My baby brother is graduating high school in a mere 18 days.
This is a tragic and incredibly emotional time for me for two reasons:
1. It means that my "baby" brother is now officially a grown up.
2. It cements my worry that I am, in fact, a hundred years old.
And there's nothing I can do about either.
So, in the spirit of feeling nostalgic and depressed about my age all at the same time, I'm going to share some wisdom with you, graduating seniors.
Because I am incredibly wise.
My Dearest Seniors,
At this point, you're all 18 [or close to it] and you have your whole life ahead of you.
[I never knew exactly how to respond when people told me that, since I had actually lived 18 years of my life already. "If we're getting technical here, I have most of my life left." Just smile, nod, and accept their card. It likely has money in it.]
Right about now, you're probably reminiscing about the wonderful times you've had up to this point, regardless of the fact that you bitched about it the entire time it was happening [don't feel bad; we all did]. I'm glad you're remembering the good times because I'm about to be the bearer of bad news: in a few short years, shit is going to hit. the. fan. No worries; you've got a while.
Next year, you're off to college. Temptations are going to come your way in the form of liquid courage, hot guys or gals [whatever floats your boat], and the ability to miss class without getting an unexcused absence.
You make the call on which you give in to, but if I were to recommend one that you should kindly pass on, I'd go with the skipping class. Turns out you need to attend to pass and therefore get a degree.
Plus, you're going to need that liquid courage to talk to the hot guy or gal.
The next four years of your life are crucial. As in, if you don't get a friggin' degree, you'll be homeless for the rest of your life.
At least, that's what society will tell you.
It's false, by the way.
You'll be fine, whatever path you choose. Just...do us all a favor and choose the right one for you. God knows we don't need another miserable bastard working behind the counter at Subway in this world.
It's easy to go into college thinking that you're completely sure about what you want to do with your life. There is an 85% chance this will change in the next year. Possibly sooner. And then, there's another 50% chance that you'll change your mind 3 more times after that. [These statistics are compliments of personal experience. Feel free to quote me.] And you know what? IT'S FINE. Change your damn mind now. Because if you don't, you'll be stuck in a career you hate for the remainder of your life. And you'll likely spend an exorbitant amount of money talking to a therapist about why, when you should've just listened to the wise Mallory when she told you to do so years ago.
And yeah, your parents might throw a fit. Or a chair. But they'll get over it.
Here's my advice for you in the coming months, and listen closely because this is important:
1. Enjoy the last few months at your parent's house.
You know that pantry that magically fills itself with delicious treats? Turns out, there's a little elf named "Mom" that stocks that pantry. And she uses money to do so. You will have neither of those things once you pack up that sporty two-door of yours and drive off into the sunset toward freedom. And that same little elf that does your laundry? She'll be kissing your ass goodbye because she will soon be down three loads a week, and that, to her, is bliss. You, on the other hand, will have to learn how to sort colors from whites and figure out how to turn that magical dial toward the least fun thing to do in the history of the world. Because you will not get any from that hot guy/gal with pink undershirts or jeans you've been wearing for 10 days straight.
2. Save up some cash.
Got a job this summer? Open up a savings account and put half of each paycheck in there. The other half can be used for stupid shit like gas and non-legal items you might buy that I don't want to know about. Don't have a job this summer? Grow up. You're going to need money for food and beer next year and asking your parents for cash after you leave the nest will make you feel like a desperate four-year-old. Trust me.
3. Sleep in late.
Odds are, if you're going to college next year you're either going to have early morning classes, or an annoying roommate that walks around like Godzilla getting ready for his early morning classes. Either way, enjoy sleeping in now - with peace and quiet. It won't be quiet for long..
4. Get rid of your crap.
Whatever your plans are for next year, you need to go through your junk and get rid of the kid stuff. I'm not telling you this to be cold; believe me, I'm somewhat of a hoarder. I'm telling you this because it's a way to move on. Those Scooby Doo underwear you've been wearing since 6th grade? Time to let 'em go. Throw them out along with your Ghost Buster's lunch box and Pokemon sheets. You don't have to forget about being a kid, but come on. Your roommate will throw you to the wolves if you show up to the dorms with that shit. Most importantly, you're just not going to have the room for it all. Minimalism is in, folks. And 10 moves from now, you'll be glad I suggested you downsize.
5. Hug the parentals.
It doesn't matter if you're a dude or a chick; your parents have made it a point to keep you alive for the last 18 years. They've fed you, clothed you, and sheltered you. And they've had your back, too. The jackass teacher who randomly decided to give you a second chance to write that paper? He didn't have a change of heart. Your mother changed his heart. And likely suggested she'd rip it out if he didn't. And lest we not forget the four times your father bailed you out of traffic tickets and fixed your car after. They have been through hell and back to make sure you didn't screw up your entire life thus far.
So give them a hug worthy of your favorite celebrity and please, for the love of God, don't eff up your college career.
Make mistakes, change your mind, party, have fun, gain that Freshman 15, but please...for their sake...just GET THROUGH.
If you're a senior now and you're reading this, just know that I envy you. The next few years of your life are going to be so badass, you don't even know. If you didn't listen to me before when I told you this, please do so now: enjoy it. Enjoy every single second. No crying about classes, no whining because you have to walk 4 miles from your parking spot to class, and absolutely no bitching about eating Ramen. That shit will keep you alive.
Love it all and embrace the poor life. It's the best life there is.
Here's your new motto:
"Money doesn't buy happiness. Ramen does."
[your fellow screw-up]