‘Broad City’

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Release your inner kween.

  1. We don’t live to work, we work to get Lil Wayne tickets.

Whatever means it takes to fulfill your fantasy of hanging with “Riri and Bebe,” that is what you need to do. Probably don’t clean Fred Armisen’s apartment in your underwear, but beyond that, recognize your job for the income supply that it is. It may not be perfect, especially not right away, but does it give you the means to stalk celebrities? That is the real question.

  1. Candy is for grown-ups.

You are an accomplished, intelligent, money-making woman, and even if you aren’t, if you want to go in the nearest candy store and buy that three-pound jawbreaker, damn it, you should.

  1. Sometimes your roommate is a menace.

Perfect rooming situations are about as common as getting the right ice-to-soda ratio at a restaurant. (Like, I understand that you refill it, but you wouldn’t have to six times if you gave me maybe 16 fewer ice cubes.) Your roomie may mean well, but if you don’t get along all that well—that’s okay. Your roommate does not have to be your best friend; sometimes they can just be the person who pays half the bills.

  1. It’s never too late to get that piercing.

When Abbi gets her nose pierced her co-workers make fun of her, but she couldn’t care less. If another earring or a spontaneous eyebrow piercing makes you feel bold and bad-ass, do it.

  1. Make good on promises.

People remember if you do. You want to be dependable, whether it’s to your friends, your neighbors, or your boss. If you say you will do something, go to any lengths to do it—even if it means prying a package from creepy yogurt-eating Garrol’s sweaty hands.

  1. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

As both the most common and silly job interview question, have your answer prepped. For example, Ilana’s biggest weakness is that she always loses her purse, but her biggest strength is that she always finds it again.

  1. New York apartments are not affordable.

Finding an apartment that has enough room to spin around in for less than a grand is not a thing. There will be no room for activities. “Where isn’t the bathroom?”

  1. Always be there for your friends.

Even when they have a drunk jazz-singing alter ego they aren’t aware of. Even when they take truth-or-dare ten steps too far. Even when they sing to get out of awkward encounters. When you find someone who gets you, they’re worth it.

And, finally…

  1. Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons NEVER expire.

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