Don’t abandon all hope, ye who enter here

Congratulations, seniors. You’ve worked hard, and you have the power of a degree behind you now. That means a lot—that means you were competent and wealthy enough to pass through four years of strenuous classes, and hopefully you’ve learned a lot about the world in all the time you’ve spent with your books and your lecture tapes.

But don’t be depressed if all that work doesn’t pay off right away. The real world isn’t college, and mastering it involves different skills, ones that these four years might not necessarily have groomed you for.

But so what? So what if you don’t find immediate success? Rarely anybody will. It feels like for our generation, in graduating college, we are not necessarily moving on to bigger and more impressive things, at least not right after graduation.

Rather, we are entering another phase of our growing up, the phase where we begin to understand the basic tasks that it takes to make out in the world; where we learn to suck it up and take a low-paying job to make ends meet lest we fall back into the hand-me-down sofas of our parents’ basements; where we have lousy roommates and lousy relationships before we figure out what we really want, if we ever figure it out.

There is nothing wrong with this. Who are we to be above common employment? Who are we to expect to be handed an exciting new job and professional life immediately along with our diplomas? Life is not so pat, especially now, when experienced people won’t even find these things. Our prospects look ever so bleak.

But it’s not so bad. We’ll grow up a lot more as we struggle to pay our rent while working a minimum-wage job than we ever did while we were coddled through four years of college on the back of our parents’ checkbooks. We’ll meet more people that don’t have the privilege we do and who we must respect because they know a lot more about what it takes to survive poor in America.

For those of you who have your ideal career lined up, congratulations. For the rest of us, though, it’s okay. We might find our goals down the road, but for now we must just make it through these months while we learn how to be adults. It is even exciting, in a way, to be unleashed into the world with all our adolescent misery in tow and just…see what happens.

Fear not and venture on, ye brave humanities majors, into reality.