Last Sunday, your humble Content King had what we in the biz call a mid-life crisis. I turned 26, the age that I have been telling girls at bars that I was for the past 5 years. It’s the age where you’re still in your mid-20s, but can’t really make excuses anymore and are expected to pay your taxes on your own. At the same time, my Instagram feed was full of graduation pics, as a new crop of post grads made their way for the Adult World, wide-eyed and a mere 3 months from becoming completely broken as a person.
I realized that this was the end of the first stage of adult life, which here on WRD we call Undergrad Post-Grad. Are there other stages of adult life, you ask? Thank you for the engagement. Yes, they are as follows –
- Undergrad Post-Grad – first 4 years out of college
- You’re figuring out how everything works under relatively low stakes. You get a little more mature each year, but like, not really.
- Postgrad Post-Grad – age 26 – TBD
- You have most of adult life figured out, but you want to enjoy yourself before you settle down. You show up to work on Mondays at 10:15 because you’re still hungover from the weekend but you also own kitchen appliances and are off your parent’s insurance.
- Adult Life – TBD – Death
- This happens once you commit to a long-term contract that is longer than 5 years. This could mean 1) a mortgage 2) a marriage or 3) a child.
Let’s get this out of the way – YES of course this is not the same for everyone. We get it man, you lived in Japan for like a year and then joined a start-up and now you’re like driving an Uber while writing a series of short stories. Congrats – you found yourself and you’re like an unique, interesting soul. This is for normal people who are too scared to not do what everyone around them is doing OK SHUT UP.
The 4 Years of Undergrad Post-Grad: A Manifesto
Freshman Year: Brand New But I Don’t Care
Ignorance is truly bliss. You don’t know a single thing, which is horrifying but also freeing. How are you expected to know you’re supposed to wash your towels, change your sheets more than once a year, or pay your credit card bill in full? No one told you that.
Social Life: You are drinking to the point of near blackout every single Thursday – Saturday night. You hang out with your freshman hall – aka every single person you know who lives in your city, even if you don’t really like them. You go to Hair of the Dog at least once a weekend.
Career: You take the first good job you can get, even if you’re not sure that it’s what you want. It’s fine – it’s important to practice the basics of a real job, like sending emails, behaving in meetings, and crying in the bathroom. You make shit money, but it’s more than the $0 you made in college. You can buy a round of Bud Lights without your card getting declined most times.
Love Life: If you’re still dating someone from college, you’re either 1) realizing it’s not going to work out because you don’t have anything in common or 2) you’re talking about how you can’t wait to get married. If you’re single, you are hooking up with everything that moves, include 1 – 4 coworkers.
Sophomore – You Think You Know Everything
Dudeee you’re the sickest kid of all time. You know how to book a bar for someone’s birthday, plan a vacation, and call the superintendent when the toilet overflows after you used extra thick paper towels to wipe because you were out of toilet paper.
Social Life: You have sick group chat called ‘The Degenerates,’ ‘Savages’ or ‘Bad Boyz.’ You know all the good bars at this point, but you still go to Hair of the Dog once a month to bully the new freshmen.
Career: You know how to do your job well. You’ve either been promoted or are pissed that you haven’t been. It’s time to declare you major – are you going to stay put, get a new job in the same field, or do something completely random?
Love Life: If you’ve been single since college, you’re getting kinda sick of random hook-ups and realizing you haven’t had sober sex in 19 months. Or you’re in your first adult relationship and realizing the joys of paying for dinner and drinks for two at a nice restaurant.
Junior Year – Study Abroad
This is the year where you kind of snap and realize that you need to mix it up. Maybe you move cities. Maybe you join a book club or start working out all the time. Maybe you start writing a blog that enough people read to give you a little bit of hope that it matters, but not enough to actually change your life in any substantial way. All are equal cries for help.
Social life – You branch out a bit and try new stuff. Some of your friends start to talk about how they’re ‘so old’ and stay in Friday nights so they can go to Barry’s bootcamp Saturday morning. Some of your friends are drinking like a little too much and it’s sort of alarming. You’re still going to Hair of the Dog but it’s ironically and only for like happy hours, to watch football, and maybe at 2 am when you’re lonely.
Career: Time make a change. You’ve had enough experience to know what you do or don’t want in a job. Go to a new company. Apply to grad school. Really push to get a promotion at your current company.
Changing companies within an industry = studying abroad in Europe
Changing industries completely = studying abroad in Australia
Moving to Thailand to teach English = moving to Thailand to teach English.
Love Life: You’re going through your first real adult break-up, which is nice because you won’t have to worry about running into your ex at the dining hall, but sad because you can’t wait outside the dining hall all day to ‘accidentally’ run into them. Or you’ve been single since college and have built an emotional wall that will never lead to anything more than a string of non-committal relationships that confuse everyone involved and leave you feeling gross.
Senior Year – Time to Get Your Shit Together
It’s time to take your life a little bit more seriously, but not totally. You still have fun and do reckless shit. You just feel a little guiltier and more hungover afterwards.
Social Life: You have your core group of friends and you are not looking for any new ones. You go out, but only to stuff that you want to do. You’re fine with just chilling and watching a movie on a Friday night, or having 4 Red Bull Jamesons and staying out until 6 am. You’re getting brunch at Hair of the Dog. It’s sad at this point.
Career– It’s time for your second big change. Study for the CFA. Go to law school. Quit the corporate world and become a travel blogger. Or, really focus in on your career and start making some money baby.
Love Life: Shit gets real. Your friends in long term relationships are getting engaged or moving in together. You’re single and on all the apps and have gone on 7 first dates this month. Your friends who are newly single are either disgusting monsters or just like sad and upset all the time. You don’t know how to talk to them because your masculinity is too fragile to show vulnerability.
Postgrad Post-Grad: You Get Married at Hair of the Dog
Adult Life: You Get Buried at Hair of the Dog