Sunday, May 22, 2016

12 Tips for New College Grads :-P

My awesome niece Gabriel
Four falls ago, I wrote a column for the Chapel Hill News in which I gave advice to incoming college freshmen. In it I advised young folks to keep up with their class reading and follow their syllabus… and date musicians and NOT date musicians. It was mainly written for my cool niece Gabriel who was entering Duke. And now, after a successful college career she’s graduated, and I thought…exactly what advice do I have for a new college graduate? Not that Gabriel needs my advice – she's brilliant! ...But what would I tell my younger self?

First of all, my younger self was an idiot and could have used some good advice. Secondly, my younger self was an idiot and wouldn’t have taken any advice! Thirdly, it all worked out anyway, so I’ve got that going for me… which is nice.

Anyway, if you are super ambitious and business/career-minded, I’m afraid I can’t advise you. That was never my thing. However, if your goal, as mine was, is to stay afloat and have fun, I have some great tips for you – some are tongue-in-cheek tidbits based on my actual life, while some are pieces of actual advice that might really be helpful. It's up to you to figure out which is which!

1. Live where you want to live… where your friends are and where the stuff you like to do is. The job can come second. If you can find a job in your field, AWESOME – if not, get one vaguely related… or even do retail or food service – whatever will keep you afloat. And whatever it is, just grab hold of it and work hard.

2. Find a cheap living situation – the more roommates the better! If you are having fun, you won’t care that you’re sharing a bedroom with three other people and a house with a bunch more. 

3. Fill up on beans, rice, popcorn, ramen noodles and bread. Find out where the good, cheap all-you-can-eateries are, and occasionally go there and eat all you can.

The shaggy-haired,
pencil-thin boyfriend
of my dreams.
4. Eat one meal a day. While this practice may steer you towards an eating disorder, as it did me, it will save you a boat load of lunch money and calories.

5. Shop at thrift shops. Buy a lot of black items so that everything matches. Turn these clothes and those you already have into cool outfits by adding concha belts and/ or vintage items from your grandma’s closet, and pairing with Doc Martens, cowboy or granny boots, or Chuck Taylors.

6. Never spend money on drugs. If someone offers to share, though… um. Don’t take them.
7. Take the money you’ve saved from eating crap, sharing a house with 10 people, shopping at thrift shops, and not buying drugs, and spend it on live music shows. See and be seen. Dance. Meet the shaggy-haired, pencil-thin, heart-breaking musician boyfriend of your dreams. Maybe not Mr. Right, but Mr. Right Now…

8. Read a lot of books. Later, when you have a partner and/or kids, you won’t have near enough time to read, and the world is full of words arranged just so into books that want to melt into your heart.

9. Take a lot of walks.  Being outside will clear your head... Plus, your body is young and resilient – it is easier now for you to be in shape than it ever will be again.


10. Go to Europe… or wherever you want to… while you’re still young enough to stay at hostels. I actually didn’t do this, but wish I had.

11. Go to church. I didn’t do this either, but wish I had. Regular attendance at an event where people are looking at the Almighty will keep you grounded. Even if you don’t understand or agree with everything… it will take you outside yourself for just an hour. 

12. Another thing I rarely did: enjoy some silence. Turn off everything for a little while every day. Hear yourself think. If so led, talk to your Maker. Listen for the answers.

Okay, I’m pretty sure that even if you are an idiot like I was, you can tell where the list takes a turn from idiotic things I did to advice that might actually help you… And yes – “idiotic” is the word that comes to mind. Along with “immature” and “sinner, poor and needy.” 

Although I hope you're smarter than me... I honestly don’t think I would trade my misspent youth for a well-spent youth… not that I am advising you to mis-spend your youth. Please don’t… I’m actually not really sure what I’m saying… Just… LIVE! Be young for a while… just don't wait too long to come around to numbers 11 and 12… because that’s where real life is.

PHOTO CREDIT: My friend Alecia, with whom I lived during much of that magic time!

1 comment:

  1. Can't believe Gabriel is all grown up! Wow, best wishes to her.
    And I was surprised to see some familiar photos above, made me nostalgic. Please take the word idiot out from under your photo.... I will give my kids this list. :)