College is absolutely amazing. There’s a party every five minutes and the sex is just as prevalent as Smirnoff vodka. My tenure was occupied with track, theatre, work, wine nights, sitcoms and tons of “studying.” I got to learn a lot while surprisingly sleeping just as much. Seriously, college is amazing. Except, it didn’t prepare me for many things.
Don’t get me wrong, there are things I can do now that I couldn’t before, thanks to college. I know just as much about psychological disorders as I do about the history and evolution of dramatic art, acquired a deeper appreciation for 19th-century literature and can drink all of my friends under the table, no question. None of these skills have proven useful thus far.
L.A. is a ruthless beast, y’all. I relocated here after working my ass off for seven months and it’s a horrible, horrible place where everyone is insanely beautiful, no one wants to be your friend and dreams come to die. It’s also the place to be if you want to do anything in the entertainment industry. Finding where to start is a pain in the ass. Like most people moving to a new city, I had to metaphorically whore myself out to anyone with influence or a job to give. I’ve also been through some of the roughest days of my life and it’s only been two months.
After commencement, we’re dumped into this situation where no one knows us. In college, people zip through their mental Rolodex of how they know us. “Yup, I definitely saw this guy in a play before.” “I voted for her for ASUCD last year!” “I slept with her, didn’t I? No. But it almost happened.” The truth is that our college reputation doesn’t matter after graduation. We become the social equivalent of a newborn baby. People can’t judge us based on our previous accolades or the four-year long friendships we’ve created. It’ll all be based on our handshake, smile and the lies we have on our resume (Tip #1: Do not lie on your resume).
How do we build ourselves up from the bottom? For one thing, don’t let that weird ego trip where our cockiness levels shoot to Kanye proportions after graduation take over. Come to terms with reality, ASAP. There are thousands of people who studied the same thing we did and they WILL get jobs over us. Or someone’s father works at CBS and they handed them the job instead of hiring you. Personal experience? Of course. But you have to learn from it instead of crying like I did.
Get prepared for the slap of reality on a daily basis. Coverage under our parent’s medical insurance runs out just at the right/wrong time. The friends we left behind at Davis will forget about us while we try to reach out to them. We’re lonely all the time. There’ve been so many instances in the last year that I found myself wondering, “Shit, why wasn’t there a class on that?” I’m sure you’re stoked to graduate now, aren’t ya?
Stop hyperventilating! You’re not the first or the last person to have fears about starting your life. The time to get prepared is right now. If you don’t have any plans for the next phase in your life, get them situated quickly. Want to move back in with the fam? Don’t let your pride get in the way of such a smart decision. They love you and won’t charge you rent, utilities or food. Just make sure it’s for a finite period. Instead of going to another Theta Xi party and being hungover all weekend, schedule meetings with your favorite teachers to help figure out what to do next. Taking knowledge from those who’ve been through it before is your best asset. Use it. Everyone has a different path after graduation, but better to be over-prepared than not ready.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Who does this toolbag think he is, telling me what to do?” Don’t be rude. You’re about to graduate college. Name-calling’s beneath us. The first year is critical. It means the difference between freeloading and having no money and landing a job and the chance to smile everyday knowing you’re better off. Check back in to this column every week for my first-hand tips, musings and advice on how to dodge everything that life is gearing up to throw at you. Kitchen sink included.
Contact JAZZ TRICE at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/Jazz_Trice. Replies will be in the form of funny YouTube videos. Promise.