TheVine’s suggestions for the newly graduated
This summer, we've asked some of our favourite contributors to help us handle some of life's tough issues. The first in the series is a little "what to do" for those who've just concluded their education. Whether it's secondary or tertiary you've washed your hands of, take our wisdom to heart.
The attainment of one Bachelor’s degree is a special time and should be observed in an aptly special way. I’d like to recommend sobbing.
Really. Cry now. Get in early and well before months of soul-destroying job interviews conducted by tits who ask you pointless shit like “Tell me how life fascinates you?” drive you to (a) drink and (b) the realisation that you’re probably going to have to go back to cocking school and do some post-grad if you’re ever to work anywhere but a call-centre selling dodgy mortgages to the economically gullible.
The first thing everyone should do after graduating from university is immediately burn ANY and ALL university-related accessories they can find in their home. Gowns, hats, certificates, transcripts, old assignments, notes, paper, pens, computers. Burn them all! If you don’t burn them straight away you could start entertaining thoughts about becoming a professional academic. You might as well be dead.
Nadine Von Cohen
Stop wearing your Year 12 jersey. Stop it now. Nobody cares that your high school nickname was ‘Chugger’ and no self-respecting woman will have sex with you if she sees you wearing that around Surfers/Uni/Earth. High school may have been the greatest time of your young existence but it’s over now. Let it go, dude. Just let it go.
Go away. Go as far away as you can, somewhere where you cannot get 3G reception on your iPhone and none of the cafes have wireless. Have sex with at least one person you regret and two that you don’t, so you’ll have good stories for your memoirs that you write on the back of a postcard. Write lots of postcards. Spend a whole day trying to find a bagel, and the rest of the night trying to find your way home. Don’t talk to any tertiary institutions for at least 6-8 months. Spend far too much money on a really amazing jacket you will probably never wear. Call your parents from a payphone overlooking the Mediterranean. Let your brother change your Facebook password and make sure he doesn’t tell you what it is. Change your life story for every person you meet, decide which one you like best, then come home and live it.
Get a job. Like, a real one. You’ve essentially done nothing for the duration of your degree besides dodge deadlines, lie to tutors, rock up to your dead-end hospitality/ retail job hung-over and complain. Sure, the world is at your fingertips, but to gallivant around Europe/ South America/ remote Nepalese villages, you’re going to need cash. And haven’t you had enough of serving poached eggs and lattes to hipsters? It’s time to get your life together. You’re an adult with a certificate now.
Oh, you think you've finished? That you got enough capital D’s and more than enough P’s and you've made yourself a degree? Sorry honey, you're wrong. Oh sure, I know you’ve finished your course requirements, that your majors are completed and your robes are purchased. But I know you, paperwork averse early twenty something. You may have done a thing, but did you dot the t’s and cross the eyes on it, like you did when you accidentally voted for the Hunting and Fishing party last election? Did you pay out the Gringots goldstash of library fines that you owe? Because completing those units, sitting those exams, and finishing those essays so late into the night... They are not the true test at University. What graduating actually means is that you were able to navigate your way through the perilous manila towers of University Bureaucracy and make it out the other side, uncrushed, holding your A4 piece of paper triumphant. The years of classes were the battle, but the war is only just beginning.
Nothing. By which I mean everything.
Finish uni. Get your degree. And then do nothing with it. Just for a year, perhaps, but I have realised over the years that Australia has a weird and counter-productive obsession with vocation. The idea that you should go straight from school to university to the workplace and never have a time to yourself, a time to work out what it is that you actually want and who you are when outside of an educational institution, could explain why so many people end up in careers they hate but still feel trapped within. Making change is a lot easier to do at the age of 21 than it is at 40.
So, what should you do with the year? Whatever you want, as long as it goes against type and takes you out of your comfort zone. Travel the world. Be single. Be a deadbeat. Work a shitty job and use the money to party like a maniac. Volunteer at the local puppy shelter. But most of all just spend the time taking singular, total control of the question of your own happiness. It can be terrifying at times, but you'll be amazed at what you discover.