I graduated from college yesterday. This weekend is probably the last time that I’ll see many of the people that have been so fundamental in my life. I’ll probably never get to give a graduation speech, but there are a number of things that I’ve learned over the past few years that I’d like to share. Keep in mind, I’m just a stupid 22-year-old and I’m sure I’ll prove myself wrong in the future. But this is the best I can give now.
You don’t have to lose your friends
My parents have made the point that it will be hard to actually get together with my college friends after graduation. And they’re probably right. We’re all going off to live our lives in various places of the world. But I’m in the business of proving people wrong. We don’t live in the era of our parents. Communication is much easier now than it was then. I bet that if our parents had access to smart phones, Facebook, and Twitter, it would have been a lot easier for them. Embrace technology. It will help hold your relationships.
Your family is not as weird as you think
Trust me on this one. I come from the extreme opposite of a nuclear family. Yes it has its challenges, but I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I have my family that I love, and you have yours. Family is one of the few things that you can own forever. Embrace them. Love them.
Let go of the grudges
Ladies, I’m looking at some of you on this one. Holding anger towards something in the past serves no purpose other than to make you unhappy. Don’t waste your energy or time on something that doesn’t matter anymore. Be grateful for the people that you have in your life now and look forward to the new people that are to come.
Don’t date someone you wouldn’t marry
There is strong evidence to suggest that I have no idea what I’m talking about with relationships. But this is advice that was given to me. If you can’t see yourself having a future with someone, end it. Don’t wast your time or theirs. Once you start doing that, you are just being dishonest with yourself. But do not confuse doubt with unhappiness. It is ok to have doubts. It is not ok to be unhappy. Be with the right person. It is ok to have high standards.
Print out your photos
The best graduation present that I’ve received is a photo collage. I can’t put into words how meaningful it is to have something in a frame that I can hold. Yes, Facebook is great for pictures. But remember, you don’t own most of those pictures. If you ever lose any of those Facebook friends, you will likely lose those photo memories as well.
Forget about the money
Seriously. Don’t stress about money. You’re going to be fine. I now have more debt than many of you ever will. And I’m not worried about it. Money is meaningless unless you do something with it. Spend it on experiences, not things. That means go to Las Vegas with your friends. Take your girlfriend on a hot air balloon ride. Buy a trampoline and a slip-n-slide and go crazy with your neighbors. You aren’t too old for these things, but you will be some day. That is not a license to be irresponsible. It’s a suggestion to be clever.
It doesn’t matter if you are good or not. I am terrible at dancing. It doesn’t matter. Go out with people you enjoy and have a good time. Trust me, no one is judging you except yourself. If you look like an idiot then it means you had more fun than the people who were leaning against the wall all night.
There are things in life that you just cannot control
Everybody stresses about stupid things. Sometimes you need to just turn off the news, not look at the gas prices, and forget that your coworker is a jackass. Some things in life just are. The sooner you let go of these things, the happier you will be.
Never get too comfortable
Letting yourself become complacent is the worst thing you can do. As soon as you let that happen, you are setting yourself up to miss out on the fun things in life. The movie “Yes Man” isn’t too far from what you should be doing right now. You’re young. You don’t have anyone depending on you. Don’t pass up the great opportunities that are coming your way. You have to be on the lookout, though. Sometimes it comes with a shove.
Make sure you laugh at things in life. There are many serious things ahead but humor can relieve almost anything. Laugh at the little things in life. Laugh about things people know about. Laugh about things that are only between you and your friends. The title of this post is a joke, and I’m laughing while I’m writing.
Dress for the life you want
You can be whoever you want. I took college to reinvent myself. That doesn’t mean I was fake. It means that I saw who I wanted to be, and I became that person. As a result, my life did a complete 180 and I became much happier. Be who you want to be.