Congrats to WAOD reader RhondaCoca, she graduates from Columbia on Wednesday. Though my colloquialisms and frequent typos bely the fact, I am a college graduate. So here are my observations/ advice regarding the transition you are about to experience.
- Time passes faster. Now that you are not in school, there is no road map. NO schedules. That's good and that's bad. If you have kids, or plants or a calendar-driven job, you will notice the passage of time, but don't be surprised if you look up in January and suddenly realize its October, time seems to pass faster.
- Keeping up with your friends will take more effort, but it is OH SO WORTH IT! Don't let the rat race make you lose contact. Don't take for granted that you won'tlose contact. A week turns into a month, months turns into years and the next thing you know you are getting an invite to their kid's college graduation. I mean who else is going to remember the time y'all piled five people into a Geo Metro to go on Spring Break? Or the time your home girl involved you some covert operations to check up on some guy who wasn't worth it in the first place, but you kept that to yourself because she was too far gone to reason with.
- Don't live within your means, LIVE WELL BELOW YOUR MEANS. Let me introduce you to a man named Dave Ramsey. If you have an I-pod just go ahead and subscribe to his podcast. Friday's are the best. No matter how much you make or how large those student loans are, set aside something every paycheck for a rainy day. You might not be able to make 10%, start with 5%. If you can't seem to find the money, donate your plasma or recycle aluminum cans. That Ramen noodles foolishness is for the younguns with all of that sodium. Which takes us to your health...
- Health insurance- Get it, keep it, use it. You will soon learn that STD is something else other than a disease. While you are at it look into LTD. You are not invincible, your body will get older. Remember those all nighters where you could stay up all night studying drinking Mountain Dew cramming for exams and then bounce back the next day...Your body will soon exercise veto power over your choices and in the event of a dispute, your body will win out. Never EVER force your body to get your attention, you will regret it! Know when to quit .... which takes us to the the word "NO."
- Learn when to say "NO!"- No, N-O, Heck NO, Not in a million years NO, Under no circumstances NO. N to the iz-O, Nah, UH uh, Sorry but NO. When asked to explain your "No." Silence is an appropriate answer along with smiling with your mouth and not your eyes. You don't owe folks an explanation for the NO. Practice with us Nuh OH- NO! School no longer provides structure and boundaries, you have to establish those for yourself.
- Live the life you were destined to live, not the one you planned or trained for. There may come a time in your life where the Universe will tug you in a direction other than where your training and education would logically lead. Don't be a slave to the college major you chose when you were 18 or 21. Don't be shackled by the expectations of others or yourself. If you find yourself frustrated and hitting a wall. Break the rules. No, don't go get arrested or something crazy like that, but reevaluate all the things you say you MUST do, the things you said you WOULD NOT EVER DO, and the things you thought you COULDN'T DO. You only get one life, this is not a dress rehearsal. Everyday you spend trying to live the life you think someone else thought you should lead as opposed to the one you were destined to lead is lost and gone forever. See #1- Time passes fast.
- Get a bicycle!- These gas prices are no joke!