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.
Except dancing on an Alphabet City bar stage to Salt n Pepa, posing outside of Irish Exit because “we’re 21 now…wait, we’re 23,” losing the head of a screwdriver to the cork on the inside of a wine bottle, and that guy from OKCupid who said, “If you were a triangle, you’d be acute one.”
Okay, okay. I have a ton to write about, but life/Lord Scott Disick has been throwing curveballs in the form of four-hour open bars, 15-hour work days, 24-hour stomach bugs and a vicious cycle of never-ending Netflix queues.
And I’ve been a little weepy. It is baseball season, right?
Consider this a “To Be Continued,” with tales of life, (perusing dating websites for) love, meeting an old friend’s four-week old baby for the first time and a five-year high school reunion (YEP. THAT’S A THING.) to come.
Cheers (I’m not dead, just a little busy living).
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a track record of awful purchases (shout out to that $80 Urban Outfitters duvet cover I thought was a full-fledged comforter set, that copy of Spiderman 2, Tobey Maguire edition, on DVD and that full-pleather skater skirt I’ll never, ever wear).
See also: every single Starbucks purchase I’ve made since my ex’s mom bought me a Keurig.
Three years ago.
Since high school, I’ve handed over $2,000 of my parents hard-earned money to iTunes or so says my 2,159-song Purchased playlist. If I’d taken a shot every time my mother told me to “Stop with the fucking iTunes,” I’d be dead in a sewer somewhere, or at least able to afford basic cable.
Here’s 25 of the best/worst. You decide.
1. Song: Face Down (Acoustic) Artist: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Teen angst at its finest, and acoustic.
2. Song: Caramel Artist: City High feat. Eve
Straight off of NOW! 51.
3. Song: Just the Girl Artist: The Click Five
4. Song: I Will Survive Artist: Gloria Gaynor
Baby’s first breakup.
5. Song: Somebody’s Watching Me Artist: Rockwell
See also: Faith by George Michael, I Wear My Sunglasses at Night by Corey Hart and the entire Barry White Millennium Collection. All in the same night. I was feeling some type of way.
6. Song: Crack a Bottle Artist: Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent
I bought this for a party playlist. Seriously.
7. Song: Right Round Artist: Flo Rida
I indirectly helped fund Flo Rida’s future and I’m sorry.
8. Song: Pimpin’ All Over the World Artist: Ludacris & Bobby V
Long live Ludacris.
9. Song: Photograph Artist: Nickelback
NO, NICKELBACK. NO.
10. Song: Mmmbop Artist: Hanson
Purchased in 2012.
11. Song: Like a G6 Artist: Far East Movement
Also purchased in 2012.
12. Song: Shots Artist: LMFAO & Lil Jon
13. Song: Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love) Artist: JC Chasez
Yeah, the one from Drumline.
14. Song: Talk Shit Artist: Millionaires
The bangs and blonde streak era. So scene. So bad.
15. Song: Bedrock Artist: Young Money
A go-to jukebox jam I continuously pay money for.
16. Song: After Today Artist: Aaron Lohr
I’d like to personally thank the writers of A Goofy Movie for the masterpiece that molded my childhood (and sparked a weird crush on an animated dog).
17. Song: I’m Just a Kid Artist: Simple Plan
ANGST. ANGST. ANGST.
18. Song: Ridin’ Solo Artist: Jason Derülo
No wonder I’m still RiDiN SoLo.
19. Song: The Bed Intruder Song Artist: Antoine Dodson
I don’t know what’s worse. This purchase or that, three weeks later, my boyfriend-at-the-time made me a mix CD with this just this song on it 18 times.
20. Song: Break My Stride Artist: Matthew Wilder
I bought this once Rachel from Glee revealed her morning workout routine.
21. Song: Never Say Never Artist: Justin Bieber
NOPE. NOPE. NOPE.
22. Song: Where My Girls At? Artist: 702
In my defense, this one was on sale for 69 cents.
