Op-Ed: Welcome to the real world

The world is ending. You’re graduating. Or maybe you’re not a senior and you’re just reading The Hatchet Commencement issue because you’re some kind of weirdo. It’s not my place to judge.

But I, your correspondent from the great post-graduate beyond, am here to tell you that while your old world is ending, a new one is just beginning.

This new world sucks. But there are also many things about it that don’t.

You’ve probably thought about the things that suck. Your friends, instead of living in the same six-block radius, are now moving to completely different neighborhoods of the District. You’ll become very familiar with Columbia Heights.

Some of your friends will even move outside the greater D.C. area, to other states or even countries. It is best to pretend that these friends are dead. Hold a mock funeral for them. Do not invite them to the mock funeral. If you are one of the people leaving D.C., I’ll miss you. Can I have your TV?

It sucks going to work every day — or going to grad school, which I’ve heard is strenuous. I refuse to test this premise. When I was an undergrad and I had a paper to write, I would stay up until 5 a.m. writing, go drop the paper in my professor’s box, eat a bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwich from GW Deli and sleep all day.

Now, when I have lots of work to do, I just do it all, and then I come back the next day and do more work. The bacon-egg-and-cheeses are still around, but they aren’t from GW Deli, so that sucks too.

When you’re an undergraduate and you don’t feel like going to class, you can just not go. And most of the time, that isn’t a big deal. But as a real adult person in the real adult world, it’s a pretty big deal if you don’t show up to stuff. People out here kind of just assume that you’re going to show up every time you’re supposed to. It’s weird.

But it doesn’t all suck.

You don’t write 10-page papers anymore. I mean, I happen to write a lot for my job, but I don’t have to hand it to some snotty teaching assistant to grade. That’s a nice change.

You don’t have to see “that person” anymore. You know who I’m talking about – the annoying one who you can’t stand seeing walk across University Yard. You never even have to think about them again. Out here in post-grad land, you can mostly ignore people you don’t like. They don’t show up in your classes.

Did you know that there are people who don’t go to GW? They’re everywhere. That’s cool, meeting people who aren’t GW people. You can talk to them, drink with them, eat with them, date them, do anything! And they have no idea what HelWel is, who Manouch is or where the hell the Vern is. They’re completely oblivious. It’s unbelievable.

Above all, the real world is new. Undefined. You never know if you’re doing what you should be doing. You’ve spent the last four years in a kind of repetitive cycle. Register for classes. Go to classes. Do work. Intern. Midterms. Finals. Repeat. That’s over. The cycle being over sucks. It also doesn’t suck.

There are no general education requirements out there to fulfill. It’s terrifying, but more fun than you can possibly imagine. Most importantly, it’s not like you have a choice. You have to graduate eventually, and now that day has come.

Welcome to post-grad life. First beer’s on me.

Logan Dobson, a 2011 graduate of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, is a former Hatchet columnist.

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