Three Things I Wish I Knew Before I Graduated College by John Tristan

At the ripe-old age of 31, I am now a pre-teen in adult years. Tonight, as I took a night-time stroll to fret about student loans and my chronic case of single-ness, I asked myself, what do I wish someone had told me back when I was just a wee baby-adult? What brilliant gems of understanding and wisdom can I pass onto my young, conservative friends so they don’t find themselves couch surfing and approaching only women who are too short to spy my bald spot as I currently find myself?

1-    Money Isn’t Everything. It’s, Like, 57% of Everything.

After graduating, I was going to teach in South Korea to travel and make some good money. Then, I read a blog that said, “If you’re okay with making way less money and having way more fun, teach in Thailand.” That was a lie. It should have said, “…blow what’s left of your student loans, then make enough to scrape by.” That said, I don’t hate myself for it. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be seriously considering moving to the artic to make bank in socialist Canada for my next move.

Seriously, go for experience over money, I still stay. But I’ll also say, learn about finance. My dad’s idea of finance is keeping a change jar. I’m still learning, but so far, the most important thing seems to be learning what an asset is, and getting them. An asset is something you own that makes you money just by you owning it. The three main kinds of assets are stocks & bonds, real estate, and intellectual property. Intellectual property is a long, long, long shot. Take it from a musician. Don’t count on it, unless you’re ready to treat it like a full time job. Real estate, I really know nothing about. Read a Trump book, I suppose. Stocks and bonds, I’d say look into mutual funds. Don’t quote me on this, but it seems to be the best bet, and “they” say START YOUNG. This is because it is a low-risk, low-reward path to wealth. Basically, you hire professionals to invest your money for you. You’re not going to get rich quick, but after twenty years you could have at least fifty-grand extra in your bank account for investing maybe twenty bucks a month. Not bad, for doing basically nothing. Anyway, that’s what I’ve learned so far. I recommend Rich Dad, Poor Dad for inspiration and some real expertise.

2-    Your Religious Mom Was Right About Being “Unequally-Yoked.”

When you’re young, especially if you go to a big school, you’ve got so many friends to choose from, it almost doesn’t matter who they are. At least, that’s how it seems. Man, take it from me. I hate to think of friends as “an investment,” but in some ways they are. And if you feel one way about the ultimate nature of reality, and your best friend since high school feels another way, down the road it’s not going to work out. As you gain independence, you want friends who are going in the same direction as you. That way, you can build each other up and support each other. Think of it this way—you should look for friends who you can turn to in the worst of times. If you’re a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Buddhist, or a fire-worshipper, and your best friend is a nihilist, an atheist, or an acolyte of the water-Goddess Tefnut, they’re going to be like, “Let’s just get wasted!” or, “That’s the random nature of elemental chaos for you,” or, “Extinguish your flames of passion in the waters of the mother-Nile,” you’re going to be like, “Nah, man. Water is for hippies. Fire is epic.”

Try to walk in peace with everyone. But trust me, I recommend the Christian flock. We’re just the largest, most successful flock in terms of fueling the rise of western civilization. But hey, to each his own.

3-    Become an MMA Fighter

If you’re an MMA fighter, you can handle pretty much any other job in terms of stress-management. Accountant, teacher, engineer, all low-stress compared to having a 220 pound gorilla-man kneel on your throat, ground-and-pounding you while a crowd of hundreds cheer his name. You really learn a lot about time-management, while a man who was homeless one year ago dives at your legs, knowing he’ll get several thousand dollars for making you fall sleep against your will, with the knowledge he’s spent every day that year watching videos of your previous fights to figure out how to make you literally beg for it all to end.

If you can’t become an MMA fighter for some superficial reason, e.g. fear of brain damage, attachment to walking-upright into your middle age, etc., I do recommend getting in shape and mastering time-management. As a lazy person from a lazy family, I am genetically predisposed against being in shape. But, being in shape helps you do everything better. It’s worth investing that time to take care of your body, including learning how to eat right, so that you can work, have fun, and even sleep better. In terms of time management, college is pretty real, but it still gets a bit more real after. I’ve come to love audio books. I have some audio-learning going pretty much every possible second. I’ve come to love spiral notebooks. It keeps this chronically unorganized person occasionally organized. I use one spiral for everything. It never runs out of batteries, doesn’t need to power up, and everything I can do on MS Word or Paint (yes, Paint is the only graphic design software I can use) I can do easier or just as easy with a pen and paper. And when I lose or spill coffee on it, I’m a lot less upset than if it were my laptop. The last piece of time-management advice I can give is to make time for you. Chances are, no matter what your job, there’s always more work to do. There’s no better way to burn-out fast. At least once a week, give yourself a day of rest and relaxation.

Writing this for young conservatives, I feel like all my readers are all people who already have 401ks, are engaged to their high-school sweethearts, go on “fun runs” (sick) and drink the scientifically-proven correct amount of water every day. My fellow late-bloomer ex-punk rockers, hear my words: Smoke and drink not at all, or as little as possible. Only watch TV and movies with friends. Vote conservative for life. That’s about all I’ve got.

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