23. Song: Cupid Shuffle Artist: Cupid
Because my high school chem teacher killed this dance at senior prom.
24. Song: Red Solo Cup Artist: Toby Keith
25. Song: Pon De Replay Artist: Rihanna
I bought this video (and the one for 1,2 Step) for $1.99.
It was midnight on a Saturday as I sat upright, dead sober and straight-faced at a small-town Brooklyn bar. My friends fed money to the tip jar and the jukebox (all rap songs removed by the bar-owner) while I forced back a Bud heavy like it was cough syrup and sulked. This gruesome public display of depression was (and always will be) worse than any public display of affection.
Unless you’re that couple making out on the subway. I still hate you.
I caught a glimpse of my hair — once again proving that it can, and always will get drunker than I do — and scowled at the bags under my eyes and food on my shirt in the Guinness mirror behind the bar. I called a cab for the six-block walk home, slipped into sweatpants and heat up a hot pocket because beers just wouldn’t do it and I couldn’t afford a mixed drink.
Netflix it was.
Sure, I signed a contract with my own business cards, benefits I don’t quite understand and an “eh, it’s decent for a recent graduate” salary, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying to black out.
Blacking out post-21 is as unpredictable as your everyday coffee order at Dunkin (I said Splenda, bitch). Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes you lose your passport. Some nights, you can house half a bottle of Fireball and not remember getting home while others, the whole bottle will leave you wishing you tucked one of those airplane-size babies of Smirnoff into your strapless bra for the road.
And one more for good luck.
Some nights you’re invincible — eighteen and shitfaced again — only this time you aren’t sneaking Sparks from the Spanish deli you’d otherwise never set foot in. Others, it’s 9 p.m. and you’re already looking for a ride home because the idea of bar hopping causes physical pain. In fact, you haven’t left the bar stool since your last bathroom trip and your leg is asleep.
More than anything, you can’t stop wondering where the fuck all these seventeen year olds came from and what kind of sorcery they used to be served (YOU HAVE BRACES AND A NAMEPLATE. HOW DID YOU EVEN GET IN HERE? GO DRINK WINE COOLERS IN THE DUGOUTS LIKE WE HAD TO WINTER OF 2008).
Some nights, your tolerance is as strong as it was when it peaked sophomore year of college. Others, you’re on the floor of an AC nightclub because someone “pummeled into you” but really, you probably just fell.
So hey, tolerance. This one’s for you.
We need to talk.
I still loved you when you left me in the lobby of the diner, bruised and barefoot, waiting for an order of 4 a.m. waffle fries. I still loved you when you left me limping through the lobby of a hotel, one too many vodka-red bulls over the legal limit. I still love you every.single.time. you leave me the morning after with nothing but a four minute outgoing phone call to my ex and 47 text messages to the same four people.
(see: “wher ar eyou,” wHERE aRE u” and “wait but where are you”)
But last Sunday — somewhere in between an eight hour nap and being told my bare ass touched the floor of Revel nightclub — I came to a difficult decision.
I think it’s time we take a break, until you can commit.
Can I still handle Fireball? How many tall-boys is too many tall-boys? Will that thermos-full of Franzia leave my ex a voicemail? The real world is hard enough without having to wonder “will this Sunday Funday still hurt come Monday from the confines of my cubicle or should these bottomless mimosas might as well be water?”
Quit ripping the rug out from underneath me every weekend and LET ME LIVE.
I’m just asking for some commitment.
Until we meet again (probably this weekend),
A tired 22-year-old post-grad with a full-time job and love of whiskey
Sober and stable, but one earring is cool. The next page was a definitive list of boys I had “CRAZY” crushes on*. Special shout-out to Claire’s and also my mom for not throwing this away with my provocatively dressed Bratz doll.
* Two turned out to be gay.
“How far are you from your folks’ place?” asked a way-cooler-than-me 29-year-old punk(ish) band member I was interviewing over an expensive cup of coffee and apartment-talk in Greenpoint. Using the term “folks” made him instantly cooler. That, and his off-center nose ring.
