When did you know you had no idea what you were doing with your life?
For me it was one week ago give or take.
On the day I graduated, the only thing I was sure of was that I was going to wear a light pink summer dress and nude wedges. Even the weather was whack. We were told that there was a 70 percent chance of thunderstorm and I wasn’t sure if I’d have to make a run for it through the rain and into the outdoor white tent that our graduation ceremony was held in.
Becoming a college graduate has proven to be one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me. Relatively, that might not mean much, since it’s contending for scariest moment against reciting my torah portion during my Bat Mitzvah. Oh wait, I also had to give a speech on my Torah Portion where I connected it to "To Kill A Mockingbird." That was pretty terrifying, as my 12-year-old friends stared at me, waiting to get their freak on to Nelly.
With terror comes a lot of learning. I graduated exactly a week ago and I’ve never learned so many life lessons in such a short amount of time.
My whole life I’ve been told what comes next. You pass 8th grade so you can go to high school and then you get a worthy GPA and do extracurriculars so you can go to a good college. But what now? There is not clear cut way, no more needed education for me to get to where I want to go. While I haven’t exactly figured it all out, I have learned some key things this last week.
1. Don’t fondle your best girlfriend’s boob in public, especially at her place of employment.
My best friend from college works at an Advertisement agency and I visited her for lunch at the café on the first floor of her office building. During our meal of coffee and tomato couscous soup I reached across the table and clasped her hands in mine like we’ve always done.
She looked at me and said, “You can’t do that here. People will think it’s weird.” I was flabbergasted. At college we would always be overly affectionate towards each other and didn’t care what people thought.
After lunch, as we were walking down the street, I grabbed her left boob, as a goodbye to our young adulthood of not giving a shit. She has an employer now and an image to uphold. She has to be professional and boob grabbing isn’t apart of that.
2. I can eat a lot of oatmeal.
I’ve really been able to test my threshold for consuming oatmeal and haven’t found it yet. Joy!
I no longer have the luxury of dinning hall food, which at my college was organic vegetables and whole wheat pasta. I don’t want to eat fast food or anything unhealthy, so I’ve resorted to oatmeal. When you don’t have a steady income and don’t want to ask your parents for money, oatmeal it is.
My priorities have begun to take shape and delicious food comes lower down on my list. It’s below makeup, technology, bus tickets, and alcohol. So oatmeal it is, in all its lumpy tasteless greatness.
3. I should really get a smart phone.
I am the only person I know who has a non-smart phone. How lame. I even have the iPhone, but no 3G plan. Yes, I actually have to find a place with wireless if I want to check my email. When potential job recruiters are sending out emails about possible jobs, I’m the last to see them and reply.
At this point I just look like I’m from another century. I might as well take my dial phone to parties and make calls. Or a pen and paper to networking events and scribble down people’s information. You want to hire me, right?!
4. A beer belly is not in fashion.
Senior year of college it’s all about the beer. Lots of beer. By graduation nearly everyone has a beer belly and it’s not a big deal. I got to New York and realized how healthy and in-shape everyone was and felt bad about myself. I’ll miss you beer belly, but you must go.
Last week, my friend insisted we go to a bar where they had “college beer prices” and free hot-dogs. It was only a week ago that I’d be excited and ready to drink watered down beer, but I had to restrain myself. Self-restraint is the worst.
5. Will my college’s career service’s bring me back to talk to students if I become a bottle service girl?
For some reason I hoped, prayed, that some well known director would see me on the streets and feel my greatness and hire me. Oh, that’s not how it works? The fact that my parents have spent a lot of money on my college education, for what, so I can become a waitress? Nay, a bottle service girl? I’ll do it, and hold as many other jobs at the same time.
What will my professors say? My parents? I don’t want to let anyone down. I want to make everyone proud, but I realized I’ve got years to make my family proud. I’m twenty-two, so slow down right? I’ve jokingly told people I’m going to become a bottle service girl and the common response is, “You’d never get hired doing that, you’d just talk back to all the guys.” Tell me world, what do I do?
I’ve gone over and over with my mom how I don’t need to prove myself, how I can take some time for myself and figure it out, but all I want to do is work and be successful. There are times I’ve become so frustrated that I am brought to tears.
Graduating from college is hard, but so are a lot of things. I get it. I’m lucky that I had parents who could help me pay for college and that I had a great education. And in the end isn’t it really freeing that I can do anything? There is no next step to get where I want to be, it is my path to decide, so for now I’ll own that. If I am beining honest I probably won’t stop freaking out or having mini panic attacks about my future anytime soon.
What did other people do when they were twenty-two? What advice would you give to your younger self?