Graduation Season: What I thought I knew in college.

Graduation season is among us!

It's hard to believe that I've technically graduated three times. Four, if you count eighth grade graduation. And I obviously do.

I recently took a new job. I've had the pleasure of being surrounded by folks younger than me. It's one of the first times this has ever happened to me. I graduated college early, so in my first and second job, I was younger than our interns. I'm used to being young.

Fast forward to this new job...I'm no spring chicken you guys. 

As we were chatting yesterday, we were reminiscing on the college days at Kent State. Mine, a bit farther than others and riddled with stories of The Robin Hood which was actually not even present when a lot of my coworkers attended Kent. SUCH a loss. Truly.

I digress. Coming together for this conversation, coupled with a recent bachelorette bash and impending weddings, showers, babies...I went back in my mind to the day I graduated. I went back to everything I thought I knew, what I actually knew, and the things I might never know.

They are listed below.

1. "I'm going to make $100,000 within 5 years." OK. You might laugh at this one, but it's actually possible in certain careers. However, when I chose advertising I should have known better. Ad students, you still have time to become a lawyer. That's my PSA.

2. "I should probably get married shortly." To which now I think, 'why?' What was the rush, really?

3. "I'll probably always stay on the agency-side of advertising." I credit ad agencies to some of the most fun, most exciting and most career-driving years of my life. But at some point I realized there's value to a life outside of the bio-dome that is ad agencies. It's not the same, but it's pretty great none-the-less.

4. "I'll get ahold of my budgeting." This, this. This. I am still working on. Seven years later, I've got to get my life in order. I opened a second Roth for the kids I hope to someday have, and actually direct deposit into savings. Holy shit, I'm a grown up.

5. "Why do I have to call and make all my own appointments now?" Gone are the days of my mom telling me when I need to go to the doctor, reminding me to fill prescriptions and helping me understand insurance. I mean, who knew that sometimes, you actually got paper bills in the mail that you had to pay, not just throw out as junk? And why is it so hard to keep track of your health insurance card? 7 years later, I think I've got it down. And those papers bills? You should probably file them. Filing cabinets? That's some serious #adulting.

6. "I'm so fat." Always. What girl hasn't thought this about herself? If there's anything I've learned since college, it's to have a little self-love. Actually, a lot of it. But, also to embrace the changes you want to make—don't feel like you can't make them. We know I have Botox, and do fillers in my lips now and again (holy expensive!) I'm not ashamed. Do things that make you feel better with the caveat that looks don't, and will never, define you. And ignore every single person that says, "Don't do that! You don't need it! You're beautiful." It's not for them anyway, right? Say thank you, and promptly call Dr. 90210.

7. "The past doesn't affect me." This is one of my very favorites. Who was I kidding? The past affects every single one of us. We can suppress the things that have happened to us, that we've done, experiences good and bad and sum them all up to "the past" and living in "the future" but it's just not the case. Take some time to get to know yourself. Therapy is one of the most valuable things I've found in my adult years (and please, I consider adult over 25.) Why you act the way you do, why you're different, why some things add up for you and others don't. Just why? There might be more reason than you think.

8. "I'm not hungover at all." HA! You will notice a huge shift from drinking till the wee hours of the morning, getting up, working out, and doing it all over again. And develop a preference for day drinking, or "drinking your dinner" because trust and believe, your metabolism has slowed down and sometimes ya just can't do both at night. Day drinking allows for bed at a great time, no hangover the next day and is all around the way to do it. 

9. "I have a five year plan." See: all of the above. Fuck a five year plan. I had no plan. I had an idea in my head that was not real life. If I'm planning today, I'm planning for a year. That's all I got. Who the hell knows what's to come in FIVE?

10. "Life is just beginning." Truth. But I still think this just about every single day. What I've learned now that I didn't know then, is that I would probably go back and enjoy the time I was in college more. Do more "college-like" things, not graduate early, embrace those sorority relationships.

Because if I really think about it, life isn't just beginning at graduation. It's ending every single day. Not to be super depressing but, we are all aging. We are all losing time, not gaining it. And it's not an unlimited resource. Time is not infinite. Life began long ago. It's always high-time to embrace it. Not thanks to a moment like a graduation, birthdays and deaths. The big moments remind us of this fact, but the little ones should as well. I'd say I went from "life is just beginning" to, "this IS life." 

What did you think you knew in college?