50 Things That Happen Right Before You Graduate College

Take Me Home Tonight
Take Me Home Tonight

1. You’re incredibly thrilled that no one who matters is here to see the state of your apartment. At this point, the messiness isn’t so much pathetic as it is admirable.

2. Every day now, someone else is “done.” Today, it’s Mark, so you have no choice but to go aggressive…it’s 10 days until graduation, and your liver hates you more than you secretly hate that one housemate you didn’t wanna live with in the first place.

3. Given your perpetual hangover, you briefly consider staying in to finish up that final reflection paper. But that’s definitely not the move, because…

4. Tonight is that free keg party in the dining hall. You know it sounds a lot better than it’s actually gonna be, but you can’t not go.

5. Plus, Mark is “done.”

6. Mark is “done,” so he’s decided to celebrate by blasting the theme song from Drive — upping the ante even further by putting on that Ryan Gosling scorpion jacket he got for Halloween. (At the time, he thought being Ryan Gosling from Drive was an original Halloween costume.)

7. Alec wants to get food. Food is more productive than watching the 4th consecutive hour of a Pete Wentz hosted Top 100 Songs of the 2000s countdown, so it’s food > Fall Out Boy.

8. You’re at the sandwich shop you always go to — this year alone, you’ve probably been here a hundred times.

9. You go for a few pitchers of beer, and that sandwich named after some school-wide tradition that nobody really does anymore.

10. It’s a typical dinner — comfortable silence, occasionally punctuated by conversations about Game of Thrones theorizing. Mark read the books, and is annoyingly vocal about it.

11. The weird “people are now entering” ring sound diverts your attention. In walks Sarah, Megan, and Colleen. You pretend not to notice because you’re not really facing the doorway, and turning around to acknowledge them would be way too much.

12. The rest of the dinner is somewhat uncomfortable, because you feel like you should probably say hi. The thing with Megan was two years ago (and admittedly, it wasn’t that much of a thing) but you both know it probably would’ve been more if you both weren’t going abroad the semester after.

13. You tune out Alec and Mark’s conversation, which has now evolved into trying to figure out different neighborhoods in New York City. (They’re hilariously wrong.) You see Megan walk over to the water pitchers, so you wash down your cup and follow suit.

14. She doesn’t notice you for a second, so you’re just lurking behind her for awhile like a giant idiot. She actually totally notices you, but apparently it’s fun to see you squirm.

15. Awkward hellos cede to talking about the free keg party tonight. You can tell she’s as over it as you are.

16. Actually she’s even more over it, given that she’s telling you how much she’s “kinda over doing the same thing every single night.

17. You realize that you’re dangerously close to having an actual conversation of substance. So naturally, you get nervous and end it prematurely.

18. You sit back down and endure a light barrage of playful jeers from Alec and Mark. Not really listening, you get your first pang of the night; in 11 days from now, you’ll be unemployed and living back at home.

19. This pang will happen about 74 more times over the course in the evening. Alcohol lessens the blow, so it’s time for another round of pitchers.

20. You walk back to the apartment and take in your surroundings. By now, you know all the different cracks in the sidewalks.

21. More drinking, this time to the typical playlist of Kanye and EDM stuff that only Alec likes. That VH1 countdown has you really feeling Fall Out Boy, but you keep those thoughts to yourself. Too early in the night to bring out the emo.

22. Mark, who is “done,” begins to mobilize the troops. He wants to get there because Henry’s crew is gonna be there, and Henry is his new roommate for next year. They’re both doing finance, so it’s important they hang out now and get in the mode of talking about how they’re in finance.

23. You notice the three of you are wearing very similar-looking plaid shirts. You’re not sure if you’re supposed to be mad, or if you’re supposed to pretend not to notice.

24. Walking through campus, you notice a freshman you met at a party the first week of school. He’s learned the dickish college protocol of not acknowledging people who have made a profound impact on your life, so looks the other way. It’s kinda sad, but also good to see he’s come of age.

25. Mark, who is “done,” is pretty drunk. Passing the statue he once threw up on, you can’t help but shake your head at the fact that this was considered a great achievement.

26. You get to the keg party, where that one guy who’s always super involved in University-sponsored activities checks you guys in. He then guilts you into donating some more money to an ambiguous alumni fund.

27. You walk in, wishing you loved something as much as that guy loves putting “over 21” wristbands on fellow classmates.

28. The party is exactly what you expected; too many people, most circled around in their usual cliques, not very interested in anything but trying to appear superior to the other cliques

29. Speaking of superior, Mark leaves to go find Henry. This leaves you and Alec stranded, so you resort to getting some beer.

30. Alec leaves to go to the bathroom. This is terrible news, because now you’ve got no choice but to meander around the party solo.

31. You know more people than you give yourself credit for, so you survive the next 45 minutes or so having minimalist conversations with assorted groups that you once thought about joining. Fifteen seconds into most of these conversations, and you’re very happy with the choice you made.

32. You saw on Facebook that Ted got a job in Chicago, so you milk his excitement for all it’s worth.

33. As Ted drones on about how he doesn’t have to wear ties between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you doze off, looking the other way only to notice….

34. Megan, who was totally just looking your way. Man oh man.

35. With this development, you decide it’s time to exit the conversation and position yourself strategically. Except that this conversation appears unexit-able — Ted is over the moon about how he’s gonna get to do “creative work in a business setting.”

36. Finally, you escape. You walk around by yourself, but now you feel weirdly confident. You notice Mark trying to get in with Henry’s gang. He seems weirdly emasculated in that role, and you kind of hate it.

37. A tap on the shoulder. Megan gives you a hug. Not too aggressive, but enough to insinuate this encounter has some sort of importance. She apologizes for “being awkward before.”

38. You reply by saying something like “awkwardness is a state of mind” — something that somehow sounds profound in the moment.

39. You talk. Longer than you thought you would. You talk about nothing, which is also everything, which is also nothing. You’re arguing about the merits of semolina bread.

40. It’s getting to that tipping point where a few minutes longer, and the conversation will lose its luster. It’s almost as if Colleen was sensing this. And…Alec?

41. “We’re going to a karaoke bar” the two new friends say. “You’re coming, no discussion.”

42. A cab ride full of snapchats. You’re at once bewildered, and kind of bummed that it took till almost the end of college for this solid foursome to emerge — though deep down, you know the only reason why it’s happening is because there’s 10 days left of school.

43. You didn’t think it was possible, but the bar is a bigger disaster than your apartment. When there’s a completely hammered 65 year old belting out Dani California, you know you picked the right place.

44. A few rounds of sake. The perfect amount of aggression and bonding. The girls go over to the bar and pick a few songs have a conference about your guys’ fate.

45. The girls come back. Apparently they did pick a few songs. The first one is a duet for Alec and Colleen; the second, for you and Megan.

46.Megan is really hyping it up, so you figure the conference went pretty well.

47. You watch as Alec and Colleen croon to R Kelly’s Ignition, only to realize that Ignition is a totally different song than Ignition Remix. Watching them bumble through the song — and somewhat falling in love while doing so — is something you know you’ll remember forever.

48. Everyone in the room joins in — and for brief moment, you and Megan are unable to even.

49. The night about to reach its peak, you take Megan’s hand as she leads you onto the makeshift stage. You haven’t been this excited about doing anything in a really long time.

50. The music starts, and you can’t help but immediately smile. The song is more than you bargained for. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Lance Pauker

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