I realized something this summer: I’m old. I lived in Ithaca this summer, which I’ve never done before. You know who else lives in Ithaca over the summer? Summer college kids. Try listening to a 16 year old talk sometime. I mean, damn. I feel ready for AARP membership. Thursday is my 21st birthday, the last birthday worth looking forward to. It’s all downhill from here. I am going to graduate in May (well, probably. Keep those fingers crossed, mom). Because I am so old and wizened (I am wrinkly as a motherfucker), I feel it is my duty to offer the following pieces of sage advice, a list I have tentatively titled: things to avoid if you don’t want to be punched in the face (by me).Please do not ask me what I am doing next year. Yes, it seems fairly innocuous. Polite, even. Certainly logical, at the very least. Well, logic can kiss my ass. I, it may surprise you to learn, do not have my shit together. Here are my plans for 2011: graduate. Beyond that, I got nothing. Zip, zero, zilch. I am an English major, fer chrissakes. You’d think I’d be more prepared for this. I’ve been getting some form of “English, hm? Interesting. What are you going to do with that?” since freshman year. I still have no fucking idea. When old people ask you this question, they always add, “Are you going to teach?” Young people usually add, “So, law school then?” I usually shrug and noncommittally smile, all the while slowly dying inside. So unless you are, like, John Stewart or Tina Fey, offering me a job and an apartment in New York City next year, please do not ask me about my future plans. I am just as anxious to know as you are, believe you me. Continuing in that same vein — if you are my peer, right, and you are a responsible adult, unlike some people (okay, me), and you have plans or goals or whatever: Please don’t tell me about them. You improved your LSAT score? How nice for you, now shut the fuck up. Oh, they offered you a position after you graduate? Congratulations, I am going to kick you in the shins. I can hear you now: “Elana, you’re just jealous.” Yes. Yes I am. I am so, so jealous. No, seriously. The other day I was like, “Man, I wish I were an engineer. They have a set career path, right?” An engineer. Me. When will the madness end? I do have some plans. For instance, I’ve been trying to cash in on that whole “tumblr to book deal” phenomenon. Gotta find me a shtick to exploit. “Hipster Cats with iPhones and Misspelled Tattoos making Ugly Arts and Crafts.” Catchy, no? Maybe I could be a YouTube celebrity. I have no talent, but I also have very little shame. So I got that going for me. Maybe some rich relative, heretofore unknown to me, will die and leave me a lot of money. I mean, hey. Gotta be prepared for every possible circumstance, right? Okay, so probably I am just going to apply for a ton of different social justice type AmeriCorps positions. Which constitutes a plan, sort of. I have made a list of cities that I would like to live in. That’s something. I looked at the Cornell Career Services website, once. I finally took babysitting off my resume. Baby (lol) steps, and all of that. I know that some day, in the far-off future, I might want to get some sort of postgraduate degree. Maybe I’ll join the Peace Corps, or teach English in Asia. Or maybe I’ll become wildly famous. You never know.In case you were wondering, here is the rest of my “avoid getting punched” list: “Please stop walking so goddamn slowly, seriously, what are you, a fucking sloth? No, because then you would be much cuter.” Also, roommate edition: “Please don’t leave a puddle of water on the bathroom floor after you take a shower, it’s called common courtesy, were you raised by wolves?” You know, the usual.But seriously, Jon and Tina, call me.Elana Dahlager is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at email@example.com. Nutshell Library appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.
Original Author: Elana Dahlager