My dad recently reminded me, as I sat on his couch in my pajamas at two in the afternoon on a Wednesday, eating ice cream straight from the tub, watching reruns of Boy Meets World, that he and my mother paid more than 40k for my education at Michigan State. And since coming home, I have only a check for $68.37 to show for it.
[quote]Needless to say this isn’t exactly how I pictured life as a post-grad. I thought companies would be begging to hire me, requiring some sort of long stick or prodding mechanism to keep them away. I’d be settled in my own place, a Labrador retriever puppy leaping on to my lap after I returned from a fulfilling day at the office (where I set my own hours, of course) doing whatever it is alumni do.
I have no puppy. No large stick. And no one to poke. Granted I also have no rent check, no electric bill and no social security deduction, but that whole loss of dignity really isn’t worth the home cooked dinners. At this time last year, I was watching Boy Meets World when I should have been in class. Now I’m watching bad television because I have nowhere else to be.
It isn’t for lack of trying to escape my hometown. I’ve written so many cover letters, I’m actually starting to believe I am goal-oriented, self-motivated, experienced and pay great attention to detail.
Perhaps I skipped the classes that covered how to actually survive life after college. While I am aptly prepared to discuss in detail the policy making process of Uzbekistan in five parts, there are more important lessons I think need to be included in any undergraduate education.
Where to get food at 3 a.m. in a non-college town Once you have that diploma, Domino’s no longer cares about your late night food cravings.
Techniques to keep a middle school class in line when you inevitably can’t find a job and resort to substitute teaching for income Hence the $68.37 to my name. You try doing it for more than a day.
How long you should drive when your check engine light comes on I’m going on three months.
The best brands of detergent to wash the smell of failure off your clothes If you say Cheer, I’m going to kick you in the nuts.
How to avoid eye contact with old high school friends that you hoped to never see again That’s really all of them.
Where to find wedding presents in bulk, because everybody but you is getting married But still maintain that personal, ‘good luck with forever’ touch.
Where to meet available, attractive people If I show up at Rick’s now, I just feel dirty. Well, dirtier.
How to wake up before noon. I’d fail this course.
Once you do find permanent employment, how to get the best trade-off for your soul That 401k just isn’t enough.
How to live vicariously through undergraduate friends without appearing to be one of those graduates who’s living in the past A prerequisite to: How to Not Live in the Past.
A witty answer to the question that’s incessantly asked by every relative, neighbor and random person you meet on the street: ‘So, what now?’ Well, I thought I’d watch another makeover show on TLC, open a bag of my parents’ potato chips, and then stab you in the throat with this diploma that’s apparently good for nothing else.
Tips to making your parents understand a lot has changed since the last time you lived with them. Yes, Mom, I am going out in this. And I might not be coming home tonight.
Ways to tell your successful friends to shut up when they complain about their new jobs. Awww, need some help carrying all those bags of money?
How to respond to an interviewer when asked, “What do you think is your biggest weakness?” For the record, “My inability to work well in a team-oriented, goal-driven workplace” is not the right answer.
How to accept that the best years of your life are over. And they’re never coming back.
And finally,
How to get off your parents’ couch, accept the fact that you’re all grown up, and get on with the rest of your life.
On second thought, maybe that’s a graduate-level course.

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