It's been almost 4 years since I myself was a graduating senior, fresh-faced and terrified of leaving college. So in the spirit of the season, I'll offer up my . . .
Tips for Graduates
- Manage your expectations: It's great to have dreams and stuff. But just remember, those dreams are someday dreams. Not tomorrow dreams. So if you end up in an unpaid internship, sleeping on a couch or dressing in full historical garb for a living, at least you'll still have those dreams to keep you warm.
- Be kind to your peers: Some of you will succeed phenomenally right away. I'll assume you have incredibly good family connections. To those of you I say, be kind. You'll have friends whose days will consist of answering phones for a guy who barely remembers their name or washing dogs or making incredibly intricate coffee drinks. So just remember their hardships when you relate that awesome story about your office's free muffins or how much you need a raise. And to those admins, dog washers and baristas - love your smug, successful friends, too. As hard as it may be, remember if you were in their shoes, you'd be just as damn smug, too.
- Never say "no" to an interview: Everyone knows this is my dad's favorite line, but it has served me well. Interview, interview, interview. Interview for jobs you want. Interview for jobs you don't want. Interview for jobs that aren't open yet or, hell, don't even exist. Just get some practice talking about yourself and wearing a suit. It'll pay off.
- Grow old, not up: This can have two meanings. Firstly, there's no such thing as grown up. You'll realize this. Things will start to happen that should make you feel like an adult - first apartment, first professional job, wedding, babies, and on and on. You'll think an internal shift should happen, that suddenly it all feels right and true and you are finally the grown up version of yourself you always imagined. I tell you this as an engaged professional with a town home - doesn't happen. You will always feel like a kid at the grown ups' table. And second meaning? Shoes. Get over high heels. Yes, the first year it seems awesome to wear them with a suit - you're Lucy Liu in that 10 min. business segment in Charlie's Angels. But take a look at Hilary Clinton's shoes. Exciting? Sexy? Nuh uh. Comfort is key. You don't want your back going out before you make your first mortgage payment.
- And, finally, enjoy yourself! When was the last time you had a weekday evening that didn't revolve around school work, or at least, ignoring imminent school work? Guess what, when you work, you can go home and be done! Those hours from 5-10pm now hold a magical quality of possibility - I could take up spinning! Crocheting! Hindi! You probably won't, but listen to that temptation and use your new found free time well.
Best of luck, graduates! This is the first day of the rest of your life ....