Summer is in full swing, which means we're entering graduation season.
One of the things about graduation season that I can't wrap my head around is why we make such a big deal about high school graduations and then totally skip over college and any post-grad degrees.
Think about it in stages: high school takes little to no effort to graduate, college takes a decent amount of effort to graduate (depending on your major), and grad school—when taken on in addition to a full time job—takes an incredible amount of effort and sacrifice.
My little brother just graduated high school this past weekend and I literally sent him a text that said, "Congratulations. Remember: graduating high school is a fool's accomplishment."
So, I've put together a round-up of graduation cards directed at the people who actually worked for their diplomas. The ones who are staring down a lifetime of crushing responsibility and disappointment, not the wide-eyed 18-year-olds looking forward to four years of keg parties and dry-erase boards.
1. Welcome to the Real World Card ($4.25, Row House 14): Sure, going away to college is a big life step, and it's a difficult transition. But come on: think about your life in college. You drank, you slept, you ate, you may have gone to class once or twice. But guess what you didn't do? Go to work (your 15 hour a week work study job doesn't count as work). Pay the cable bill. Burst into tears because you can't understand the hieroglyphics of your health insurance plan. You were on easy street, Miss Hannigan, and hopefully you appreciated it, because it's never going to be that easy again. This card both congratulates and warns the newly-minted adult of the road ahead (spoiler alert: it involves bills. Lots of them).
2. Gradderall Card ($3, Low Key Greetings): I never used any performance-enhancing drugs when I was in college, probably because I was a Communications major and the longest paper I ever wrote was an in-depth analysis of VH1's The Flavor of Love. But for the people with the real, challenging majors, I can imagine it would take more than a bottle of Mountain Dew and a TV Guide. Let those drugged-out graduates know that you know the score wth this card. The interior says, "Don't forget to tip your dealer."
3. Happy Graduation, Sucker Card ($4.50, Old Tom Foolery): In your life, you've probably come across at least one lifetime student—the girl who is so afraid of life that she continues to stay in school, earning degree after useless degree and never getting a full-time job. Typically, I would say that this is not the best life plan, but maybe she's got it figured out. She doesn't have to answer emails on vacation. She doesn't have to work until midnight on a proposal that will help a corporation sell people more shit they don't need. Maybe the people who never actually graduate from school and get a job are the smart ones. Maybe we're the suckers.
4. Get the Hell Out, Graduates Card ($4, Old Tom Foolery): When you graduate from college, the business of higher education is never more evident than by how your college gracefully bids you farewell. My college, for example, told us we had exactly two hours after the end of the graduation ceremony to get our shit and get the fuck out. Thanks for the $160K, they said, now get out, the RD will be coming around at 4pm to make sure you're gone. This "Get the Hell Out" card is the same tough love I got from my college. It was fun, but it's over; hope you figured out what you're doing next, because your spot is already filled up.
5. Future's So Bright Card ($4.50, J.Falkner): Okay, so, let's get this out of the way: this card is a total lie. Hey, the future may be bright eventually, but in the immediate years after college, you spend a lot of time being someone's assistant, making no money, and fortifying yourself with the singular goal of trying to drink every cheap beer available in a 20 mile radius. You find yourself lying in the bedroom (which is the size of your full wingspan) of your tiny apartment, thinking about doing something ridiculous, like joining the Peace Corps or calling your mother and telling her she was right about everything. But, if you make it through to the other side, your late 20's and early 30's can be a blissful time—when you're old enough to start raking in good money, but still young enough to not be saddled with kids and a mortgage. THAT's the bright future this card predicts. Hang on, you'll get there eventually.
6. The World is Your Oyster Card ($4.50, A. Favorite Design): I have a very distinct memory of being in the car with my father when was six-years-old. He told me that I could be anything I wanted to be. "You could even be president," he said. "Yeah, okay, Dad," I said (SURPRISE: I was a jerk even as a kid). Although I had no presidential desires, the whole "world is your oyster" concept is something that stuck with me, and actually got me through the moments when all I wanted to do was jump out of my boss's office window screaming, "I TOLD YOU I NEEDED A RAISE." Give this card to your favorite recent college graduate. Tell them to put it in their desk and pull it out whenever their horrible, low-paying job makes them want to give up and move home.
7. I Do Not Like Jobs Card ($5, Sad Shop): This card doesn't express one's affinity to PCs over Macs (although it could, I guess), instead, it acknowledges the elephant in the room. If the recent graduate accomplished a miracle and has a job lined up right after graduation, all he is going to say when asked about it is, "I'm excited," partly because he is excited, and partly because he doesn't know what else to say. This card will say, "Welcome to the workforce. It ain't fun."
For live Tweeting of my brother's Graduation party, follow me on Twitter @AmandaWaas.