What I Wish I Knew When I Graduated College
This article is part of our Post Grad Survival Guide that we’ll be rolling out this summer. Join our email list to follow along all summer and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to guest write.
College was sick. It really was. Sure, like everyone else I partied my little ass off but I also learned a ton of valuable stuff, like how to find test answers online, make $15 last 5 days, and that everyone does cocaine and has herpes.
But, like most of you, when graduation came, I was absolutely not prepared to enter the working world. I made a significant amount of mistakes but after 6 years, 5 apartments, 3 jobs, and 1 credit score that still is not where it should be, I’m ready to share my wisdom.
20 Things I Wish I Knew When I Graduated College
1. Always Get the Insurance
You should get health and car insurance, because I’m pretty sure that’s a law and also it’s a good idea. I’m talking more about short term purchases or rentals.
Personally, insurance has paid for the following things:
- Damage to my floor and the three floors below me after my sink overflowed because I left it running all night after I passed out drunk on my couch (renter’s)
- Giant-ass scrape on the side of a moving truck because I didn’t realize how big the car was and hit a divider (U-Haul)
- Cancelled flights I booked during the peak of the pandemic because it was cheap but then no one got vaccinated so I couldn’t go (flight)
- Damage to an Uber that hit me in the middle of the road one night because I was drunkenly wandering through the streets and multiple witnesses said it was my fault (renter’s insurance paid for this for some reason)
It’s usually like $20 and worth it every time, especially since you know you’re going to fuck something up.
2. Learn How to Cook
As an adult, you quickly realize the only place you can buy lunch from at work is a fast-casual restaurant called “Harvest Fig” where absolutely nothing on the menu looks appetizing and costs $19 minimum (and that’s before you add meat.)
Save yourself some money and happiness and learn to cook like 3 to 5 meals. Bring them in for lunch, reheat them for leftovers, shovel them down your throat when you’re drunk. Ordering food is the quickest way to go broke.
3. You Don’t Have to Have Your Dream Job
It’s called work for a reason. It’s supposed to suck sometimes and that’s fine. Everyone won’t shut up these days about the importance of following your dreams or doing what you love, but it’s ok if your ‘dream’ is to end work at 5 and spend time with your friends.
I’ve worked jobs I’m passionate about and worked jobs I literally hate with every ounce of my being. There’s stress, boredom, and excitement in both of them. Don’t tie your personality to your career or beat yourself up for having a good job that pays the bills.
4. Get a Hobby
The endless cycle of work, gym, Netflix, and drink with the same 10 people at the same 10 bars gets a little old. Find something else to pass the time. You’ll meet more people, have something interesting to talk about, and not feel like a piece of shit for every waking hour of the day. Nice change of pace.
5. Being the Funny, Blacked Out Guy Isn’t That Funny
Still learning this lesson. It was definitely really cool and hilarious back in college when you had three 40s, threw up in the dining hall bathroom and couldn’t speak straight during your fraternity’s formal. When you do that today, it’s just annoying for everyone else and pretty embarrassing for you (especially since you’re going to your fraternity’s formal as an adult.)
It’s also just a little bit more dangerous. You’re not in your college campus bubble, where you can drunkenly wander around without fear. If you ditch your friends, try to go home and end up at the wrong apartment, it’s not a funny story. It’s something that will get you beat up or have the cops called on you (ACAB.)
6. You Get Treated The Way You Let People Treat You
Stop blaming people and stick up for yourself. This applies to work, dating, friendships or the barbershop. Tell that barber you don’t like your haircut and to fix that shit ASAP! (I’ve literally never done this so take that with a grain of salt.)
7. Don’t Make the Same Mistake Twice
Mistakes are good. Once.
8. You Will Get Fat
Turns out, sitting in a chair for 40 hours a week while you challenge a rapidly deteriorating metabolism by shovelling shit into your mouth all day is not a recipe for physical fitness. Join a gym, get a trainer, do your little runs all you want, but it’s important to accept that your body has peaked and there’s no going back. It’s about maintenance now.
9. Bring Booze to a Party
It’s not a frat party anymore and there’s not limitless beer when you walk in the door.
Here are some don’ts for adult parties.
1. Don’t show up empty handed
- There’s a store every half mile that sells beer. Get it together
2. Don’t get pissy if someone else drinks one of your beers without asking.
- It all evens out in the end
3. Don’t take the rest of your beers home with you if there are leftovers.
- The benefit of hosting the party is you get the leftover booze
10. Make it to the Birthday Party, Wedding or Funeral
Just show up for people. You can tell yourself that they don’t really care if you come or not, but that’s not true. People remember that stuff and trust me, you’ll regret the times that you had something more important to do than show up for your friend.
Also, text your friends on their birthday! I know it’s hard to remember since no one uses Facebook anymore but do your best.
11. It’s Ok to Say No
The opposite of the previous point! What a nuanced list. When you get older, you realize it’s ok to say no to stuff. Stay in if you’re tired. If you don’t want to go to a concert because you hate live music and joy, just say no. If your boss tries to pass off more work on you than is in your job description, tell them to fuck themselves (respectfully.)
12. Figure Out a Tight 5 Outfit Lineup
You really only need 5 good outfits to get through life. Save yourself time, money and stress and figure them out early. Update once a year or so.
13. Your Job is Not that Interesting
I promise you, no one cares what you do from 9-5. We seriously do not care at all. Please stop talking about it at pregames or honestly, any sort of event. This is really directed to finance guys, but applies to pretty much every job that’s not movie star or professional hitman. Even for those, I’d rather just not know because I’d be too jealous and worried for my personal safety if you started telling me about it.
14. Bills Should Be Paid Not Thrown Away
My credit score is still completely fucked because I kept throwing away a medical bill and it eventually went to collections. Just pay the bill you moron.
15. Don’t Take It Personally
90% of the time, if someone is being a dick to you, that’s their own issue. They’re just jealous of how hot, popular and skinny you look while you’re wearing one of your tight 5 outfits. Ignore them.
16. Office Politics is a Losing Game
Not worth the energy. The office politician may beat you out for a promotion in the short term, but after a while, their schtick will get old, their allies will leave and they’ll be fucked. Just do you and don’t worry about everyone else.
Also, in general, you want to know the gossip, but don’t spread the gossip. There’s a difference.
17. Rip off the Band-Aid
Applies to everything, but most important when it comes to dating. Don’t waste people’s time stringing them along. Have the hard, honest conversation and save both of you a lot of pain.
18. Start Today
You’re going to die so so so soon. If there’s something you want to do or a dream you want to chase down, start right now. The Internet exists, you can figure it out.
19. Literally None of it Matters
You are just one grain of sand in the endless beach that is human existence. No one thinks about you at all and if you die, maybe 0.1% of the population would care. That’s not depressing, that’s freeing. Stop worrying about doing the right thing and do what makes you happy.
20. Invest in Bitcoin
God, I would be so fucking rich if I bought bitcoin in 2011. Maybe I wouldn’t have to write these stupid, self-important blogs anymore.