Congratulations! Sooo, what comes after the party?

May. 22, 2014 @ 11:12 AM

It’s graduation time, and I know all of you in the Class of 2014 are eagerly awaiting the moment when you are thrust into the world on your own, ready to tackle your dreams, excited to take on the responsibility of making your own way, making your own choices, making your own mistakes, making your own bed ... or not ... it’s up to you! And, let me tell you, it’s a blast out here!

Of course, unless you’ve already gotten a job in your chosen field (snicker) you’ll be heading home to Mom and Dad’s for a while as you send out resumes and “weigh all your options.” The problem is that all that “making your own choices” stuff mostly won’t fly if you’re living at home. Remember the old “my house, my rules” thing? Well, you may be 22 years old, and you may have been doing your own thing at college for four years, but when you’re home, you still belong to them. 
(In fact, a word of warning: When you are 35 and visit Mom and Dad with your own personal, grown-up family ... still their rules! The good thing is that when they visit you in your own personal, grown-up house, you can hit them with YOUR rules ... which they’ll laugh at and disregard, because ... well, “because they said so.”)
Then, after you take a few weeks off to relax, meet up with old high school friends (who’ve also graduated and come home) and hang out at the old hangouts, and after you send out scores of resumés (and hear more “NO”s than you’ve heard since you tried to get to second base with Mary Patricia Schumick in junior high) and after your mother stops crying because “my baby’s home!” and starts approaching the laundry room the way Marines approach a Taliban cave, and after your Dad stops grinning and smacking you on the back whenever he passes and begins leaving the Classifieds sitting in your bathroom sink ... at that point, you’ll want to check into some local employment. 
Your secret inclination might be to get a few friends together and start up the old band again. As a college graduate, you’d be in much higher demand at high school dances than you were in 10th grade, and with all the technological developments in the last few years, there would be multiple cool names you could try, such as The Hard Drives, or The EmotiConvicts, or maybe The Pixelated Tweeters! 
The problem with this plan is that, invariably, someone from the old band, like the lead singer, won’t be available due to having gotten a job at Home Depot, plus he’s married and his wife won’t let him. So, you’ll try to substitute your great-uncle Earl, who’s retired now but once sang with The Manhattan Transfer, and thinks he wants to get back into the business; not a good idea on so many levels, and may, in Uncle Earl’s case, result in cardiac arrest ... hey, another good name!
So, even though your plan was to work for a multi-national company in New York for a year, followed by a reassignment to their office in London or Rome ... well, Pizza Hut’s not so bad, with tips, and all the pizza you can eat, plus you get to put that little Pizza Hut sign that lights up on top of your car. Sweet!
Or, if you’re female -- not that a young lady wouldn’t work at Pizza Hut, which certainly has its share of lovely and talented female college-graduates -- you could also look into being a nanny, especially if you start in the summer. Take a couple of weeks off first, just long enough to give young parents a chance to experience the reality of having little children home all day whining that there’s nothing to do. 
By around June 20, those mothers will be offering you more money than any multi-national company on earth. They’ll give you a car in which to schlep their little ones, they’ll stock the fridge with all your favorite foods, and they’ll give you their pass to the country club pool. Shoot, if you can hold out until the end of June, you might score grad school tuition!
After you land this good local job, you’re just a hop-skip-and-jump away from getting your own place -- which should be way across town from your parents, for the good of all concerned. Naturally, you’ll need to save up for the down-payment, but having no bills of your own yet, this should be a piece of cake. 
(Or, you could have the band over to practice at your parents’ house four or five days a week, and abracadabra: They’ll GIVE you the deposit ... and possibly the entire contents of their refrigerator!)

Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Readers may contact her at, or by visiting her website at