“Oh, both my parents are dead.”
Thank God this wasn’t a date.
His face shifted as if he’d seen a ghost, or Kate Upton walking the 23 degree streets in nothing but a bear hat. Maybe he just burnt his tongue. Either way, he spit out the same sort of “sorry” everyone says when they don’t know what else to say and looked at me to either elaborate or change the subject.
I cut the tension with a sharp, “What if this was a date? Should that have been my pick-up line? ‘Hey, my name is Meaghan and I have a fuck-ton of baggage.'” He didn’t know what to say (go figure) but he laughed, and I think only half of it was out of pity.
I’m a 22-year-old college graduate with a degree in journalism, a hatred for spanx, and this interview was the closest I’ve had to a date in two years.
By the way, he’s taken.
Maybe I’m to blame for mocking online dating or not “putting myself out there” (whatever that means) but with an on-call job and a lot of laundry to do, socializing is stressful. The last thing I want to do on a Saturday night is small-talk with some stranger while my girlfriends order shots.
If post-grad life has taught me anything (besides what it’s like to feel your metabolism slowing down), it’s that dating in your twenties isn’t like dating in your teens. You can’t just date your friends. Dating in your twenties requires actual effort. It requires taking risks and changing scenes and saying yes to that set up with your best friend’s mom’s sister’s son’s half-brother.
It’s volunteering as tribute to the unknown and unfamiliar while still somehow managing to “be yourself” but how the fuck are we supposed to do that when, in our early twenties, most of us don’t even know who we are yet?
I like Dashboard Confessional but I love Diplo.
I’ve been known to get too attached but I’m scared of commitment.
Some nights, I dig being alone, binge watching Freaks and Geeks and spending some quality time with New York Magazine. Others, I’ll take your open bar, raise you a happy hour and meet you on the dance floor. Some days, I want to be a writer. Others, I’d rather marry rich.
All we can be in our twenties is present — and open — to whatever comes next. To swiping right on Tinder before knowing how tall they are. To writing a song for a boy who doesn’t know you (yet). To kissing everyone in a crowded bar and complimenting a stranger’s watch. To coffee with an OKCupid match you actually messaged first (even if its your first date in two years).
If dating in our twenties means wearing our baggage like a badge on our sleeves and grabbing life by the balls then so be it.
Here I am, fellas. Single, short, eclectic and a Cancer. Take it or leave it (just buy me a beer first).
Mazel Tav, Facebook. Today, you’re a tween.
Ten years ago this week, Mark Zuckerberg launched thefacebook.com from his beer-ridden, dimly lit Harvard dorm room in a move that would permanently reshape social media (cue: “Damn, Jesse Eisenberg was a prick in that movie”) and leave all of Generation Y toggling with their privacy settings in hopes of still finding employment.
As the world celebrates ten years of instant-gratification, finding that former high school flame and keeping touch over states and seas, I’m celebrating seven years of cyber-stalking my ex boyfriends, accidentally poking people I haven’t seen in years and misquoting song lyrics.
Millennials have learned a lot from Facebook culture — from the (scarily real) power of networking to just who from high school we’d settle for never seeing again. See also: Don’t be that guy on Christmas (no one cares about your Michael Kors watch) and It’s no use hiding your ex from your timeline (you’re just going to use the search-bar).
Besides the obvious — don’t drink and post, don’t gym and post, don’t eat and post — going back seven years on my own Timeline has taught me some seriously cringe-worthy lessons.
1. Always start off strong.
2. No one cares about your public PMS.
3. It’s okay to be passive-aggressive as long as you also quote the Shins.
4. It’s better to be honest.
5. Labels are for bitches.
6. When in doubt, just be Beyonce.
7. Always log out of Facebook.
8. “I won’t tag you” is
almost always a lie.
