Everything you need to know

Dear Rachael,

It’s the spring of my junior year, and my friends have started turning 21. Now, I would be celebrating, but what’s there to cheer about when my birthday isn’t until September? What am I supposed to do for the next eight months while pretty much everyone I like is bar-hopping?

—Sober in Skibo

Dear SIS,

First of all, if you’re going to be sober and mopey, you shouldn’t do it in Skibo. It’s not a good look. The frozen yogurt might tempt you, but it’s best to take that order to go. More importantly, did AlcoholEdu teach you nothing? If you want to be around other people that can’t or shouldn’t be drinking, get younger friends. Or older friends in AA meetings. Mostly, not being 21 is not a huge deal.

There’s also the option of discovering other vices — and no, I’m not talking about the illegal ones. Maybe you can be the kind of person who sleeps a lot or watches Maury and Jerry Springer faithfully. Or, think about exploring your options with your friends born after May — bars aren’t even that great. Sometimes they are filled with creepy old men, and they are usually no parts fun and all parts sketch.

Word to yo’ mama!


Dear Rachael,

Assuming all goes well, I’ll be graduating at the end of the semester. I’ve been lucky enough to have parents who financially cover all the bare necessities of life. They’ve taught me fiscal responsibility — they’ve made me work since I was 13, and half of every paycheck had to be deposited into the bank — but somewhere between starting college and ending college I’ve become irresponsible with my money, and theirs, too. Do you have any suggestions for how to get back on track?

—Pretty Obviously Out of Riches

POOR my love!

Being poor sucks, don’t it? Welcome to life. I think extremes often work when trying to get yourself back on track. Do you have a job? If not, get one. It doesn’t matter what kind, although I would avoid the morally questionable — yes, hitmen get paid well, but they always get caught. Try to get a job on campus or in the immediate area, and work as many hours as you can.

Have you ever thought about becoming a rapper? Consider it. Although, in retrospect, that may take longer than you have. You’re best off working at your favorite café. And to save money, you should go on a kind of diet: Don’t consume things that aren’t free. Carnegie Mellon always has plenty of events going on with different organizations — so join up and get a free meal while you’re at it. You’ll learn and you won’t starve! Besides, water is free, and that chai latte you’ve been thinking about isn’t. Or you could always be less extreme and just cut back — only dine out if it’s half-off, or get some coffee and make it at home instead of running to Starbucks. Don’t buy things you don’t need, and if you do really need a sweater, get it from Avalon. In a few weeks, you’ll have money in the bank, and you’ll have taught yourself what it’s like to be without money, something that will undoubtedly happen if you continue this irresponsibility. It may even be a good idea to go back to depositing half of your check in the bank again, after you’ve taught yourself a good lesson. Furthermore, it will set you up for the rules of financial independence for your post-graduation adventures.

Do it well!