Dear Precious Readers,

There comes a time in every young advice columnist’s life when she, herself, is in need of some wise thoughts. When she finds herself at a loss for how to proceed. When she needs advice. What does she do?

Advice to myself on how to graduate:

1. In the fall, don’t think about it. Ever. Have lobster bakes, and go hiking and lay in bed. You have so much time. You have all the time in the world.

2. Go to the mandatory Career Planning meeting. Bring a matcha latte. Laugh when they make you do the handshakes. The handshakes are ridiculous.

3. Fill out your Intent-to-Graduate form in November. Think perhaps you should panic. Go to brunch instead. You have so much time.

4. Find a job in a foreign place. Drink cheap champagne. Picture yourself in Europe. The picture is a little bit lonely. 

5. Drink beers with friends instead of reading. Drink too many beers. Fall asleep in your friend’s bed by accident because you don’t want to leave, because you can’t stand to be alone. Wake up at five in the morning. Walk home.

6. Cry in the car listening to Adele. You feel ridiculous. You are ridiculous. You aren’t sure if you are sad, or if you just want to be.

7. Go on spring break with your friends. Sit on the deck of a beach house in California and drink wine and eat goat cheese. Laugh. Laugh harder.

8. Come back. Fight with a friend about relatively nothing, preferably at a party, preferably while you are drunk. Say, “Why are you so anxious!” Hear, “You’re projecting.” The next day, buy each other boxes of raspberries and never speak of it again. 

10. Order your cap and gown. Panic. You thought you had so much time.

11. Picture yourself next year, eating pastries sitting on a dock by the sea unable to eavesdrop on strangers speaking a language you don’t understand. Look around the Moulton Light Room. Wonder if you are tired of eavesdropping anyway. Wonder if you are tired of a lot of things.

12. Finish your last essays. Suddenly feel that Matthew Arnold and James Joyce and Charles Dickens aren’t really that important anymore. Why did you used to believe they were so important? Hand in the essay. Receive a B-.

13. Cling to your books. Reorganize them ten times in your room, which you will pack up in only a few weeks. Reread passages from Hawthorne and Whitman and Gawain and Virginia Woolf. Pour over the timestamps of the ones from the library. Wonder who checked out The Bostonians in 1986. Wonder if they ever kissed anyone on the museum steps.

14. Sit in your car as you’re about to drive away from a party. Look in at the lights of the house spilling through the windows. See people inside. They laugh, they talk, but you cannot hear them. You love these people. But you can’t go back in now and it’s getting late, and you’re already going, and so you’re gone.  

15. Graduate.