You’ve finally done it. After four (or maybe five) years of moderately hard work, you get to walk across that stage, leave the best years of your life behind you, and call yourself a graduate. Congrats, I guess?
But what about after graduation, and more the specifically, the summer after graduation? Unless you’re going into the education field, you will never in your life be blessed with the idea of having summers off again. This summer, the summer after graduation, is your last free summer until you retire. That means you need to do whatever humanly possible to make the most of it, because god dammit, it will never happen again. In light of this chilling fact, I offer you the undisputed ranking of best ways to spend your post graduate summer.
7. Moving Back In With Your Parents
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. I eventually want to move back to my hometown so I can be around them. But to move back home immediately after graduation? That literally sounds like my version of hell.
Hear me out. You have spent the majority of the last four years being a semi-responsible, semi-independent adult. You went out when you wanted, fucked who you wanted, drank what you wanted, and put off showering when you wanted. You literally lived the life. And now to go back to your childhood home where there are rules and expectations? Kill me now. Even if your parents respect the fact that you’re an adult and don’t give you rules, per se, they’ll still frown upon you spending all day in your underwear eating an entire jar of salsa while drinking boxed Pinot Grigio and watching re-runs of “Laguna Beach.” You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Do yourself a favor and avoid going home at all costs.
6. Start Your Fulltime Job
On one hand, you deserve a round of applause. You were able to avoid being one of the many unlucky losers to graduate without a plan. Cheers to you. However, there is a reason this is the second worst option on the list. I just went through pains to explain that you will never have another summer off again for like, 50+ years. Why the fuck would you want to forego your last chance at being an acceptable hot mess (and not being judged for it) in order to immediately start working. Work will always be there, your youth won’t.
5. Cross Country Road Trip
I’m going to be honest, I don’t get the appeal of road trips. Sure, you get to see a lot of cool places, but that’s just it, you only get to see them, not experience them. You drive through an area, stay for maybe a day or so, and then it’s right back to 10-15 hours a day in a cramped car with people who started out as your best friends, but six days into this trip have now become your mortal enemies. If you want a good excuse to end friendships, ruin lives, and never talk to people again until your 20th school reunion, take a cross county road trip. Whatever, at least it’s still better than becoming a cubicle monkey.
4. Living in Your College Town
For how low it is on the list, I don’t actually think this is a bad option. Your college town has given you some unforgettable memories and now as a senior/post-grad, you run shit. Maybe your only other option was going home for a couple months and living with your parents so instead of subjecting yourself to that hell hole, you decided to get a part time job for spending money and just fuck around at your old stomping grounds. This is a fun option because whatever bullshit job you managed to get is just that, bullshit. You don’t need to take it seriously, you can show up hungover, and you can request off whenever your little heart desires. Spend your weekdays working and your weekends visiting friends in neighboring cities and this could end up being one of the best summers of your life.
3. Living in a Tourist Beach Town
The summer after I graduated high school, five of my friends and I rented a shitty, three bedroom apartment in what is affectionately referred to as “Ocean Shitty.” We got waitressing jobs and spent the majority of the summer being wastes of life. It was amazing. On days that we had work, we’d either pregame the shit out of it or get hella stoned, show up to our jobs, work, and then come home and party. During the day, we would work on tanning our skin to the consistency of leather. It was fucking glorious. All the people who live in these areas for the summer do it for the easy money and crazy parties. Sure, the townie guys aren’t quite what you’re used to from school, but slumming it for a few months never hurt anyone (just remember to use protection). You’ll end up with some great memories, hilarious stories, and a perfect last summer, all at a relatively cost-effective price.
2. Living in a Nice Beach Town
As opposed to Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head, think more along the lines of the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, or Cape Cod for a “nice” beach town. Basically places where it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary to casually run into a celebrity while grabbing brunch one morning. This can be tricky, assuming you don’t own a house and your parents won’t pay your rent, because shit is fucking expensive here. Best case scenario, mooch off a friend and stay at their house for the summer while you work during the day and party at night. The huge benefit to working/living someplace like the Hamptons for the summer? There’s a major influx of rich New Yorkers on the weekend, especially investment bankers who will have no problem affording the three-carat princess cut ring you’ve been coveting. Let the husband hunting begin, ladies.
1. International Travel
The world is a big, beautiful place and I think everyone should explore as much as possible. I’m as #Merica as the next person, but there is something truly amazing about being in a city that has been around for thousands of years, as opposed to only a few hundred. Plus meeting all the different people, experiencing the food, and living the lifestyle of that country is truly amazing.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Sure, this sounds great, but how the fuck am I going to afford this?” The great thing is that right after college is perhaps the only time when it’s not only okay, but also encouraged to travel poor. When you have a job and a career, it’s weird and gross to stay in a hostel. Be an adult and save up to afford at least a three-star hotel. But right after college? Hostels are exciting adventures and great ways to meet other young travelers. As for food and drink, it’s time to turn on your charm and see how much free shit you can get other people to buy you. Traveling internationally, especially if it’s alone, might seem scary and anxiety-inducing, and it definitely is, but I promise it will turn out to be one of the best experiences of your life. .