It’s 23-year-old me coming to you with some words of wisdom in my cramped cubicle on this fine morning. Let me start out by saying congratulations on successfully wrapping up your sophomore year of academic probation, it’s a real accomplishment. You had a great time at all those toga parties at the Sigma Nu house and you even landed that handy behind the Waffle House after the homecoming social. It was a great year, obviously. Now I’m coming at you not only with the gloom and doom of the shit show known in most cultures as “adulthood,” but also with some words of wisdom from the other side of the graduation ceremony (spoiler alert: you barely make it).
For the love of God, you lazy bastard, get out there and get an internship. Yeah, you’ll eventually land some bullshit opportunity to intern for that congressman you used to mow lawns for in high school, but get started early. Here’s the thing, it’s going to be a real train wreck for college graduates by the time you finish your “victory lap” and hit the job market, so let’s avoid the underemployment that nearly half of your peers will be facing while they try to pay off their student loans. Passing Algebra on the third try and stumbling on to Dean’s list your final semester won’t get you a job, but knowing the right people will. It’s not about the grades you make, but the hands you shake. If some lost youngster happens to have stumbled upon this website, please remember this and run with it. Millennials face a job market that is far more competitive than that of prior generations, so understand that your ability to sell yourself is worth a lot more than that piece of paper you’ll earn after countless sleepless nights and even more hangovers.
Now that we’ve established you need to spend less time studying and more time networking, let’s talk about a little thing called “relationships.” I’m starting to see a lot of your good friends drop like dominoes. Remember Jake from your IM Dodgeball team? That poor bastard is married with two kids. Oh, and how could I forget Ian from your pledge class? He’s engaged to the coed you once joked about being “Eskimo brothers” with last semester. As for you, young grasshopper, you’re going to be in a relationship by senior year. You’ve been going strong for almost over two years now. She likes you even though you celebrate weekends by going commando and spreading the tradition of “Freeball Fridays” across your social circles, you fucking savage. She’s a nice girl and all, but she’ll have you tied down like Uncle Greg’s sailboat on a Monday morning. You will never, I repeat never, have the opportunity to get rowdy in bed like these next few years again. Just like Dad taught you, be a conservative in the streets but a liberal in the sheets. Remember Lori from work? She’ll buy you a few shots at happy hour on St. Patty’s day. Roll with it, bud. And don’t forget to bring a condom, it’ll save you that awkward trip to CVS half drunk at 2 a.m. In all seriousness though, play the field, because Lord knows the time is closing in before you fall for that camp counselor you’ll meet working in North Carolina over the summer.
Drinking, let’s talk about that a little bit. You really hit your stride sophomore year and frankly, enjoy those college parties because it’s all downhill from there. That mixer next month, though? Take it a bit light, you end up getting so drunk you hook up with a “king sized” gal from the participation trophy sorority, and you still haven’t shook that “Captain Ahab” nickname your brothers gave you. Other than that, enjoy those college parties. Keggers, Boats n Hoes, Beer Olympics and all of the other good things in life you enjoy while maintaining that 2.6 GPA, they aren’t going to be there in a few years. Themed parties will be replaced with office happy hour, fraternity chapter will be replaced with conference calls, and tailgates will be replaced with the big screen TV at the Applebees bar and half off appetizers. They weren’t lying when they told you these were the best years of your life. You’ll make lifelong friends, learn lifelong lessons, and perhaps most notably, make some of the biggest learning mistakes of your life. What I’m getting at here, is that you need to enjoy these years.
You’ve got a test tomorrow morning? No, go to that Margaritaville themed party with your pledge brothers. Your stressing over some bullshit paper that’s due next week? Pop some adderall and knock it out the night before, you’ll have (more serious) deadlines to worry about for the rest of your life in the real world, take some time to go try that new BBQ joint with your freshman year roommate instead. Life is short, and the best years you’ll find in your time on earth will likely come at your alma mater surrounded by the close friends who will almost certainly be present at your inevitable wedding in a few years. Make memories, make connections, and for the love of God, learn how to tie a damn tie.