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1. Don’t ever wave at cars without the driver/passenger of said cars waving at you first. Otherwise the person driving won’t see you and you’ll end up having waved at a car. This is an important life lesson.

2. Nope. I still don’t like babies.

3. In High School you’re told to choose what you want to be when you grow up. In College you’re told to pick a major that will help you become what you want to be when you grow up. Then you graduate and do whatever the hell you want. People find themselves in places they didn’t expect to be back in High School, or even in College, but it turns out alright.

4. Just do what makes you happy. Don’t over-think it.

5. I think the sort of music people listen to matches the beat of what’s usually going on in their heads.

6. Every day that you’re hesitant about doing something is another day that passes you by. Life rolls on. Keep moving.

7. Make it happen. The days of waiting for someone else to do it, or, “You know what’s a good idea?” are over. Who’s going to do it if you don’t? No one. Exactly. Or, someone else will steal your great idea and become super famous and successful and happy. (Probably not.)

8. Life rolls on. Keep moving — but slowly enough that you head in the direction you truly want to go.

9. Know when to get out of the way.

10. Can we (we= everyone on the entire planet) please stop (over-)using the following words: “gentrification”, “millennials”, and “creatives”. I must have missed the please-use-these-words-every-other-sentence-in-order-to-sound-hip/intelligent memo. Stop. Just stop.

Don’t forget that he’s a person. Don’t forget he grew up in a house with his family, just like you. Or maybe he didn’t. Maybe his parents were divorced. Maybe he lived with his grandparents. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget he has other people in his life. Sometimes he’ll go places and you won’t be invited. Don’t forget that that’s ok.

Don’t forget that he’s done things; he’s lived. Don’t forget that he has dreams. Don’t forget that he has nightmares, like you. Don’t forget that he falls asleep each night, and wakes up again each morning, and all the while he was breathing: in and out, in and out.

Don’t forget he has feelings. Don’t forget he gets sad – truly sad, like you sometimes. Think more of him than just a person you can smile at. Don’t think that he’ll willingly hold all of your scars and secrets inside of him. Don’t think you own him because you’ve been in his Facebook profile picture for six months. Don’t forget he’s his own person.

 

Today I was talking to my friend about graduating college – a thing he and I both are going to experience here pretty soon – May 5th, 2013, to be exact. He was telling me his post-graduation plans, and I was keeping quiet about my own. I don’t really know yet where I’m going go, what I’m going to do. I also told him that the more college classes I take, the less intelligent I feel.

I think there’s a lot of different ways you can take that statement. It can mean that I’ve realized how unintelligent I am, or how bad at college I am – But that’s not what I meant.

I meant that the more college classes I take – the more information I take into my brain, the more subjects I get exposed to, the more history I find out about, the more people I learn about that I previously didn’t know existed – the more unintelligent I feel. I’m graduating from college soon, but I don’t feel like I know very much at all.

As my graduation date approaches, I’m beginning to wish I would have double-majored. Or took a third minor. Or majored in Theatre, or Linguistics, or French, or Biology. I’m not done learning – I don’t think I ever will be. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I know enough – like I’m intelligent enough.

Sure, I could keep going to school for forever – for the rest of my life. Maybe I would do that, if it didn’t cost thousands of dollars per year. But people don’t go to college to learn, they go to get jobs.

So, in order to keep learning, without going to college – what do I do? How do keep experiencing things in my life  which will improve my understanding of the world? Or the universe? How can I feel like each day is improving the person that I am?

Do I just have to find a job that I like? That makes me happy? Do I just use my college education for what it’s meant for: getting a higher-than-minimum-wage-paying job?

Do I travel? Do I meet and talk to new people as often as possible? Do I read books and blogs and listen to podcasts and radio programs and watch cool movies?

What do I do?

Once they had me that scrap of slightly-thicker-than-normal paper with my name on it, what do I do?

Today is the twelfth day of the twelfth month of twenty-twelve. 12-12-12. The last repeating date for quite some time – the last repeating date you or I will ever see. Today we’ll mark off the hours – especially at 12:12pm. We’ll talk about how cool this date is; we’ll see on the news all the people getting married; we’ll soon hear about the first baby born on this day. People will talk to strangers about it in grocery stores; friends will laugh about it via text message . It’s 12/12/12! A special day. Today maybe people will be happier – they’ll think about the date and smile. It makes us happy, to see patterns in time. To be able to experience things like this, to be able to celebrate it together.

It also makes us sad. It’s 12/12/12. The last repeating date of our lifetime. We won’t make it to see the next one. We’re going to die. We’re going to miss out on all the fun they’ll have 89 or 100 years from now. (In 2101 or 2112!)

It makes us question – where does the time go?

