Six months before I graduated college I had a minor crisis in my life that arrived in the form of an email. It went something like this:
Our office is reviewing the records of students who have applied for May 2014 graduation. As of Monday, February 03, 2014 and with your current spring 2014 schedule, you appear to be missing the following requirement(s) for graduation:
You will not have the required 120 credits for graduation. You will have 119 of the required 120.
If you have any questions about this letter, please do not hesitate to go fuck yourself between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
Imagine getting an email that said “Due to technical problems, your lungs will no longer be operating in 3, 2, 1 okay you’re suffocating bye.” That’s basically what reading that email felt like. Not because I was about to drop dead or anything, but because FUCK if I don’t graduate my family will be SO PISSED at me for being a fucking moron who can’t add numbers up to equal 120. Looking back at it, I should’ve been like “Hmmm, this appears to be a sign that says I should stay and do an extra victory lap worth 1 credit.” But did I heed that bitch of a registrar’s warning?
Of course not.
“I’m going to graduate on time!”
“I’m smart! I don’t need no extra semesters!”
“Victory laps are for dumb people who fail!”
So here I am, having graduated this past May, and I can say without a single fucking doubt in my mind that not taking that victory lap was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever elected to do.
People will tell you that postgrad life “Isn’t so bad” and that “If you have a job it’s great!” Those people, to put it lightly, are stupid fucking liars who are trying to bury their own pathetic postgrad lives in a flurry of lies they’re hurling at you. By seeing your face light up with the notion that life isn’t actually over after college, they’re effectively convincing themselves the same thing even though every night they go home to an empty apartment or a shithead of a roommate.
There is no reason, not a single fucking reason that if you can, you shouldn’t take a victory lap.
Put yourself in the shoes of a college senior who’s about a month off from graduating. You don’t have a job offer. In fact, the only thing you know for certain is that if you don’t get a job, you’ll probably end up living with Ma & Pa down home on the ranch. Did you enjoy the last 4 years of doing whatever the fuck you wanted, whenever the fuck you wanted? I hope so, because that’s all about to go down the shitter if you move back home. Be honest with yourself; was there a single point in the last 4 years where you had anything farther off than a month or two planned out? Presumably you were too busy during your final college semester to sit down and answer the following:
- Where am I going to live?
- How do I money?
- What is job?
Wouldn’t it be nice to take a 1-credit victory lap so you could have time to answer these questions? But let’s pretend that you’re an idiot savant and already know those answers.
“I’m living in an apartment!”
“I dunno, it’s a random person I met on Craigslist. The rent was cheap, so I figured I could put up with it.”
Have fun getting murdered! Okay, so that’s probably an exaggeration (and by “probably” I mean there’s a 50/50 chance your parents will see your homicide on the 6 o’clock news). For example, the woman I’m living with is, for lack of a better term, a fat bitchmuffin. Would you like a roommate who rummages through your kitchen trash to see if you put anything recyclable in there instead of the recycle bin? Because I wouldn’t, and I don’t. We both know that right out of college you’re probably going to be poor and won’t be able to afford a mansion on the coast of California, so wouldn’t it be better to just put off graduating for a semester and thoroughly figure your living situation out so you don’t get stuck with Captain Planet on steroids?
Of course, if you’re an engineer (or anything that doesn’t fall into the liberal arts category) you don’t have the whole “I am poor give me money” problem. Wanna grab that California mansion? Go for it! I’m sure they’ve been trying to load that lemon off of the market for a while now, so more power to you. I’m sure that real estate agent is one happy camper. There’s just one problem…
You grew up in Maine, went to school in Maine, basically your whole life and all of your friends are in Maine. Yet, this “job” that you were in such a rush to get right after graduation is only available in Cali. Who do you know out in California?
Yeah, me and the other 313 million people in this country too. Who are your friends out there? Who are you going to go out with on the weekends? You don’t know anyone out there on that side of the country, won’t you be lonely? Bored? Afraid? I could keep throwing out adjectives, but I’m sure you get the point. Back at school you didn’t have to worry about petty shit like that because your friends were all around you. They lived with you, drank with you, ate with you, the whole 9 yards. But when you finally graduate and move somewhere far away because your parents are screaming at you to find a job so you don’t have to be “That Kid” on the block who moved back into their parents’ basement and never left, who do you have?
I’ll tell you what you have: you have the people in your office who are ~30, some of whom are married. Does hanging out with married people as a recent college graduate sound fun to you? Me neither. And the people who aren’t married are still nearly a decade older than you and won’t stop referring to you as “The Millennial.” If that’s not an advertisement for never moving away from school, then I don’t know what is.
And I know this sounds depressing as fuck, really, I do. I’m not saying you shouldn’t hop on a job offer that comes your way right after graduation, but being employed isn’t the end-all-be-all of life. I’m sure you still have friends who haven’t graduated. Would you rather take a victory lap and spend time fucking around with the friends who haven’t graduated and figure out what the fuck you’re going to do once you finally get that overpriced sheet of paper they call a diploma, or dip the fuck out of what was the best 4 years of your life just to realize you have NO IDEA what you’re doing?
Just take the victory lap. You’ll thank me later.
[Image via Shutterstock]