1. You will have two types of friends after college: the friends who are worth keeping around, and the ones who, quite simply, aren’t. While watching relationships fizzle will always sting, it’s worth it to devote more time to the friends who will still be there for you 15 years from now.
2. You have value to add to the workforce, even though it might not feel that way right now. Sit down and think about your marketable skills, and all the things you’ve accomplished so far. Write it all down on a piece of paper, if it helps.
3. The boyfriend or girlfriend who is right for you in college might be right for you after college, but they might not be, and if that’s the case, you need to brave enough to move on without them.
4. Even if they’re not letting on to this, everyone around you is terrified. So if you’re scared, you aren’t alone.
5. For every Facebook status someone posts about landing their dream job, there are plenty more people who are still figuring it out, and neither position is better than the other. Remember that most people want what they can’t have, and the grass always seems greener in someone else’s pasture.
6. Not having your entire life planned at 22 is not a bad thing — it’s an open door.
7. Living up to someone’s expectations will never satisfy you as much as trying to figure out what your expectations for yourself are. Of course, the latter is objectively scarier, but there is so much more opportunity for reward if you make yourself your first priority.
8. People will try to lowball you, they will try to tell you that they can pay you no money for a lot of work, or very little money for a lot of work. Someone might even try to convince you to pay them to do work — yes, that actually happens. It is always okay to defend yourself if you feel like you are being taken advantage of, or are being treated unfairly and unkindly.
9. Being a second semester senior doesn’t actually mean you have to spend every night drinking like it’s the end of the world. However, it also doesn’t mean you have to push yourself into complete panic attacks over life after graduation. During a year where it seems like there is no moderation, try as hard as you can to find some balance.
10. Take time to yourself. Because you won’t see some of your closest friends next year, it might feel like you need to spend every waking moment with them. But you’re processing more than you think right now, and that means you really do need space to recharge.
11. Don’t let a best friend or a significant other push you to move to a place you don’t love, or can’t afford.
12. Wear waterproof mascara to graduation, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. It never hurts to be prepared.
13. Thank your parents when you graduate. Because no matter how much you’ve expressed your appreciation to them over the past however many years, they deserve to hear how much they propelled you forward while you were in college.
14. Don’t be the person who doesn’t participate in any senior events because you’re too busy thinking they’re lame, or believing whatever criticisms your semi-high friends came up with. Show up to something — a dance, a party, or even the weird off-brand concert some colleges throw — just to say you experienced it.
15. Stop picking fights with the people you’re scared to lose because you think it’ll make it easier to part with them. It won’t, and you’ll just end up regretting the time you wasted fighting.
16. If you’re going to pick a class song, try to pick something that isn’t Don’t Stop Believin’.
17. Treat your insides nicely. A diet of beer, buffalo chicken pizza, cereal, and ramen might seem convenient, but it wouldn’t be the worst idea to throw some spinach into that cycle just to shock your system a little. And on this subject, the sooner you start teaching yourself to cook actually edible things, the better off you’ll be as a post-grad (both health-wise and financially).
18. Be honest with the people around you when you’re feeling confident, and when you’re feeling scared about what is to come. This is one of the only times where you have almost everyone you need in your support system just a short walk away, so take advantage of that.
19. Change is scary, jarring, alarming, daunting, and all of that. But remember how scared you were when you had to leave high school for college? Remember how scared you were the first time you had to go to sleepaway camp, or move away from a significant other, or move houses as a kid? You survived all of those transitions, and there’s nothing that should make you think you can’t excel during this one.