I am sure I am not the first person to congratulate you on finishing up whatever degree or program you were working on, but let me extend my cheers to you anyway. Whatever you did, be it a four year B.A. in pottery or your entire 20s in law school – you deserve to feel awesome for the mere fact that you completed something. So many things in life will begin with enthusiasm and then dwindle out or end with a halt and later we will wonder where they ever went. Trust me, the feeling of finishing something is felt far too rarely, except when it comes to delicious meals and seasons of “The Wire.”
Along with congrats, you’ve likely also received a plethora of advice. People have told you things like, “be bold,” “follow your heart,” “try new things,” and “say thank you” – and all of that is true and good and yes, things you should do. But it is also what we already morally know to be the ‘right’ way to act in the ‘real’ world. No one ever says, “Hide in your room all day. Speak to no one unless you are yelling at the delivery person. Always eat the same pad thai.” I mean, even if that is what your heart wants, no commencement speaker is going to tell you it’s a good idea.
But that is the thing about commencement speeches and advice culture — often it just acts as a sort of reassurance — like when you want to do something we are not sure about, chances are we will listen to the person who says to go ahead. And, when people tell you something you don’t want to hear, their advice will always feel at least momentarily flawed. It takes a lot of critical thinking and weighing of pros and cons to truly come to a solid conclusion about whatever it is we might be debating. Hopefully, if nothing else, that was a skill you learned in college.
The need for advice never stops, and the desire to share it with other only increases with age and things to gossip about. Advice can bring us together, allow us to explore alternatives, and make us feel okay in a world that often alienates or works against us. For everyone’s benefit, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite advice columns. So read them frequently, share them lovingly.
Dear Sugar is an advice column on The Rumpus.net. The advice is often heartfelt, wise, kind, and full of good analogies and lovely language. For example, “But we can’t erase our lives. We can’t change what our mothers or fathers or stepparents were like or what demons or gods ruled them or when they died or how. We can only change who we are in relation to them. We can revise how we narrate those stories of our lives.”
Since you’ve spent some time at a place of higher learning (and maybe watch MTV), you probably know who Dan Savage is. But did you know he also writes a weekly column and does a podcast? Always irreverent and funny, the Savage Love Podcast pairs well with a run on the treadmill or a trip to the supermarket. What I mean is, it is hilarious to listen to in public.
Ask a Clean Person
I am not a tidy person by nature. I’ve had to really learn and work at keeping an orderly apartment. So this advice column on The Hairpin is a real lifesaver for me (and my cat).
The advice column on this here site is a total gem. From being empathetic to offering links to services and support groups, this Kate truly knows her stuff.
Do you have a favorite advice column? Share it with us in the comments!