Faculty. Parents. Class of 2018. You made it! I speak to you today as a graduate of the Class of 2017, with no credentials other than that. Budgets were low this year, and I was happy to step up for the low speaker fee given the fact that one year and 62 cover letters later, and I’m still unemployed. Who knew that degrees don’t guarantee anything! Haha.
Graduating college is a really special moment. Your friends and family come together to celebrate you and all your accomplishments. Everyone says things like “you did it!” although no one ever clarifies which “it” they’re talking about. "It" could very well be graduating college, but "it" could also be sucking your parents dry of every last dime while acquiring no hard skills that might ever grant you financial independence. Whatever “it” is, I’m sure you did it.
Life is going to throw you a lot of fast ones. Curve balls. HPV scares. But the worst is behind you. Literally. Colonoscopies sneak up on you once you turn 30. But with every hardship there is a silver lining. Or a little blue pill that makes the hardships a little more digestible. (Unless your job doesn’t offer insurance. Then that silver lining doesn't come until you reach your out-of-pocket deductible).
But we all kind of chug along and somehow things fall into place. They just do. You blink your eyes and suddenly you have a job, two kids, and a mortgage payment you can’t pay, without ever having learned what a mortgage even is. Life's funny that way! Nobody, no matter what age, really knows what they’re doing, but somehow, things keep moving. I know it sounds like I’m saying we’re all faking it until we die. And I am. That’s exactly what I’m saying.
And even though the economy might seem uncertain at times, just know that every graduating class feels that way. Just remember this mantra: social influencers make more money than doctors.
There are many things you’ll be expected to leave behind, in the neat, tucked away chest that is your college experience. You’ll say goodbye to drunken Thursdays, having free time in the afternoon on Tuesdays, and day parties. But there is one thing you get to keep, and that is all the public Facebook albums you made over the last four years with titles like “Froshmen Year,” “I Love College” and “Seenyeezus ‘18.” With those you also get to keep pictures of yourself at a weight 15-30 pounds heavier (and drunker) than you remember yourself ever being. No need to erase them now. Remember, memories fade, but Facebook data (that’s easily accessible to future employers) lasts forever.
I’ve learned a lot since graduating. And to sum it up, I have three pieces of advice:
One, be proud of yourselves! Celebrate hard and drink heavy tonight. Tomorrow’s hangover may be a killer, but it’s nothing compared to the constant day to day headache of being part of the ever-moving machine. You know, the one that values capital over human life. Cheers.
Two, travel! After four years of papers and exams, you’ve earned the right to relax and see the vast beauty that is the rest of the world. Step outside your comfort zone, backpack east Asia, find endless luxury in absolutely reaping the benefits of a country that can’t feed its people but gives you great deals on hostels. You deserve that.
And finally, make sure you thank your parents today. If it wasn’t for their years of hard work, broken backs, tears, sweat, and labor, you wouldn’t have gotten all the amazing resources you did in college. The 24/7 availability of free, on-campus STI tests at the student health center sure was nice, Mom, and helped make my decision of having frequent, unprotected sex that much easier.
So congratulations Class of 2018, this is literally the best it’s gonna get. You’re peaking! And following every peak, there is a valley, and a climb, and a river I like to call caffeine-induced overactive bladder. I think I’m supposed to quote someone influential and important now. So here it goes. “Naps are awesome.” Kanye West, May 6, 2018, Twitter.