Real-World Lessons from a Post-Grad

Attention college seniors: if you’ve been too drunk to notice it’s mid-April, which comes right before early May which comes right before late-May which comes right before… The apocalypse, doomsday, walking the plank, whatever you want to call it…graduation. Although having to leave your four-year shitshow-slash-institution-of-higher-learning will go down in your memory as one of the worst things to ever happen to you, eventually it will come and go and you’ll find yourself in my position: one year out and part of the working world. Unless you’ve ALREADY managed to get yourself a ring, a fertilized egg, and a promotion to stay-at-home wife status, in which case kudos (but really, how’d you do it? DM me, girl). In any case, it’s not always an easy adjustment and there are some serious lessons to be learned. Allow me to share my wisdom.

Not everything is handed to you

You have to admit that when you’re an undergrad, it never takes much effort to get something you want. Need to go shopping? Call Daddy. Rent or dues? Heyyy again, Daddy-O! Hungry? Odds are you can walk for five minutes or less down the street and swipe your meal card somewhere. You have an advisor to set up your class schedule, a social chair to plan your weekends (Tuesday through Sunday), professors to teach you their wisdom, frat guys to wash your car at the bat of an eyelash, and sisters/roommates to keep track of you. After college, there’s so much to be taken care of that you probably didn’t even consider. Hopefully by age 23 Daddy is trying to wean you off his payroll, and if you’re hungry you might actually have to get in the car, drive a few miles, and then take the time and effort to cook something (not that we couldn’t cook before, it’s just that we didn’t always want to). You have to figure out your own shit, schedule your own interviews and assume responsibility for well….just about everything. You may find yourself uttering phrases like “what do you mean, ‘car payments’?” or “what the FUCK is a 401-k!?” and the only things being handed to you now are lame assignments from your boss and hopefully a glass of wine from a friend who feels your pain.

What worked for you in college can now work against you

In college, we had every reason to believe and insist that we were better than other people. I’d even go so far as to say being a bottom-tier heifer beats being a GDI. And upon graduation, we have every reason to believe that we’ll be successful in the workplace. After all, we were able to plan philanthropy events, execute recruitment, hold e-board positions, attend chapter, organize socials, and make time to bond with our sisters. Not to mention keeping straight A’s, going to the gym for an hour each day, maintaining a perfect tan and flawless hair, being a member of five different honor societies, painting coolers, and keeping track of our boyfriends’ whereabouts. And we did ALL of it with a hangover. Go us! However, this won’t impress employers and clients and it certainly won’t make them think we’re God’s gift to the world. In fact, based on our appearances, most bosses and higher-ups will think we’re stupid (at first), and we’ll have to be “hazed” all over again. People assume we’re incapable of anything besides staring at our reflections in the computer screen. It’s human nature: people think pretty girls are dumb (even though I think pretty girls could rule the world). I STILL have to fight for my boss’s attention and ask for him to trust me with extra assignments and I graduated with a double BA, 3.9 GPA, two internships and two jobs under my belt. It’s unfair, but you have to start from the bottom like everybody else, and “but I’m pretty!” “but I’m smart!” “but I’m in a top-tier!” are not going to work anymore.

Your friends are far away

This is, in my opinion, by far the worst thing about post-grad life. After graduation everyone will either stay in town at their current job, go away to grad school, move to a new city, or move back to their hometowns, and everyone ends up just as spread out as we were when we were 18 and hadn’t even met yet. It sucks living somewhere new with people who aren’t your best friends and who don’t know your every little habit and quirk, like the fact that you bring home a box of Franzia and watch Jeapordy every Wednesday, like to carb-binge on Sundays, or that you’re really loud during morning sex (sorry, N!). It may get lonely working 40 hours a week rather than spending time with your sisters, but hey, at least it gives you an excuse to visit a new city and hit new bars every weekend! Oh, and if you thought you drank a lot in college, just WAIT until you reunite with your friends post-grad. You haven’t even seen a bender until this happens. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Or was it, the liver grow stronger?

The dating pool does NOT improve

In between hugs and drunken tears during graduation week, my sisters and I had only ONE remotely hopeful or positive thing to say….we were ready for post-grad dating! We had all suffered our fair share of heartbreak at the hands of fraternity men, and were ready to move on to bigger, better and wealthier things. We figured once college was over, guys would mature, be more willing to to do courtship the right way, and that JUUUUUUUST maybe we would have a snowball’s chance in hell at a healthy relationship. Well…fuck if that happened. Sure, the first few weeks of summer were spent at financial district happy hours after we had 9 to 5’ed on our lounge chairs, but it didn’t take long for reality to set in. 99.999999999999% of guys are still a-holes and a little thing called a diploma was not going to change that. They’re still the selfish, douche-bag frat stars of yesterday, only their ego is even MORE inflated because they’re in law school, med school, or they wear a three-piece suit to work. Oh well, it was worth a shot right? Maybe after they all turn 30? Yeah…definitely then.

So, my friends, enjoy your college years while they last and don’t take a second for granted! Hopefully with my advice, excessive amounts of wine and modest amounts of Xanny (hey, everyone has their vice. Judge me) you’ll be able to plan ahead for a smooth transition into alumnae status.

Follow me on twitter: @pinniespearls

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