I can remember sitting in my 5th grade classroom, my teacher writing on the chalkboard: 02/02/02. We talked about the pattern in the date, and I can remember thinking about how the next few years would have patterns, too: 5/5/5, 10/10/10, 12/12/12. And now, I think about how I’ve lived all those dates. I’ve seen them, and they have passed. And this day will pass as well. We’ll all talk excitedly about it for a while – until tomorrow. 12/13/12. Not as exciting, eh?

The time just keeps going by, doesn’t it? Another day, another holiday – soon another new year.

People always say that time flies. Looking back, it seems like that day in 5th grade was not so long ago – but it was – ten years. Ten years. Time flew by.

Only, time didn’t fly by. No, time always passes at the same rate. Me sitting in that classroom happened ten years ago – and so much has happened to me since. Every day in between had its own moments. We just forget them.

Take summer vacation, for example. When you’re in school, you look forward to summer vacation all year. And then it hits, and you’re happy with doing nothing – for about two weeks. And then, it begins. The everyday loll… the passing of time, with nothing in particular to do in order to fill up those hours. The months stretch out in front of you – the next school year seems forever away.

Then, the first day of school comes, and everyone exclaims – Summer vacation is over, already? It went by so quickly! Really, it didn’t. Neither did these past ten years. We just forget all of the everyday  things we’ve done, all the little experiences we’ve had: the smiles, the tears, the learning of who we are.

Time passes. That’s just what it does. So we celebrate it. We celebrate being alive. It’s 12/12/12! Soon, sooner than you think, it’ll be 11/12/13. Should we start planning our party now? Or, what about 12/13/14? I can already tell that’ll be a good day! Those dates will arrive, and we’ll celebrate them together.

It will feel like time has flown by, but remember: every day is something to celebrate. Remember to watch out for those little moments.

Oh, and happy 12/12/12! Doing anything special to celebrate?

1. Read your Book.

No, seriously. Really. Read it. Sure, your professor may have assigned 35 pages for tonight’s homework. I know, that’s a lot. And, it’s probably boring. Biology? Psychology? Philosophy? I know, I know – going to long, boring lectures is one thing, but, reading? No way! At least skim it, OK? Soon you will master the technique of reading as a college student – headers, bold words and phrases, key terms in the back of the chapter. You paid enough for that book – you might as well use it!

2. Don’t Skip.

No, you don’t have to go to class. I know – freedom! It’s great. You can just stay home, sleep in, play on the computer, generally lounge about. Tell your parents class is cancelled that day, or make up some other excuse for still being in bed at noon. One more perk of being a college student: You don’t actually have to go be a student in college! But, take it from me, a once serial-skipper. Skipping class just isn’t worth it in the end. For one thing, there’s the guilt. Yes, it will hit you. Gee, I probably should have went to class. It’s only an hour and fifteen minutes! You couldn’t take an hour and fifteen minutes out of your busy stare-at-the-computer-screen schedule to go to class? And, if you skip once, where does it end? I didn’t go to class last time.. and now I have no idea what’s going on in class this time.. sooo, I guess I’ll just stay home – again. Going to class is always the better option. Sure, you have to get out of your pajamas, but you get to go educate your brain! Ask yourself this: why are you signed up for classes, anyway? Why are you paying lots of money/taking out lots of loans just to not go to class? Don’t skip! Seriously. Don’t.

3. Make Friends.

College is different from High School in that the people there are educating themselves by choice. You have to go to High School – not so for University! The college crowd may not be what you expect, either. There are older people there. Like, your parents’ ages. And, they’re cool! They’re interesting! Of course, there are younger students as well. But these people are not just the folks that happen to live in your school district – they’re from all over the place! Different cities, different states, different countries. They have different accents than you do. Different experiences. Different stories to tell, different lessons to teach you. Getting to know these people is one of the greatest rewards you can glean from going to college. Sure, you’ll get an education and a piece of paper with your name on it – but the people you’ll meet along the way are worth more than your degree. Talk to them! They are people, too! Colleges and Universities are full of the sorts of people you want to be friends with. So go for it.

4. Explore.

Ah, the college years. The socially designated time to figure out who you are, what you want, and how you’re going to get it. Who am I? Where am I going? What do I want to eat for lunch today? All very important questions. College is definitely the place to explore. That can mean literally explore, like, wander around campus and find the best smoothie place. And, it can mean explore yourself, like, do I even like math? Do I want to be friends with those sorts of people? How do I want to spend my time here on this planet? And, it can mean explore your options. What sort of job do you want? What things do you like learning about? What do you want to research, or write about, or get involved in? If you’re confused about any of those kinds of things, college is the place to figure them out. There are people who have that job. They want to help you figure yourself out! You don’t have to know right away what you’re doing. It took me almost two years to figure out what I even wanted to Major in. Explore, explore, explore. It’s what college is for!