Treat yourself: An open letter to the Class of 2014
To the Class of 2014,
This is it. One month ’till May and, odds are, you’re feeling numb and nauseous. The walls are closing in, all rugs have been pulled out and you’re compulsively spell-checking your resumé (while simultaneously snapchatting, putting off that ten-page paper and planning your next pregame). In six or so weeks you’ll be saying goodbye — to friends, to family, to weeknight whiskey specials — because an Irish Exit isn’t in the cards anymore. Not for four years of college.
You’re scared, (see also: restless, sleep-deprived, and a slave to happy hour), and that’s okay.
Trust your convictions. Go out on a Tuesday even though it’s raining and you know the bar’s full of freshmen. Have one, or ten too many people over (your neighbors won’t hold that title much longer) and stop censoring your rounds of slapcup. Put a ten in the jukebox. Take more selfies. Wear more sweatpants. Make sangria. Find a bagel store that delivers and order three dozen.
Skip a class for a drive with the windows down, make more time for roommates — past and present — and download Find My iPhone. Call home but hold tight to your last weekends away.
Make amends with someone. That girl who stole your bottle, or your boyfriend at that party at the baseball house. That professor who sent a four-page paper on spring break with you, first-class. The old flame that forgot your name (and never said hi).
Then tell someone else to go to hell.
Do not cry in the bathroom. I repeat, do not cry in the bar bathroom. Do not cry in your own bathroom. Do not cry in any bathroom and do your best not to cry at all. This may be the end of a really juicy chapter, but it’s not the end of the book (and, spoiler, there’s a sequel). Get off the floor (don’t worry, we’ve all been there), wash your hands and shake it off. Suit up and dance like no one’s watching because those who are won’t remember and those who will are probably the worst.
Start a group chat with the ones you love most and swear to still cherish it — to have and to hold, in sickness and in health — even when you’re napping.
Treat yourself, but be productive. The post-grad-25 is real and so are the post-grad hangovers. Make peace with your newfound tolerance and set some beer money aside for student loans.
Apply to ten jobs then apply to ten more. You’ve got nothing to lose. Channel your inner Hannah Horvath and venture outside of your comfort zone (and maybe even outside your field of study). Proof-read your cover letter and proof-read it again. Then give it to a friend. May they catch something you didn’t and may they do it before you send out sixteen copies with the introduction, “I am senior at (insert college here).” (No wonder New York Times said no.)
Bring flats for senior formal, steam your graduation gown, CHECK AGAIN FOR MISSING WORDS IN YOUR COVER LETTER, and be nicer to home when you get there. It’s adjusting, too.
Don’t be mad or sad or scared to move back in with your parents. Home will only hold you hostage if you let it. Save up. Take a road trip. Move out. Do you. You may be broke but you’ll manage.
No matter how qualified you know damn-well you are, expect more rejections than job offers because you will fall short at least once and you will bomb an interview no matter how long it took you to iron your blazer. You’ll spend hours on the phone with Time Warner Cable fighting with the automated operator and your bank will cancel your credit card the same day Con-Ed has plans to shut off your electricity (okay, maybe not but, even if, you’re not alone).
You are one of roughly 300,000 hot-off-the-press post-grads with no plans past the weekend and little to no idea what the fuck they’re actually doing. Remember, not all who wander are lost (and most HR departments fucking suck).
You will find something that makes you happy — be it a shiesty apartment above a makeshift Blimpies or a job you learn to love — as long as you keep looking. Just don’t settle.
You’ll get your shit together eventually.
Until then, keep your options open. Say yes to Sunday Funday, the occasional night in with Netflix and even your school’s senior events. They’re not all lame (and some are open-bar). Say yes to life and love and all the shit that makes you happy because if there ever was a time to order Bloody Marys by the pitcher and openly use YOLO as a verb, it’s now.
These are the times of your lives. Make them count. Don’t hold back.
The Class of 2013
P.S. We’re all still looking, too.
Also featured on Huffington Post College.