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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.

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.

Advice Tip #1

I have a friend who, when asked a question she didn’t know how to answer in a phone interview, hung up and pretended it was bad service.

Not Ready to Make Nice: How a Word Overshadowed Me

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For the longest time, I was known as the “nice” girl. In my freshman dorm, I was referred to as “nice Molly” (there were two others: drunk Molly and crazy Molly, so I wasn’t complaining exactly) and I was always introduced to or referred to by others as “so sweet.”

Which was fine, I guess, except “nice” gradually became a placeholder for doormat. Boring. Passive. Spineless. Simple. I wanted to be the pretty girl, or the smart girl, or the creative girl, even the weird girl. But no—I was the “nice” girl.

And, also, if we’re being honest—I’m just not that nice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a bitch or anything, but I definitely am not one to refrain from judgment, or to defend someone who doesn’t deserve it. I expect a lot out of people, and while I will be happy to drag a dead corpse across a dark alley for a good friend without asking questions first, you have to do some work to get there.

“Nice” seemed like such an innocent, gentle, innocuous word. But my freshman and sophomore years of college I slowly began to see it compromising my identity, my spirit, and my sense of self-worth. I was no longer fiery, or passionate, or excitable, or moody, or bossy. No one had a problem with me and no one ever chastised or vehemently disagreed with me. How could they? I was nice.

I’m not nice, I tried to convince myself, after I was referred to as that yet again by someone who scarcely knew me. I knew what “nice” meant as an identifier. Nice meant you couldn’t fight your own battles, you had nothing to say, you never drew attention to yourself. That couldn’t be me.

Then I began to realize: somehow, it was. That was exactly who I had let myself become here. I hated confrontation. I played the innocent card. I didn’t draw attention to myself. I didn’t take sides. I was at a new school, with new people who all seemed prettier and stronger and more sure of themselves than me, and I was too insecure to even show them even a glimmer of who I was.

Which is a girl who cussed out a group of girls twice as tall as me at the mall in 7th grade for photobombing my photo booth picture. A girl who was appointed play director in 1st grade, but was so bossy that everyone quit. A girl who made her friends act out her movies with professional vigor, who raced varsity ski team with no racing experience, who has come up with more revenge plots against friends’ ex-boyfriends than I care to admit. A girl who loves Avril Lavigne still, at 22, and would rather pregame to musicals than hip hop, and not only is not embarrassed, but actively tries to make others do the same. A girl who has always been largely incapable of holding back her opinions and her values, even when she should.

A girl I’d somehow lost sight of.

In the next few months, a lot of people said I “changed.”

“Wait, she’s so funny! I never knew.”
“I feel like she’s really come into her own.”“She’s so different from who she was a year ago.”

I didn’t change. I just allowed myself to surface, really surface, for the first time. I stopped conforming to the society-taught mold that girls should be sweet and sugary and pure in all of their eye-fluttering helplessness. I relaxed enough to let the frenzied, buoyant, creative, honest, and loyal girl out.

Turns out I’m not so nice after all.

Things More Important Than “Achieving”

1.the clean, sweet scent of rain falling on a freshly mowed lawn

2. when you finish a book and the adjustment to reality takes a little too long; your head is so immersed in the story that you cannot fully commit to leaving it

3. that moment when you’re talking to a friend and you suddenly have to fight back tears, because an overwhelming rush of gratitude overcomes you that you have found someone who makes this world a little more bearable

How to behave when you’re in your 20s and home for the holidays

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-Sleep until noon or 1 every single day and ignore your mom’s sarcasm when she brightly says “Good morning!” as you stumble into the kitchen

-Avoid any social obligations with anyone, ever, because you are a busy girl and you need to relax

-Complain LOUDLY when there is no more skim milk because what the hell is this establishment? What are you supposed to use on your cereal, 2 percent? What, is this prison?

-Drink with your siblings every night

-Ask your mom to please get you a glass of water because you don’t plan on moving from the couch anytime soon

-Watch 10-20 hours of Netflix a day because you obviously don’t usually have time for such things

-Prepare mentally for questions from relatives like “So what do you see yourself doing in five years?” or “How’s your love life?” or “What have you been reading lately?”

-invent an imaginary guy you’ve been seeing–his name is Logan. He’s 25, he’s in med school, and he’s going to be preposterously rich. He supports all of your decisions, and HE doesn’t think you should go back to school to make more money.

-Consider working out but then decide that would get in the way of your relaxing time, and besides, you have a cold

-Play up your cold to momentous levels—you have the Black Death. You cannot stand on your own. You cannot load the dishwasher. You cannot move.

-Consider doing work at home but decide you definitely have time later

-Eat everything your mom makes you, and take third helpings. Make sure you save some to take home to “Logan.”

-Take naps when “Scandal” gets to be emotionally draining and you need a release

-Practice stand-up comedy around your family

-Decide you definitely should pursue it, you just have the wrong audience

-Argue with your brother about Taylor Swift vs. Bruno Mars and tearfully defend her because she is just so misunderstood. And also if there is a hell, it will be filled with identical fedora-clad Bruno Marses playing Uptown Funk. On loop.

-Go to the liquor store by yourself to stock up on wine

-Tell your mom that no, you promise you don’t have a drinking problem

-Go to movies with your siblings and argue about the plot and what you would review it and how you would improve it if you were to make your own movie company and produce the same movie

-Eat everything in the fridge and avoid scales at all costs

-Decide to watch every single Harry Potter movie in a row and feel accomplished—no, proud—when you do it

-Wear clothes that your mom hates so that she will feel compelled to take you shopping

ex: Mom: God, I hate that sweater. And those jeans don’t fit you.

You: Mom, it’s really all I have.

-Scour cute baby pictures of yourself for future Instagrams

-Call one of your high school friends to talk about that weird girl whose Facebook says she is pregnant already and what the hell?

-Lie in your childhood bed, and remember doing so countless other times in your life. Where has the time gone? Why did you pick this color scheme? Pink looks absolutely absurd with brown. Nothing is pink and brown. Except perhaps a questionable dip-dye job.

-Consider your own mortality, study your participation ribbons for Level 3 swimming lessons, and allow tears of inexplicable nostalgia to fill your eyes.

-Sabotage every family picture, because God knows you don’t want this to be your Christmas card

-Struggle to convince your parents that you are a grown, responsible adult while simultaneously asking if they can please make you a snack; you’re a tad hungry.

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