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It’s graduation season! As always, your newsfeed will be filled with cute group photos, job announcements, “is this real life” and various ways to celebrate what is truly one of life’s biggest moments.
Now whether you are joining the workforce straight out of high school, hoping to right after college or desperately trying to take on more debt (like me!) in grad school; this is a sobering thing. You’ll see videos of commencement speeches at rich Ivy League schools where some famous person talks about how “you need to fail! cell phones are bad!” with the caption “so true!”.
The advice that is given to graduates is usually roughly the same. Take chances. Embrace failure. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take (Michael Scott). The cliches are basically copied and pasted into every speech and while yes, it fundamentally is true, it doesn’t really prep you for what’s going to happen as you enter a world of debt. So, since I’m such an expert at real life, let me give you some real legitimate pointers about what’s about the thoughts that are going to occur.
It’s Not All Failure
Here’s something you will face. Whether you are working an hourly job, a salaried one or a part-time one; you are bound to hear someone who is like four years older than you tell you that “there’s no participation trophies out here! No one is hear to help you now!”.
That shit is basically not true. There is always help out there, and you know what, you should seek it. Don’t be one of those hyper-competitive, chip on their shoulder, employees who deny help because of…..reasons? When you are one of the newer and younger employees on the job, you are bound to screw up. You are bound to not know every thing.
A common theme I see is that everyone is terrified, rightfully, of losing their job that they’d rather be wrong alone than receive help together. Now, that’s not to say have other people do your job but to just not be ashamed in asking for help. We all need it, we are all vastly underpaid. No need to make it worse.
It’s All Unknown
You cannot predict any part of life unfortunately. So some things are going to happen and some choices will have to be made. You are going to have to take risks, but hey fun fact! Some of them are good! I never thought I would be in grad school, even two months before I was in my first class, but I received an amazing opportunity and took it.
Sure you will probably fuck up interviews. You will receive reprimands of some sort. But you honestly don’t know what’s going to happen in the next year, month, week or hell even day. You are always one day from promotions or a life-changing opportunity.
Okay, Some Things Suck
Social media softens the blow, but it is a bummer to not be with your friends 24/7. It kind of sucks if you have to move right back into your childhood home full-time or move into a new neighborhood. It’s an adjustment period especially when those first few weeks pass by and you realize this is the beginning of the rest of your life.
Do not compare yourself to anyone else too. You will be in for a world of hurt once you realize the bro who only wears Monster Energy fitteds is somehow an account executive making legitimate money. It’s natural to do that but everyone’s situation is totally different and you can only maximize yours.
Embrace The Present, The Future But Don’t Forget The Past
Here’s one of the biggest pieces of advice I feel like I can share and not be a total hypocrite.
There comes a point, maybe six months after commencement, where people start whispering how you should “move on from the past”. Whether that’s college, high school friend groups or whatever; don’t let that get to you.
I’m not saying relive your glory days each week and forcing yourself into conversations that no one wants you in. There is a fine line here and you can cross it.
But don’t fall into that trap where complaining to your friends, or going back to your school or going out is suddenly equal to “oh I guess you just can’t let the past go huh?”. This is the one thing, well one of a million things, that irritates me. The past formed who you are and you can’t run away from it. You only get a few years of youth before you look back and go “shit, I really regret being an asshole because” and it’s gone for good.
There is nothing wrong with occasionally just ignoring the present and future to just rekindle what was more than just a phase in your life. You can’t just move on aggressively because that’s how you fill your life up with regrets. The future is always ahead of you, no matter how bullshit Hallmark that sounds, and the present is only a second long.