You've graduated. Congratulations!
Now — welcome to the jungle. We've got fun and games. Life's not exactly like Axl Rose's "Welcome to the Jungle", but sometimes it kind of is. Sometimes it will make you bleed, sometimes it will bring you to your knees and sometimes you learn to live like an animal. Sometimes you're forced to feel Axl's serpentine.
Yeesh, that sounded mighty jaded, but I'm turning 29 this year so I've developed that obnoxious, "I know everything about your 20s!"-mentality now. The sort of mentality I like to spew upon younger people whether they like it or not.
Like right now. Here are a few things I've learned that might help you, too:
It's OK if you don't like your career: There is a good chance that you'll discover the career you went to school for, you end up despising more than all of MTV's programming once you try it in the real world. It's OK if you want to switch careers; it's not a sign of failure. In fact, most twenty-somethings will change jobs seven times before they reach the age of 30. Even if your grandmother is all like, "Why do you change so many jobs?!" you can say, "Because it's no longer the 1950s!"
It's OK if you want to switch careers; it's not a sign of failure. In fact, most twenty-somethings will change jobs seven times before they reach the age of 30.
Any job is better than no job: Some of you may argue this, but I come from the mindset that any job is better than no job. In this economy it's tough to find employment, especially in specific fields. It's time to stop mooching off Ma and Pa and get workin'. Even if it's working at Starbucks, some work experience is better than no work experience. Plus, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you're taking care of yourself and meeting others.
Don't date douchebags / douchbaguettes: But you're going to, because it's fun and exciting OR even if you don't want to, you'll find yourself subconsciously drawn to the douchebags / douchbaguettes before you even know they're douches. Do yourself a favor and try to nip this behavior in the bud while you're still young — it will save you a lot of lost time and heartache. It will also prevent you from looking back on your early twenties and cringing to the point of pulling a neck muscle.
Don't be a flake: It's easy, in your early twenties, to be a crappy friend. Sometimes it's hard to be there for others when you're trying to figure your own shit out. No matter how introverted, confused or frustrated you may feel about yourself, try to be a good friend. Friends are the ones there for you once you leave the house and are out on your own. Sometimes you won't be sure who you're real friends are, but over time, it will become apparent (i.e. the one that drunkily defriends and friends you on Facebook every other day depending on how they feel about life is probably not a real friend).
Listen to your folks: They're not as full of shit as you think they are. In fact, they typically have your best interests at heart. You know, they kind of gave birth to you and know you as well as you do. It's easy to think they're out of touch, but they went through the same early twenty-something cray-cray years just like you.
No matter how introverted, confused or frustrated you may feel about yourself, try to be a good friend.
Try everything once: But be smart about it. If it could potentially hurt you or someone else, don't do it. You only live once and at some point you might settle down, so live up your 20s (responsibly) while you still can. This is in order to prevent you at 45 from creepily staring at 20-year-olds on The Drag and whispering, "I was you once" over and over.
Nightlight photos of you drunk as a goat at Barbarella while flashing side boob/flipping off the camera with an apathetic look on your face is only endearing to you and you alone: Believe me, you don't think potential employers or connections look at those photos?
Dress classy: I know it's Austin and I know you can get away with dressing like a hobo with a 75k job, but dress sharp. It will make you stand apart from the rest.
Pay your debts: You might accumulate some debt through your twenties. Pretending like they don't exist is not the best way to handle it. You may think that in seven years that mark on your credit will disappear, but creditors are hungry nowadays and will threaten lawsuits or harass the living crap out of you. Paying your debts, even if it's just $25 a month, will save you a lot of potential stress and worry.