I remember sweating balls at my high school graduation ceremony and listening to my commencement address.
I couldn't tell you who it was delivering their words of wisdom to 200+ graduates and their captive families, but they're pretty much all the same: "Now that you've completed your 12 step program in public education, we're sincerely proud to unleash you unto the real world."
They made a big fuss about the prestigious universities and military branches that would welcome members of the Tippecanoe High School Class of 2014. I was four years of political overexposure less jaded at 18 and I will now admit that, underneath a skeptic exterior, I was excited. College kids were adults. I was going to live in a dorm room at Wright State University -- a full thirty minutes away from my parents.
Flash forward a surreal presidential election and three Weezer albums from 2014 to 2018. Most students like me would take a do-over starting from that commencement speech.
I've taken a failing grade on not one, not two, but five college courses here at Wright State. I could buy a car with the tuition money I wasted in less than four years of secondary education. Since I'm writing this on my dad's birthday, and he's one of the like six people I can count on reading this, I just want to say that it's his fault for convincing me going to class is optional. Turns out it's not!
So let's admit this isn't what random commencement guy had in mind when he set me loose on the "real world" that summer. He didn't tell me by "Honors Dorm" they meant "anti-social basement prison where your roommate needs your empty Gatorade bottle to spit out his chewing tobacco."
He didn't tell me you actually have to put yourself out there to make new friends if you're going to try that hard to dodge everyone you went to high school with. He definitely didn't tell me if you're going to get high instead of working on your research paper that you should at least do so with someone who's going to make you feel bad about it. Someone should have told me getting promoted to management at Chipotle while you're a full-time student is only impressive if you're actually passing your classes.
He didn't tell me dating in college would be like "you're a secretary for this really shoddy organization scheduling the dumbest shit with the flakiest people ever." He probably didn't know I needed such specific advice.
If it sounds to you like I'm slowly figuring things out as I get older then slow your roll, Tonto. I've accumulated more parking fines over the summer semester than it costs to purchase a parking pass. I got an A on a course paper that was four entire pages short of the length requirement. Even this essay is being submitted after its deadline. Nothing honest ever comes in on time.
What's more is that, like many others, I still haven't decided what to do with this tangled ball of life experience and education that's less than a year from being printed on a thick piece of paper. My perception of money is still in a transitional period between an abstract concept and a substance primarily traded for electricity and auto insurance. I don't really get excited about graduating because I figure there's at least one colossal life mistake between now and the time I'm finished.
Maybe the most important thing no one told me was this could all be semi-normal. I don't think I would have listened, anyways. Trading the enormous privilege of your accident-of-birth for a stubborn desire to learn everything on your own time is a bold strategy. Let's see if it pays off for him.
Thanks for reading!
 We measure distance in minutes where I come from.
 I also need to say that this is a joke before I get a phone call. I'll probably still get a phone call.
 At least I didn't ask for a deadline extension.
 I'm praying for a reverse-jinx.