Back to School

The 2008 Back to School Guide

The Stranger's 2010 Back to School Guide

The Stranger's 2011 Back to School Guide

How to Get In and Out of Trouble

What Are You, New?

Do Stuff!

Everything You Need to Know About School

Your Country

Alumni Testimonials

Lindy West's Guide to Sex and Dating

Drinkin', Druggin', Screwin'

What Are You, Under 21?

Academic Trouble

Your City

All You Need to Know About Everything

A Guide to Sex, Drugs, and Dropping Out

Everything You Need to Know About the City

Classix Made E-Z!

What Are You, Sober?

Everything You Need to Know About Life

Christopher Frizzelle's Guide to Coming Out

Drinking Trouble

Cheap and Fun

What Are You, Idealistic?

Bethany Jean Clement's Guide to Immoderate Drinking

Staying Awake

Hands Off, Jackass

What Are You, Scared?

Social Trouble

Brendan Kiley's Guide to Drugs

Only six weeks into a job at a fancy deli on Queen Anne and eight weeks into living in Seattle, I'm calling my boss and quitting via voice mail. I've delved so far into the negatives of my bank account since graduating that, after a $450 paycheck, I'm still well below zero dollars.

Charles Mudede is right—college is a utopia. For half a decade, you are part of a sheltered society where your ideas and hard work are rewarded with grades, free gym memberships, transportation, and beer pong, but all that's left when you get out of college is... you. Alone in the world. And boy, how fucked you are. I was going to take my hard-earned, shiny new journalism degree and fight the war of words. I stupidly thought it would be easy. After all, the editor of my student newspaper really liked me, and I have a letter of recommendation from a White House reporter for the Washington Post. But I've spent the four months since graduating shoveling pasta salads to Queen Anne yuppies whose idea of journalism is TMZ. I landed an internship at The Stranger, yes, but it pays $0. I'm poorer than I've ever been, my internship is ending, and I don't have any steady work in my field lined up.

I don't remember anyone in college telling me it was going to be this way. Knowing what I do now about what life is like after college, here are the things I wish someone would have told me while I was still in college:

Don't waste time. Get an internship in the field you want to work in. The smartest people out there start doing what they want to do without permission from anyone else.

Be smart about what school you pick. Despite everything you know about higher education, vocational schools are for the smartest people. English majors do not make money after school—engineers, welders, and nurses do. (And yes, life is ALL ABOUT MONEY. You'll see this more clearly when you leave college and have none.)

Start saving. You'll need it later.

Don't get too set on anything. There's no shame in reevaluating your life. I, for one, am planning on working for the US Forest Service. It has benefits, and I won't feel like I've given up if I'm working for America. Go, America! recommended