May has come to an end, which means I can say with confidence that school has ended for almost every University in the country. My condolences to the class of 2012. You’re in my prayers. I promise it’s not that bad if you are off in some new, fabulous city for grad school or some awesome new job. And if you’re moving back home with your parents…well, you’re about to get to know your dog on a whole new level. But fear not, your post-grad life doesn’t really begin until the end of the summer. Over the next few months, you will be experiencing an amazing series of events that serve as a sort of transition from college life to post-grad life: graduation parties. You will have one almost every weekend, and it honestly feels like some sort of postponement of real life. Roll with it. So I’ve compiled some Dos and Don’ts for you so you’re prepared for the season.
Do: Have One
This seems like a no-brainer to me now, but many people, myself included, felt super depressed at the time of graduation. I knew my life was going to change, and that my best friends would live 60 minutes away instead of 60 seconds away…or 4 hours instead of turning my head to the bed next to mine. I didn’t feel much like celebrating the event. If this is your mindset, first of all…do it for your parents. Even if you think this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you (which it is), they are proud of you and want to celebrate. But more importantly…if you have one…you get to see everyone you love, all in one place. And it’s an event dedicated to you! It’s like your birthday but with an even bigger check from your grandparents. Do it.
Don’t: Rely on Facebook Invitations to Get People To Come
I don’t know why, after four years of ignoring facebook events, I (and everyone I know) assumed that facebook invitations would be a solid method of informing people about a big event. No matter how funny your event invitation is (and mine was good) it’s not going to make people care about facebook. I’d suggest getting actual addresses and sending real invitations. But, if you’re lazy, just text people excessively so they feel like they were actually invited and not just some afterthought on your friends list. Communication is key here.
Do: Go to Every Single One
Even if you’re not that close with the guest of honor, chances are, the rest of your pledge class is going to be there. You’re going to want to take every opportunity you can get to reunite with your sisters, and if you just so happen to make a long weekend out of all of them, and stay for an extra three days to beach with your best best friends…then that’s a risk you’re just going to have to take. Plus, graduation parties are really fun. Unlike college parties, any grown woman I know would be mortified to host an event where there wasn’t way too much food. That’s right, you’ll be eating something other than 2 crackers at a pregame that you had to beg for because that shot went down horribly. Not to mention there will be alcohol. Good alcohol. Your parents don’t find the vile things we drink with our “whatever gets me drunk” attitude acceptable. That means good beer, Sangria made from wine that didn’t come out of a box, and shots of Vodka that came from a GLASS bottle that costs about 4 times what you normally pay for a handle of Burnetts. If this isn’t a party, I don’t know what is.
Don’t: Black Out
With that said, while the alcohol is plentiful, so are the adults. Don’t make an asshole out of yourself. It’s easy to forget that this isn’t the same as partying back at school because you see all the same faces, but this is a family event. There are kids around. The humiliation that comes from being a shitshow in front of someone’s parents and not being invited back to their home is far worse than that from getting kicked out of the bar where your favorite bouncer will just sneak you in the other door. Really, don’t make that mistake, it’s not a good look.
Do: Offer to Help Clean Up
Honestly, the person’s mother will probably say that she doesn’t need your help. I tend to feel like if a woman lets you into her kitchen, she’s letting you into her life a little bit. That’s the place at the party where Mom gets to freak out to her sister about how stressed she is about the whole thing, which is probably something she doesn’t want everyone else to see. Her daughter and her daughter’s best best friends will probably have it covered, but offering is polite. However, the sentiment goes double if you are at a guy’s party. He’s not going to do anything, and the poor woman might literally be running the show alone. She’ll really appreciate your help even if you just threw out a few Solo cups and brought out desserts while she put the food away, and she’ll be raving to her son about how he should wife you for days. And the boys will definitely notice that you’re “Momming it up” and you’ll get to feel awesome about it.
Don’t: Go with the Expectation Of Meeting Someone
This is a graduation party, not a mixer. You’ll honestly probably know most of the boys who are already there, and the ones you don’t know are your friend’s brother, cousin, or neighbor since birth who she either views as a brother, or will one day marry. It’s just awkward for her if your “new boy” is someone she already has this type of relationship with. Plus, you’ll regret wasting your precious time with your friends on some guy that you may or may not make out with once and forget about. This is the college post-season. Every second counts.
Do: Interact with the Parents
So much of our generation is so awkward it sickens me. Parents dig me normally. They think I’m super funny and friendly. Or they’re horrified and everyone is faking it really well. I can’t tell. But either way, don’t make them feel like the “kids” and the “grown-ups” are at two separate events. This is a party. You’re supposed to mingle with everyone. And like it or not, you’re all adults now. Your social manners should reflect it. I’m not saying you need to spend your whole evening with them, but engage in friendly conversation, and invite them to participate in drinking games (yes, they like to drink too). They’ll appreciate it, and it will be a much more fun event for everyone.
Don’t: Give Money
I can’t think of anything tackier than handing your friend an envelope of cash. It’s fine when family is doing it, because there will be significantly more zeroes at the end of the check, but you’re not going to be able to shell out an amount of money that is any type of impressive to every single person you know who just graduated. Plus, it will just be the same lump sum of cash circulating around your pledge class all summer. It’s pointless. If you don’t want to show up empty-handed, bring alcohol. A bottle of wine or their favorite liquor is fine, and if you want to do something more expensive, it’s acceptable to go splitsies on it with whoever you show up with. No one is expecting an actual gift, unless it’s maybe from your best best friend and it’s something sentimental. You can save the wall art and kitchenware for their housewarming party at their new apartment in October. (Or you can just bring alcohol to that again.)
So, enjoy the season, because after this, it’s the real real world, but for now, have fun. And congrats to the new graduates…kind of.
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