for those graduating college

Graduating college was one of the most stressful events of my life. I remember people saying things like, "Congratulations! You must be so happy to be done," and thinking, "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?" I loved college, and I was good at it. Now faced at the prospect of being a freshman at life, I looked out onto a vast and unknowable abyss, filled with anxiety and expected to have an answer to the question, "What now?"  Here's a list of all the things I wish someone had told me two years ago when I was freaking the fuck out:

  • People who ask you stressful questions are just trying to make conversation. What are you going to do now? Do you think you might go to grad school? Where are you going to live? Are you going to marry your boyfriend? I think every new grad gets this deluge of questions from just about everyone. Honestly, it's no one's business what your plans are--or whether or not you've even made any plans. But be patient and generous. People are just trying to be nice. They care about you, or they want to know more about you, or they're just trying to fill the silence. It's fine.

  • You don't have to know what you want to do, but you have to do something. When I was a new grad, I took a third (!!!!) unpaid internship, found a little freelance work as a copy editor, and directed a play in the Minnesota Fringe Festival. None of these things were perfect, but they helped me focus on what I actually wanted to be doing and lead to my first full time job post-grad.

  • Regret is just a side effect of learning. Everyone's all #noragrets in college, and, like, sure, maybe that's an OK sentiment. But if you're actually learning from your mistakes OF COURSE YOU'LL REGRET SOME THINGS YOU DID/DIDN'T DO. Maybe you're all torn up about the major you chose or the internship you turned down or the people you slept with/didn't sleep with. Whaaaaaatever, chill the fuck out, do a clay mask, it's fine.

  • You are the expert on your own life. People are judge-y as fuuuuuuuuck omg. Remember that you don't have to explain your choices or your logic to anyone. I mean, don't turn a deaf ear to the well-meaning advice of people who love you, but also take everything with a grain of salt. Only you know what's best for you.

So that's my advice. Congratulations, and remember: this time--how you feel, what you're doing--is, like all things, temporary. You'll be fine.