I’ll admit it, mostly because the statute of limitations on high school slacking has passed, I didn’t read every book I was assigned throughout high school. Not that I was a total slacker, I always read the CliffsNotes to make sure I could survive those pesky pop quizzes. (Hey if you had to choose between 50 pages of The Power of One or the episode of The O.C. where Mischa Barton dates Olivia Munn, which one would you choose?) Those academic lapses aside, the books I did manage to read have had themes that hold true years later, and contain lessons that can be applied to life after graduation. Here are four ways in which I apply my high school syllabus to adulthood ....
1) Office Politics: Lord of the Flies
In college you deal with the occasional Type-A nutjob, but they can always be regulated and reigned in by your professors, counselors, and administrators within the institution. Then you crash land on the island that is your first job. Everyone plays nice for the first couple of months. but then it’s kill or be killed. Climb that ladder or get pushed off. Think OUTSIDE OF THE BOX.
Before you know it, the corporate island is on fire and everyone is looking to scalp the next scapegoat because that chubby kid with the common sense and the glasses didn’t appease the collective bloodlust.
2) Social Climbing: The Great Gatsby
So, you are from a nice town in the Midwest, and you always wanted that socialite who was just out of reach. She’s the girl of your dreams, so what do you do? You go into finance, you become a broker and a fixture on the party circuit. Except you can’t replicate the wealth of your dream girl’s banking scion boyfriend without cutting a few corners.
But with the high life comes the fact that your dream girl is actually high most of the time, and she may or may not have Lizzie Grubmanned (look it up) some people outside a party at your massive Southampton summer rental. You take the blame because you think it's true love, and she’ll wait while you serve 10-15. If by wait, you mean marry a Greek shipping heir and move to Monaco.
3) Employment Struggles: The Grapes of Wrath
Maybe that degree in comparative literature isn’t getting you all of the job offers you thought it would. You struggle to find a job that pays a living wage, and unlike all of the characters on HBO’s Girls, your parents refuse to front the rent money. You are actually poor; not like Gap poor, like Old Navy poor. Tired of the struggle, the parade of unpaid internships, and a brief stint with the Occupy movement, you head west, because someone told you things are better out west.
Way out there in Portland ... it’s still the 90’s in Portland. It’s always the 90’s in Portland. Things will be better there ... you’ll see ... in Portland.
4) Modern Romance: A Moveable Feast
You thought you and those kids from college were gonna be best bros forever, and that girlfriend you had was gonna be long term. Welcome to the real world, kid. Life’s tough; get a helmet.
Most of the people you meet in adult life aren’t going to be permanent fixtures. It's best to try to adjust expectations instead of their actions. Best to keep track of life in terms of drunk Sunday brunches and stop trying to keep track of the attendees. The best way to kill the hangover of adulthood is to keep drinking, and that's easier when there’s an all-you-can drink special.