9. What happens in the limo, stays in the limo…until it’s on Facebook.
10. Tagged photos won’t just “go away.”
11. But your friends might if you post stuff like this:12. Finally, if you’re going to be in a Facebook relationship, do so quietly (and sober).
In hindsight, there were way worse albums than “dominique’s limo party” (see: “Life at the bottom of a gin bucket,” “Cinco de slut” and “Jingle bell blackout”) and, seven years later, my Timeline is equal-parts shameless self promotion, selfies with dogs and recipes for jello shots.
Sometimes I forget she died and it’s not until I stop everything I’m doing that I remember she did. It’s not until I see the president speak, work sixteen hours straight or consider ordering French Onion Soup. It’s not until I find that emory board she was always looking for or the wedding pictures I never asked to see. It’s not until I reach for my phone and dial a number I went and had cancelled myself. (Old habits die hard, right?)
It’s not until I need help.
Which insurance card do I use for my prescriptions? Are taxes a thing yet? Will putting my bed next to my heater set my apartment on fire? Would you microwave this?
It’s not until “Hear You Me” by Jimmy Eat World comes on the radio because of course it fucking did, or “Blurred Lines” because she hated it–just like she hated Robin Thicke. I’m not sure how she felt about Jim Adkins, but she did like the Black Eyed Peas.
It’s not until it’s six a.m. and I’m sweating through her tee-shirt from one of two recurring dreams where she’s screaming for help but I’m paralyzed, and she’s still alive but I can’t call her.
It’s not until it rains.
It’s not until it snows.
It’s not until I’m sad.
It’s not until I’m happy.
Sometimes I forget she died, but then I remember.
Moving is hard. I knew that. I’ve seen Casper. I saw it coming.
What I didn’t see coming (besides the blizzard that fucked my U-Haul)?
It being ten times harder (times the square root) when you’ve got your own shit, your parents’ shit and their parents’ shit. Three months, 50-something garbage bags, 25 reinforced boxes and one 10×10 storage unit later and I’m finally kind of home. While some things didn’t make the move from storage (see: two 40-year-old lamps, evidence of my scrapbooking phase and my grandmother’s tax forms), others didn’t even make it past the curb of my parents’ house (see: my Smirnoff-stained senior prom dress, the 8×10 of me hugging a plastic tree and that portrait sketch of Hilary Duff).
Still, some made the dreadfully dragged out move and others even made the cut for our slightly cramped third story, three-bedroom apartment (see: Big Fat Liar on DVD, unidentifiable silver trays we think are coasters and my cat’s ashes).
There it was — amidst a striptease record and my dad’s old flask — my 2004-2009 journal. I had high hopes that I had stopped using it come high school but one mortifyingly mean top-eight list called “Reasons to hate [my first ex]” said otherwise. In case you’re wondering, number seven read “SKINNY” and number eight was left blank. Sorry, Peter.
Thankfully/unfortunately, most logs were written by seventh grade me. Here’s some very real (very embarrassing) posts about abortion, George Bush, heartbreak and Good Charlotte.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these journal entries are those of 13-year-old me and do not reflect the opinions or official position of 22-year-old me. I can safely say — almost ten years later — I’m anti-George Bush, pro-choice and have no opinion either way on Joel and Benji Madden.
On war and abortion:
This got really real. On the next page I talk about The Simpsons.
I think I meant firetrucks.
On Good Charlotte:
I’ll spare you the lyrics. At least it wasn’t “My Bloody Valentine.”
On Elvis Presley and “blue sweade shoes”:
Points for the song title. Extra points for the spelling of suede.
Written in gel-pen, post-Peter.
And on a random page:
It’s 2014 and I’ve come full circle, this song still reigning as a college classic.
While two thirds of me wants to douse this book in lighter fluid, that last third is glad I gave a fuck about anything at thirteen (most notably things that weren’t sold at Claires or on my AIM profile). In the end I’m just happy I was too young to know the phrase, “You’re only as strong as the tables you dance on” and plaster it on the cover.
It did have another Good Charlotte quote.