April 27, 2009

Senioritis: Is the Thought of the Future Making You Ill?

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I have had a particularly difficult time writing this, my final article. I wish that I could say that the difficulty is derived from the pressure of capping off two years of fine work, but the truth is that I happen to be brain dead after a night of drinking. I suppose that is not a valid excuse; after all, Hemingway was always drunk and what he managed to produce was halfway decent. As I reflect on the debauchery that was last night and whether this headache was truly worth it, I cannot help but contemplate life after graduation and how different it may be.
Looking back on my four years at Cornell, it is accurate to say that time flies. I, like many of my peers, am now dealing with a barrage of emotions on the eve of our graduation. On one hand, we want to get the hell out of Ithaca and experience life anywhere besides upstate New York. On the other, we fear leaving all that has become familiar: friends, homes, landscapes, Happy Dave. The greatest trepidation, though, seems to be the thought of growing up, becoming a bona fide adult. R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” could be appropriate choice for the soundtrack of our last few weeks.
However, brethren, we need not fear. Upon receiving diplomas, we do not immediately become our parents. It takes years to become that jaded and boring. Life after graduation is about adapting in order to gradually evolve into a real person. I have been assured that it’s not completely terrible. Through speaking with several recent graduates, I garnered the following post-graduation advice.
Eating: You may have to learn how to cook. Most likely, you will no longer be living in a microcosm with 100 locations at which to eat within walking distance that also will deliver when you are too high to move at 4 a.m. Subsisting on a diet of take-out, Lunchables and Hungry Jack microwavable dinners is great until your heart decides to quit. God gives a four (maybe five) year grace period called “college” to destroy your body and then it is all over. And when you start cooking for yourself, you should prepare healthy recipes, not Paula Deen recipes — butter should never be the main ingredient.
Drinking: You will still be able to go out and get plastered with your friends (praise Jesus), return home and pass out. You just can no longer get schwasted, go home to a complete stranger’s house and pass out in his or her bathroom completely naked. Sobriety-altering activities also may have to be limited to weekends; puking at work is awkward and frowned upon. Well, most of you do not have jobs, so that is a nonissue — just don’t leave the mess for Mom.
Cleaning: Living habits will have to be altered. Having your room resemble a Jersey landfill will raise eyebrows post graduation. No longer can you use the currently acceptable excuses that you “have been tirelessly finishing your thesis for the past month” or that you are “just a gross college student.” What type of flooring your bedroom has should never be a mystery for guests.
Sexing: In the real world it may become more difficult to find mates who will not have a problem that over the course of four years you’ve slept with all of his / her good friends. Getting ass will no longer be as easy as an AEM test. Life outside of Greek life sure can be a challenge, but you needn’t turn to Craigslist and blindfolds. Slowly learn the art of dating. You know, when you and just one other person go somewhere for a decided upon activity, and you enjoy each other’s company with your clothes on (seems boring, I know, but apparently people get used to it).
Learning: You don’t need to learn any more. Reading outside of e-mail and perezhilton.com is optional for the next few years.
All in all — everyone grows up. You cannot prevent it, unless you kill yourself, which I do not recommend. And now, thanks to me, you have some invaluable foresight to guide you through your transition. Being anxious about the future will not help you cope with it, and now is not the time for frowns. The way I see it, we seniors have four weeks to enjoy our prolonged adolescence before graduating into adulthood, and we might as well not remember half of them. So go have a drink to ease your hangover and update your personal soundtrack to a more appropriate T.I’s “Live Your Life.” You won’t regret it.