Graduates Anonymous: 12 Steps to Stop Being a College Student

Step 1: Admit that you have a problem. College has been fun, maybe too much fun, and now you have to rein yourself in, easy enough right? Wrong.

Step 2: Know that no power greater than you will foot the bill anymore. Two terrifying words: Financial independence, for real this time.

Step 3: Decide to take your life into your own hands … and out of your parents’. When you left high school, you thought college was the ‘real world’ and that it was true freedom. That idea is laughable now.

Step 4: Take inventory. Easy Mac, check; mini-fridge, check; game day swag, check. That’s the wrong list. Business attire, resume, networking skills … uhhhh,

Step 5: Admit to someone the extent of your problem. Luckily you are not the only one in this difficult position. Your entire graduating class is in just as deep as you are. Which also means none of you has any experience no longer being a college student.

Step 6: Be entirely ready to remove all triggers that could send you into collegiate relapse. Move out of the college town. Limit wearing school colors to one day a week. No more school logos. Athletic rivalries must be toned down if not altogether forgotten. Sell your textbooks. Stay away from the negative influences of your old life — other students, until they too ‘graduate then find an occupation’, or GTFO.

Step 7: Humbly ask the bank for a more lax payment plan on those college loans. The most expensive girl you have ever been in a relationship with is Sallie Mae. This lifestyle has seriously put you back financially.

Step 8: Make a list of all of the people who have seen you college drunk. Not just drunk, but frat-party-during-pledge-week drunk, i.e. college drunk. Be resigned to avoid them like the plague. There is nothing you can do to fix those relationships.

Step 9: For those on the list that you cannot avoid, there is a mutually assured destruction via blackmail. I won’t tell if you don’t.

Step 10: Continue to take personal inventory. You will not need your giant plush mascot. You will need wood hangers for your suit jackets and blazers. Is there some kind of registry for this stuff?

Step 11: Admit when you were wrong. You have had relationship mishaps. Once admitted, promptly store this information in the farthest recesses of your mind, never to be accessed again.

Step 12: Having made it through graduation, you have a responsibility to help other students trying to quit. You’ve been there, done that, and you can say from experience that it gets better.

Of course for some, four years is not long enough to hit rock bottom and realize that they need to change their lifestyle. For members of that camp, there’s always graduate school. Take another look at these 12 steps in a couple of years. You’ll be grateful.

(I in no way intend to make light of the struggles and strength of the brave people who struggle with narcotic or alcohol or any other kind of addiction with this piece.)

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