To My Baby Sister Leah (and every other senior about to pass the torch… fill in your own school),

With much pride, I am excited to say congratulations on your upcoming graduation day. SUNY New Paltz will never be the same without you. The psych world (ward, semantics) better watch out because there is a new kid in town and I promise you, Leah Kate Wachtel will set the world on fire. Seeing as you are the only Wachtel child who completed your university education in under seven years, Dad is bursting with pride. I guess 1 for 3 is better than 0 for 3. But I'm pretty sure your sentiment of record is not exactly the same.

Girl in graduation gown, scaredLeaving the sorority house for the "greener pastures" of Mom's one bedroom NYC apartment is a traumatic transition at best. Just remember, Mom does not serve beer with breakfast and there is no tiki hut on the patio. Actually, no patio at all… but there is a tree that you can see from the window… sometimes.

In the spirit of making my life more difficult than necessary, I entered the workforce before my official due date. I wish (as in, I am begging you dear girl) you would only do the opposite. With that being said, I have one piece of advice for you: fail a final, lose a blue book, or fill out a Scantron in pen. The real world will always be out there and I promise you it will always suck… especially when you compare it to the nightly college regimen of dancing, sex, and dollar beers.

Now just in case you need further persuasion as to why you should never ever leave college, here are a few things to consider.

Loan Repayment (no such thing as a free lunch/booty call/pitcher)

If you're late to work you can't just take on an extra project to make up for the missed minutes. Student loans? Four words: government funded Jungle Juice. Now, as a loan recipient myself, I know the "you owe as soon as you leave school" drill very well. Unfortunately. I also know far too many 18-year-olds only hear "free booze free booze free booze" during the loan education course. So for those of you who think you have a five-year grace period (or any grace period for that matter), let me drop some knowledge on you: your first loan installment should be handed in alongside your last final whether you are off to the Big City and your new career, or back to mom's couch and your high school job.

If you are the lucky recipient of subsidized loans from Uncle Sam, you better pay or they'll just take your check. Ah, the wage garnish. Yes, you were informed of that… as long as you had a microscope for that miniscule fine print. If you can't afford the loan repayment and food, well I'm pretty sure I don't need to elaborate on which gets sacrificed.

Mandatory Attendance (sans the standard college "three excused absences")

I won't even bother to pretend I was an overachiever… or really even an achiever for that matter. The one thing I hated more than anything else was mandatory attendance. Actually having to show up just to say "here," then go back to sleep on a hard desk rather than my (subjective) bed seemed more like a waste of time than anything else. We already had to memorize the professor's book—you know, the book detailing everything she knows, thus giving her the ability to teach without class time—wasn't that enough? I only took one mandatory attendance class per semester, if that. Showing up was surely the worst part.

Seeing as I hated the requirement of showing up once a week, I was horrified to learn that everything is mandatory attendance post-college. If you're not familiar with this shitty concept, let me introduce you now. Mandatory attendance and the thought, "Oh God I can't take another second of this" are mutually exclusive.

And there is no relief date in sight. Work, bridal showers, divorce parties, babies being born, and the dreaded kindergarten recital… the older you get, the longer this list becomes. And there's no, "Oh I have a psych paper due so I can't make it" excuse because that chapter is closed. Oh and one last thing on this concept: Saturdays and Sundays are no exception and work starts about three hours before most of you even had a single class scheduled.

Finally, here's the real kick in the ass: if you're late to work you can't just take on an extra project to make up for the missed minutes, and even staying late somehow doesn't make up for tardiness (which I will never ever understand). And trust me, bosses notice. Even if the boss is away, I promise you there will be some kiss ass just waiting to inform the higher ups of your 5-minute "punctuality underestimate." Big Brother may not always be watching, but the tool sharing your cubicle is.

No Extra Credit

This needs no further explanation. If you screw up at work or forget an anniversary, there is no saving grace. Well I guess one could consider unemployment as a saving grace (formerly known as extra credit) in the event of a firing, but even that is not guaranteed. Thus, anyone could be out of a job, 100k in debt, and whatever else comes to the imagination just months after your graduation celebration.

I could go on and on but in the spirit of not organizing a mass suicide, I'll keep this brief.

To sum it all up…

There is no limit to how many years you can attend school full-time. My advice: keep the free money and lighten your class load, party more, or explore every major your school has to offer. Maybe if you set a university record they'll shave off a few grand from that ever accruing loan debt (refer to National Lampoon's Van Wilder—Ryan Reynolds looked like he had a hell of a time).

In conclusion little sister, if you decide to forego the best advice ever and don that cap and gown this spring, I'll be there with bells on. However, if you do heed this very important warning, I can whip up a sick batch of Jungle Juice for the sorority ladies… once a week. House vote?