Graduates: Welcome to the Real World

No-nonsense tips for this year’s graduates

And now, an open letter to all you new graduates. Congratulations. Good job. Way to go. Bet you thought this day would never come. And if memory serves, it probably almost didn’t. Anyhow, welcome to the real world. And please be aware that we use that term very loosely.

You’re going to love it out here. Might find it surprisingly similar to what you just left behind. Only different. For one thing: Sleeping through first hour is generally frowned upon. And alas, not as many keggers. Less pot as well. Unless you’re headed into investment banking.

Obviously, most of the advice you graduates have gotten so far has been as predictable as Nat King Cole in an elevator while Christmas shopping at Macy’s. Surely you’ve been treated to all the cliches. “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” “Get up one more time than they knock you down.” “Nose and toes the same way goes.” Blah. Blah. Hoo-dee-doo. Unrealistic optimistic idealistic balderdash. As helpful as a smiley face lapel pin on a Mylar balloon.

What you really need are tips that will shoot straight through all the bourgeois and cut to the chase. To tell it like it is. Guidance to help navigate the fjords of chaos that inevitably await where grown- ups interact. And you’ve come to the right place, because here they are. A goodly number of life-proven pieces of real world advice for today’s grads. Might not be what you want to hear but guaranteed to help. Well. Not going to hurt…


When someone says “This is not about money,” it’s about money.

The 5 second rule does not apply to ballparks, bus stations or hospital waiting rooms.

Getting a tattoo is like feeding gremlins: don’t do it after midnight.

No matter what you see in movies, overturned wooden tables are not adequate protection from assault weapons.

When people say, “I’m not a racist, but…” they’re racists.

You can’t fix stupid.

Sure, sure, he’s your best friend, but get it in writing.

Nothing in the world is as underrated as a good nap.

Maintain and move on.

Two words: duct tape.

That high pitched noise that only you can hear: it’s the “Screw You” buzzer. Don’t worry. Only goes off occasionally.

Always marry someone smarter than you. Of course, then they’re marrying someone dumber than they are. But that’s their problem.

Gambling is a tax on people bad at math.

Hazing happens in the real world as well. It’s called a mortgage.

Life is too short for Kirkland champagne.

Everyone is ditchable. Including you.

Never ever trust anybody who says “At the end of the day.” At the end of the day it gets dark.

When they ask your name at Starbucks, once in a while, tell them “Rumplestilskin.”

Backing into parking spots allows for quicker getaways.

Not only is laughter the best medicine, it’s really hard to O.D. on the stuff.

If you fall, and you will: fall forward.

Stay cool and dry and vertical. Or hot and wet and horizontal. Whichever works.

And finally, when someone says, “you’ll like these people, they’re a fun group,” you can rest assured they have the collective sense of humor of an end table.

Will Durst is a nationally acclaimed, award-winning political stand-up comedian and writer. His column has been published in the Humor Times magazine for over 20 years. Go to to find about more about his CDs, including “Elect to Laugh,” and check his calendar of personal appearances, including his hit one-man show, “Boomeraging: From LSD to OMG.”

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Will Durst
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