High school: the incessant acne, not having a clue how to talk to girls, chronic masturbation as a result of not knowing how to talk to girls, and of course the pressure of choosing which colleges to apply to. All but one of these was a major problem I struggled with in high school. Unfortunately it wasn’t the not having an idea how to talk to girls one.
Choosing colleges never stressed me out, partly because my mom did enough stressing for me and every kid whoever went to high school, but also because I truly enjoyed researching all the different colleges. It was fun toget onto Princeton Review and jump from college to college, check out all the different rankings, strengths and weaknesses of each school. I’d let my imagination run wild and picture my life on all the different campuses. What would I do? Who Would I be?
Perhaps I’d go to Chapman, become an espresso drinking Philosophy major. Perform beat poetry at local cafes where I would meet a girl named Charlotte. We would complain about all that ails this corrupt world while slowly falling in love. After graduation we’d enter the Peace Corp together, until the reality of going into war zone Africa set in and we broke up, leading to me returning home and working for a bank.
Or maybe Georgetown, where I would major in Political Science, work my way up to editor of the campus newspaper, and befriend all the children of politicians and use nepotism to get an internship with a Congressman over the summer. Eventually I’d fulfill my destiny of becoming a back room dealing leading member of the GOP.
I imagined going to Arizona State, joining a fraternity, partying, and giving into total debauchery. Before eventually dropping out of school to start my own independent porn production company and building myself into a modern day Larry Flynt. I really missed my true calling with this one.
My future lay before me and it felt great to have so many options. The other day I realized that my post-college 20s makes me feel the same way I did back when I was researching colleges. The only differences are instead of the next four years, it is the rest of my life and this time time I have the freedom and power to make all the decisions.
As great as college was, it is an amazing time forged by wonderful friendships; I don’t want it to be the “greatest four years of my life.” I hope those four years always remain ahead of me. And looking back the importance of where you go to college and how well you do there is greatly exaggerated.
It is by no means without its benefits, but life is a constant education and since being out of college I realized what a bubble it was at times. I’ve learned more in the two and half years since I graduated than I did in college. In addition, now I feel like I’m actually moving forward and trying to accomplish things that matter to me. Although figuring out all the shortcuts in Mario Kart and making the last cup in beer pong were both near and dear to my heart.
The future is scary, but I take comfort in knowing that I have this time in my post college 20s to figure it out. And just like choosing and getting into the right college, there are many ways of going about it. Nothing was more annoying than kids who got into college early decision.
They would always emphasize how they’re only applying to “one” college as if they went up Mount Sinai with Moses and handed the perfect college. I wasn’t sure of anything I wanted in high school. If I didn’t have a school uniform and my meals weren’t cooked for me I would probably still be wandering around naked, debating whether to go to Portillo’s or Chipotle for dinner.
These confident ciphers used to fill me with jealous rage to the point that I fantasized about punching them in the face.* Now, I admire them for knowing exactly what they want and having the drive to achieve it. I’ve realized how rare of a gift this is in my post-college 20s. There are not too many people who start the career they want and find the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with, right out of college. Most of us spent this time searching, for what we want to do, who we want in our lives, and most importantly, who we are.*Had I actually done so, it would’ve hurt me far worse than them.
Post-college 20s allows us to be bolder because if we change our mind it is a lot easier to transfer. There is a big difference between looking at a college from the outside compared to it being your daily existence. Sometimes regret sets in as our dream college turns into a nightmare that we look to escape. The issue with transferring colleges is starting over and mingling with people who already know each other. Ideally it needs to happen right after freshman year, sophomore at the latest, since college is limited in time.
Post-college life is much more open-ended, which allows us to take risks and have time to make changes if we fail epically. We can take a job and if the thought of spending the rest of our working life there makes us prefer to drink arsenic, then we can quit and find another job. Real life costs add up and it is easy to take a safe job that helps us pay the rent and deal with the massive mountain of college debt that piles up.
However, unless you were unable to avoid the epidemic known as teen pregnancy, costs are just going to keep piling up and it is a lot harder to take chances when we have mouths to feed.* As difficult as things may be right now, it is not harder than the pain of living with regret the rest of your life.*Just ask Shawn Kemp.
Date, get out there and date as much as possible. There is no other way of figuring out what kind of person you’re interested in than going on dates with as many different people as possible. Juan Pablo shouldn’t be the only one with dating options these days. This goes for you too, ladies. There is no word I hate more than slut. It is a vile word that puts women down for enjoying what of the great pleasures in life. Don’t let anyone slut shame you out of dating, ladies.
When we’re deciding what college to attend, we do extensive research and go on multiple college visits. If we’re willing to do that for college, four years, then the rest of our, hopefully long, lives deserve ten times the effort. I’m not trying to promote promiscuity and suggest we should all be participating in orgies. But think of dates as college visits, explore, ask some questions, and imagine what it would bring to your life. And remember, transferring is always a option, so don’t be afraid to dump his lazy ass or run away from her crazy.
The future is wide open and we now hold the keys. I could fulfill my dream of writing on a television series, a path I’m happily pursuing now. But things may change, I may decide that what I do isn’t as important as who I do it with and decide to make a grand romantic gesture, Noah Bennett style, to a woman I’ve loved in my past or will love in my future. We could move away to a small town and I’ll sell insurance. We’ll raise eight kids and take pleasure in a happy life together.
Or maybe I’ll decide that, similar to my choice of college, my future was decided at birth and I’ll move back to Chicago, go to law school, and join the family law firm. We can drive down any path we choose as long as we are willing to fail and accept the consequences. Failure should not be feared, but rather embraced. It is the best way to learn and this is what post-college 20s life is all about.This Post Written By Tom Demetrio, Co-Founder of Millennial Man