I know I’m a little late with this, but it has come to my attention that it’s commencement season. For the past week or so, I’ve signed into my social media accounts only to be bombarded by money leis, customized mortarboards, and graduation shots. Each time I come across one of these, fond memories of my time at SF State flood my mind. I still remember the first three people I met in speech class (shout out to Janelle, Hasan, and Jigar!), and the last person I hugged after I left campus with tears in my eyes (Tito-Dan, you are STILL the man!).
I just finished reading Oprah Winfrey’s Harvard commencement speech … and now feel 10 times worse about myself. I’m kidding, but if asked to be a keynote speaker for someone’s graduation today, I definitely feel like I would have nothing impressive to say. That doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to say. The following are six of my biggest college/post-college fuck ups. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes.
1. STEP AWAY FROM THE CREDIT CARD SOLICITORS. I don’t care how cute the free t-shirt they’re giving away with the application is. DON’T DO IT. This is seriously my number one tip for college students and graduates alike. I know a $300 shopping spree on Telegraph ave. sounds like a great idea, but I promise that being in debt is never fashionable. And if you MUST charge three of your friends flights to South Beach on your credit card, pay that shit off right away instead of spending the money on pina coladas while on vacation.
2. Only use what you need from Financial Aide. If you’re like me and had zero financial assistance from your parents during college, then this is for you. Without financial aide, safe to say I would’ve never went to college. However, the mistake I made was accepting the entire amount rather than just what was needed for tuition and books. You would think I would’ve used that extra money to pay off my credit cards, but noooooo. Knowing me at 21, I probably went to Haight St. and bought there what I couldn’t find on Telegraph. It all seems innocent then, until you owe your $36,000 worth of school loans when tuition was only $15,000.
3. Get a job! Even if you are one of those lucky fucks blessed with the luxury of mooching off your parents, get one anyway! Not only will it prepare you for the “real” world, but it will also give you bragging rights and excludes you from the “Get a job/You spoiled ass ___ /You don’t do shit” card. Plus, you’ll get to meet even more people, and expand your networking circle.
4. Experience campus life. If I could take it all back, I would definitely attend a college outside of the Bay Area. Preferably, out of state. I feel like I never got the full college experience, because I was able to drive back home during lunch and my entire life was all within two miles of each other. It was always fascinating to meet people from other parts of the country, and hear stories about where they were from.
5. Socialize. Obviously, this is still something I need to work on now. If you can conquer this fear of yours early on, the better and faster chances at succeeding in life. Once you graduate college, some of you will feel the need to relax and take a break for a bit. However, a good amount of you will use it as opportune time to START LIFE. The rumors are true, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. But sometimes even that isn’t enough. You’ll need to be heard, and be personable in order to meet people.
6. INTERN. You don’t realize just how important interning is, until you want to apply for the ideal job and realize it’s only open for interns. Interning was almost impossible for me in college, because I worked and went to school full-time. Naturally, any free time I had left I wanted to spend taking Kamikaze shots at house parties or spending quality time with my boyfriend. However, I would’ve definitely tried to make it work out somehow. Even if it meant cutting back some hours of money making, because I would’ve made the money back and then some with all the connections and opportunities I would’ve made interning.
More than likely you won’t listen to me, which is perfectly fine. How you bounce back from “failure,” is just as important, if not even more important than your success. If I knew back then what I know now, I would not be the person I am today. And I kinda like me. So 7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s the best way to learn. It took me nearly a decade after graduating to finally figure out what I wanted to do in life, but guess what? I’ve never felt so sure of it before.
Last but not least, happy graduation to my chinita Kristina! If you thought college was hard, you ain’t seen nothing yet lol. Love you boo, congratulations!