For All My Friends Graduating

It’s almost midnight immediately following episode 4 of Game of Thrones and after about 3 glasses of Jameson and 2 Parliaments, I’m composed enough to write a post after a brief 3 month hiatus. Also I needed spell check to write ‘hiatus,’ properly, so this should be a fun one.

Anyway, I know graduation has already happened for some of my friends, and for many more the big day is only a few days or weeks away and I just wanted to toss up my thoughts on some advice for those about to experience their transition into the world without homework, group projects, or keg stands.

I’m almost a year out from when I walked the polyester gown path down graduation and while maybe I am not the most wise or experienced, I think because graduation day is so fresh in my memory, some of my half-drunken dribble might be worth reading.

Probably not.

  1. First off, it’s going to get hairy. It’s going to suck. There will be seemingly endless periods of discomfort, loneliness, fright, and exhaustion. But, it’s the best part of your life.

I know they said that college would be amazing, and that college would be the most fun part of your life. I know that watching Blue Mountain State made your blood rush and your throat thirsty for a 30 pack of Natural Light- or even worse, Keystone-

But I can assure you, post grad life full of decent tasting beer and alcohol is remarkably more enjoyable. And being able to spend more than 15 dollars a night on a tab is also pretty nice.

I’ll admit though, I still long for the fact that Olde Queens was only about $2.50 for a vodka Red Bull. That shit is at least $13 in New York, if you’re lucky.

On a serious note, after moving to New York City to do the stand-up thing, I was working a part time job at a bar in Chelsea and left that for an opportunity to bartend a full-time position at a new venue spearheaded by Tao Group.

After leaving my job and 3 long, long weeks of training on an intense cocktail, food, and wine menu, I was just about ready to start working there- I mean, I was literally on the schedule to start on a Saturday night. I was promised a minimum of 800 dollars a week after taxes (roughly 60k a year if you want to be annoying about it) and then suddenly, a wrong encounter with executive Kim Kurlanchik and I was suddenly out of a job.

With a previously scheduled vacation to Italy only a few weeks away, along with rent, utilities, food, car payments, and student loans, I could hardly breathe. I freaked out about paying my bills. I hated myself for leaving my original gig. I was pissed off that I came to the city in the first place.

I missed college; I missed the safety of home with mom and dad; I missed being careless and blacked out in Kelly’s, waking up the next morning next to someone? Sir? Who are you and how did you get here?

I was capital ‘F’ fucked and desperate. I had and have since never felt the level of anxiety that I did for those few weeks.

And then through the connections I had made, I was blessed with another amazing full-time opportunity working at New York City’s current most popular bar and restaurant group.

I won’t get into specifics, but the bills aren’t a concern (at least for the time being), and this time in my life has proven to be so far the most interesting and, undoubtedly, the most entertaining.

I’ve met countless people. I’ve seen things out in the city that would be front cover news in Jersey. I’ve had experiences I wouldn’t trade for a million dollars. And I guess that leads me to my next point of advice.

2. You’re going to fuck up and make massive, massive errors. Keep doing that.

I guess repeating what I had already said earlier, I thought that this whole plan of moving out to Brooklyn and pursuing a dream was a huge mistake once I let go of it. I thought I kept fucking up left and right and kept imagining what I’d have done differently if given the chance.

Thankfully I’m in the spot now that I can look back on those moments and laugh. I can breathe easy and smile at the choices I made. Did I make some mistakes? Undoubtedly. But in the end, I regret absolutely nothing.

Which leads me to my next point.

3. Don’t ever settle. Don’t ever lose sight of what you wanted to do. Don’t compromise, because you’ve only got one life to live.

Corny as Hell isn’t it? I’m sure a few blonde girls named Kelsey have something similar tattoo’d on their ribs and the instagram post has over 400 likes.

It’s cheesy and lame and horribly white girl. But, I guess it’s true. Whatever you told yourself you wanted to do: do it. Go for it. Give it %1,000,000,000.

For me, I put my soul into comedy. I was doing more mics a week than I could count. And it paid off. After just 2 and a half months of living in NYC, I was doing shows on fucking Broadway. And then I realized I was going too fast. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to commit to going out on the road, chasing gigs, and trying to achieve the unachievable.

I took a break and a step back to get myself together financially and residentially. If I choose to pick it up again, I will and this time I’ll have a better approach. For now, I’m so happy to be on the path that I’m on.

Truthfully, as long as I’m not locked up in some cubicle for 45 hours a week, I’m ecstatic. The only thing I ever truly feared was becoming some office cuck that was excited for the stale birthday cake in the conference room. It only took me one summer internship in a law office to realize that I never, ever wanted to live that life.

4. Remember your family; Remember your friends.

During my peril of ‘oh no what the fuck am I going to do,’ it was nice to think that in the absolute worst case scenario: I depleted all of the money in my savings and no possessions or anywhere to go, I could always crash with/rely on my family.

Whether its mom or dad, aunt or uncle, cousin or best friend, I knew that I had a network of people that were there for me. And though I was hell bent on NOT, crashing on my uncle’s couch, it was nice to know that if I really, really needed it, it was there.

So, be good to them. Send your grandma nice stuff and call your fucking mom you soulless piece of shit. She loves you and you wouldn’t exist without her. Seriously. Stop reading this and just tell your mom you love her. You cunt.

5. Listen to new music and new ideas.

College is over but that doesn’t mean learning is. Constantly look for more information and more knowledge because it’s the 1 thing that separates us from those shit-slinging Chimpanzees that eat each other starting with the genitalia.

Seriously, by the way, that’s a real thing- you can watch YouTube videos of those crazy fuckers.

I highly recommend podcasts like RadioLab or the Joe Rogan Experience to listen to new information and new ideas on your commute to wherever it is your going. As for music, the Frat parties are over and you don’t need to listen to the same 15 songs that everyone else is listening to. Find some stuff that’s different- that’s out there.

I like Lost Dog Street Band, Okeydokey, and Still Woozy. There’s millions more.

6. Resveratrol and exercise. Sauna too, I think.

My last piece of advice. 500 milligrams of Resveratrol every morning. Workout as often as you can. Get in the sauna immediately after.

There are insane, innumerable health benefits to this and since you only get 1 life, it’s probably in your best interest to try and be as healthy and good looking as you can be in it.

That’s it. I know it’s a lot more and a lot deeper than you thought I’d go here on this site, but what can I tell you? A few glasses of Jameson and I won’t shut the fuck up.

I leave you now with a picture of the man whose taught me more than any 1 professor or teacher in my entire life.




I would also like to wish a sincere Congratulations to the class of 2019.

Published by J. Cassidy Hawthorne

Writer. Former stand-up. Sommelier.

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