The countdown to graduation has finally begun! It’ll be nothing but research projects and 12-page papers for the next couple of weeks. You’ll continue to tell yourself the whole time that, yes, it is very important to take all your exams despite the fact that you don’t need them to graduate.
It’s been a long time coming; the road to your diploma has been a four-year marathon and the finish line is just around the bend. The moment is bittersweet, you’ll admit. Sure, you won’t have level 10 stresses due to midnight deadlines every other day, but you will be expected to cross the rickety bridge to what is considered “real life.”
So, instead of focusing on that terrifying fact, which is a totally different article in and of itself, focus on something way more fun: celebrating the surreal notion that all your hard work has paid off. Here is a list of the best ways to celebrate after your big day arrives.
1. Burn Your College Papers
Burning your papers might sound juvenile or cliché, but it’s as a good of a place to start as any. Besides the portfolio that you might want to show to a future employer down the road (and let’s face it, many of them are digital nowadays anyhow), burning all your college papers can be the perfect way to commemorate completing the college stepping stone.
The process can be just as cathartic as it can be entertaining. It’s like breaking up with an old girlfriend or boyfriend — you’ve had your ups and downs, good times and bad, but now that it’s over, it’s time to leave it all behind. Watch the flames burn as you say goodbye to all the notes and reading printouts that cost you a penny per page to print on campus.
2. Have a Drink (Or Two)
Now, having a drink or two or three has most likely occurred on more than one occasion over the past four years, but those might have been taken to decrease stress — all to keep from realizing that you have two tests and a presentation coming up this week, none of which you are prepared for.
Graduating gives you the excuse to order a celebratory glass of red wine or vodka shot or hot chocolate. At this point, who cares what the drink is. You can order whatever you like and sip it down knowing that all your other beverage choices of the past have led up to this one.
This one drink represents all the stress and anxiety and close-to-tears emotional stages that college has gifted you. If nothing else, this drink is just that, a chance to drink with the opportunity to really enjoy it.
3. Go on a Trip
In a perfect world, a trip around the world to eat and play and wander would be a great way to commemorate that piece of paper that shows society that you learned something for thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, it’s because of those thousands of dollars spent that this might not be a plausible option for everyone.
Traveling takes time and money and not everyone has that luxury, especially right away. For those who do, that’s great! Throw a dart at the map like so many have listed on their bucket list and book a trip to wherever it lands. There are so many great possibilities. Italy has carbs, but Bali has sea turtles. Which to choose?
For those who can’t take off of work for a month or spend a large lump sum of money when the rent is still due in five days, taking a well-deserved trip isn’t totally off limits. There are plenty of places to go to that are within driving distance.
Take a road trip! Even a weekend getaway is better than no getaway at all. Drive to the next state or town over. They might not be as exciting as Italy or Bali, but the change of scenery can’t do anything but help.
4. Throw Yourself a Party
There’s nothing wrong with taking the classic route. An old fashion party is always a good choice to celebrate what you have achieved. Whether it’s with just a few friends and family sitting around a nice meal or a large group going crazy at the club, a social gathering full of food and laughter is a great way to celebrate.
Who doesn’t love the excuse to get dressed up and go out for a fancy dinner? It’s time to pamper your insides and your outsides. Or maybe staying in with a home-cooked meal is more your speed? Decorate the living room with balloons and put together your own personal playlist. The when and where doesn’t matter, but what does matter is attending a festivity where you are the guest of honor.
5. Take a Good, Long Nap
While it might not be nearly as fast-paced as the other options, taking a nap might just be the way to celebrate your graduation. These last few years of college have been full of busy days and sleepless nights, with few days where you weren’t thinking about what you needed to get done for tomorrow.
Spending your new found free time having fun with friends and family out and about is great and all, but sometimes laying low can be just as rewarding. Sit on the couch and watch a few episodes of that TV show you’ve been meaning to catch up on. Relax on a lounge chair outdoors or maybe even read a book.
Better yet, grab a blanket, turn off the three alarms on your phone and take a good, long, overdue nap. Life is going to start back up again real quick, quicker than you’re probably going to want it to, so take a moment to lean back and relax.