A Commencement Speech for the Graduating Class of 2017

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2017! You all worked very hard to be here today and you should be proud. Today we will celebrate your accomplishments and begin to look forward to your future careers! And what careers they’ll be! The parts of your generation already in the work force work more hours for less purchasing power than previous generations. You most likely won’t work in the field of study. Hell, you probably won’t even get a salaried job with benefits but that’s OK! You should still be proud to be standing here today. Sure, your student debt is crippling, you probably won’t be able to ever purchase a house and I guess you’ll also never have sex again, but hey without a house or money or health insurance or free time, you probably don’t want to be having a kid any time soon, so maybe the no sex thing isn’t so bad.

The deck is stacked against you in a truly astonishing amount. So with everything I just said in mind, here is my advice to the graduating class of 2017:

- Get drunk. If you enjoy having a drink or really any vice, keep doing it. Listen, you are going to die one day. That might happened 80 years from now or within the next 5 minutes, but there is nothing you can do to stop it from happening eventually so just enjoy life. If you like to have a beer with dinner, go for it. If you like greasy fast food, more power to you. If you like cigarettes, well I can’t really encourage that but come on, you look so cool smoking! Buy a leather jacket and a motorcycle too! Everything in moderation. Don’t black out from drinking, limit your high calorie/high fat food intake, and seriously consider quitting cigarettes (but first can I bum one? Please don’t tell my mom).

- Slack off. If you’re going to have to work long hours for little pay at a dead-end job that might literally kill you, don’t work very hard at it. I mean, what’s the point? Odds are you ended up in the service industry, and while there is no shame in preparing food, waiting on tables, or working retail, it is most likely not what you are about to get your degree in, so half-ass it. Work just hard enough to not get fired. You do not owe the corporation you are working for shit and they will never care about you. In fact, they are exploiting your labor for profits in a way that hasn’t really happened since before labor laws existed. If you’re lucky enough to have paid leave, USE IT and don’t let your boss make you feel guilty about it. Even if you take a day off just to sleep, go for it. Speaking of which…

- Sleep in. Go to bed early, sleep in, and take naps. Just sleep. The world is a god damn awful place, you need to be well rested to deal with all the bullshit that is constantly coming down the pipe. Bail on plans with friends, hide in a janitor’s closet, and/or take a nap in your car on your lunch break. Just sleep as much as possible. It feels great. I have never regretted getting a good night’s (or morning’s or mid-afternoon's) sleep.

- Waste money. If you’re buying dumb bullshit that makes you happy then are you really wasting it? Yes, probably, but whatever. This comes back to the vices and the student debt thing. Not buying some goofy shirt from Target for $10 isn’t going to get you out of debt. Try to save money, sure, but again, we are all going to die and have I mentioned how poor our generation is going to be forever? As that come up yet? Just fuck it man. Do whatever the hell you want. Nothing matters.

- Above all, it is important to be a good person. Say thank you, make sacrifices for others, stay true to yourself, forgive, and treat all people of all backgrounds, races, genders, and sexual orientations fairly. What has lying, cheating, or stealing ever gotten anyone except getting elected president, becoming super rich, or getting incredibly famous?

To call your future an uphill battle is an insane understatement. Take every opportunity to squeeze every last ounce of joy out of this life that you can because life is hard, exhausting, miserable, lonely, and it flies by way too quickly. Congratulations class of 2017, you did it. Enjoy today as much as possible before you get an easily preventable illness that you can’t treat, beaten by the ever increasing police state, or climate change kills you. I mean, it’s probably going to be one of those 3 things.

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