Travis Helwig: In the Real World: Important Graduation Advice from a Sophomore

Woo-ee! The past four years flew by quickly, didn’t they Class of 2007? It feels like only last year we were drinking Bacardi 151 and cheating on our high school sweethearts in Thurston Hall. We were so naive then. So innocent. Who could have guessed that we would be where we are right now in our lives? Maybe God could have. Or perhaps a really sociologically perceptive mentor. But I digress.

Okay embarrassing confession fellow graduates: I was born in 1987. I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m actually a rising junior. Still, I completely understand what you guys are going through. I know what it’s like because I’ll be there in only two short years.

Seniors have been through so much together. Surviving Hurricane Katrina and even the closing of LuLus. I felt like you would hold what I’m about to say in a higher regard if you thought I was one of you. This advice could be life changing and I don’t want you to judge me prematurely because of my age or sexual orientation. I’m sure that applies somehow. Shall I begin?

First, please keep in mind that the best years of your life are over. I have done extensive research in the fields of postmodern short stories and episodes of Cold Case Files. Let me tell you the future holds alcoholism, self-loathing, suburban murder and a 40-year long court battle. Be prepared for that.

Next, if you have not achieved your dream after one year in the real world, give up. There’s no sense in spending your whole life chasing something that everyone else around you knows is unobtainable. Your father’s business is good enough for you. You think that you are better than him, city slicker? You make me sick.

Also, for your own sake, gradually lose any political edge you might have. Adults don’t like other adults who hold any sort of substantial opinion on anything. Go centrist and never look back. What is your opinion on abortion? Well, it’s complicated and there are many different factors to influence that. Do you think inner-city schools should be improved before suburban ones? Who can say that one child is more important than the other? See how easy it is. You run with it from there.

Make sure that starting in August of this year you begin sighing and looking back nostalgically on college. Do this twice daily for at least thirty years.

While you’re at it, join a weekly poker game with your co-workers. If one doesn’t exist, start one. Every adult has a weekly poker game and why should you be any different? Not to mention, this is the easiest way to eventually sleep with someone’s wife while building a gambling addiction.

But to get back on track: keep smiling. Life is fun and exciting even outside of the university gates. A good smile could help you live longer and even perk up someone else’s day.

After that, never forgive yourself for how much you actually cared about the Student Association student elections. There will always be things that you look back on and hate yourself for. This should absolutely be one of them. You wore a slate T-shirt? You let them use your SUV to blast REO Speedwagon? Shame on you! Shame!

Please, don’t worry about money or finding a job. Neither is really that important in the grand scheme of things, so don’t get bogged down. Go wild. You only live once.

There you have it seniors. I have been thinking of these gems for years and would love positive feedback and any donations sent directly to my P.O. Box. While this has already been long-winded and enlightening enough, I do have one final piece of advice and it is something you need to remember for the rest of your life. If I could leave the Class of 2007 with just one thing, I would want it to be this:

Wear sunscreen (and to be safe make sure it’s like SPF30).

-The writer is a sophomore majoring in sociology and theater.

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