To my best friends, sorority sister, Thomas Sweet coworkers, crappy group project partners, frenemies, friendly drunk girls in the bar bathroom and any other Scarlet Knight that is begrudgingly moving that tassel in this weekend, this is for you.
In a week your worlds are going to change. Holy shit, are they going to change.
The Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturdays bouncing from pregame to house party to bar will start to fade and be replaced with Netflix binges and endless job applications (and if you’re lucky, interviews). Yeah, okay, maybe Netflix binges don’t exactly sound so torturous.
How do I know all this? Well, exactly one year ago, that was me. I was all of you. I did the sad, drinking with my sorority sisters act, the I can’t wait to get the fuck out of here act and the fuck it, I’m just going to marry rich act. And that’s exactly what it was, an act. No one wants to admit that they’re scared to leave their home and college family for the past four years. At the very least, you’ll sound super lame and sappy. I don’t do sappy.
Unfortunately, I can confirm — trust me, I’ve checked — that staying at school isn’t a feasible option. Once you stop paying, Rutgers starts shooing you out the door, but of course not before they ask for a nice fat alumni donation. So it’s time to say adios to a school that has given you so, so much.
Before you sit on that same football field you’ve watched Rutgers lose half their season on and listen to an incredibly motivating speech from Bill Nye (super jeally btw) or Bon Jovi (extra super jeally), here are some things I wish someone told me about the real world.
Real life work is boring. Like really, seriously boring sometimes. You will have many mini heart attacks realizing you’re expected to have one of those job-things until you’re 65 (or 69 if Christie has his way). Try not to freak out. Yes, it’s all about finding a job, but don’t forget to shape your career.
You can’t drink 6 nights a week. I know, this was hard for me to swallow too. Unfortunately, as soon as you move that tassle this magical, crappy thing happens where you can’t drink until 2AM and get up for work without hating life the next day. I know how lame I’ve seemed the past year, but join me. We’ll get drunk on weekends. It’s what grown ups do.
You’re going to lose your freshmen 15. See previous bullet for main reasoning. New Brunswick, or any college for that matter, is a haven of delicious foods. You’ll miss Hansel crisps, Jimmy’s pizza and waiting an hour for Cookie Rush, but by the end of the summer you won’t be complaining when you’re clothes are a little too big on you. Scratch that Cookie Rush note — why does it take an hour to bake a cookie again?
Your friends are going to grow up. And it will freak the fuck out of you. You’re past the days of stressing over a mid-term paper, pooling your money together for a bottle of Captain (yes, this happened) and cursing out your latest hook-up because he didn’t like your selfie. Once you’ve graduated, it’s time for you to go out there and start being the person you’re supposed to be in this world (aka, it’s time to get your shit together). You’ll see some friends grow up faster than others. It’s just how it goes. Wait until the first one gets engaged — talk about a wake up call.
Speaking of engaged, everyone will suddenly start getting engaged and having babies. It’s like a mass biological clock goes off after graduation. Start saving money for all the weddings you’re going to be attending and maybe even open a Macy’s credit card. Don’t worry, you’ll make all your money back with that open bar.
Fall will be the weirdest feeling ever. Once you don’t go back to school, but almost everyone else does, it will really hit home that you’re not going back. You can go back to visit your sorority family or tailgate football games, but it’ll never be exactly as it was in school. Get over it, your drunk college time is over. Go be drunk in the real world.
Enjoy the summer with your friends. Your first summer post grad is absolutely the best. It’s completely acceptable you’re still trying to figure out what you’re doing with your life and your friends are in the same sad little boat. After this summer, everyone starts growing up. Jobs and relationships take the friends who spent half their college career blacked out in different, super grown up directions — sometimes a couple states away. Appreciate having your best friends close by before reality smacks everyone in the face.
Real life is stressful. If you don’t hand in that term paper on time, you’re going to get some points off, but if you’re not showing up at work, you’re fired. Companies go through reorganizations and fire people for no reason, your boss is going to be unreasonable and some days you’ll just feel like you completely suck. It’s all normal and it always happens on a Monday.
Benefits are awesome. Seriously, I paid $30 to get my wisdom teeth out. It still sucked, but at least my wallet didn’t pay the price. Take advantage of all health insurance, dental, vision, cell phone reimbursements and gym membership reimbursements (yes, I get $500 to go towards my LA membership — it’s awesome).
In summary, you’re starting a really, really exciting chapter of your life. Sure, you can’t get free drunk pizza from Jimmy’s or binge watch Law and Order with your sorority sisters all Tuesday or deem any night an appropriate night to get shit-faced. Rutgers was your playground for four years and it was a damn good playground. You’re a lucky son-of-a-bitch.
Now it’s time to hide your flask in that big red robe, walk as straight as you possibly can across that stage and get your piece of paper that declares you educated and broke.
After you move that tassel, be sad for a little and celebrate a lot. Then move on. The world’s your playground now. Go have fun. Rutgers will always be there, I promise.