Dear Kid,

I’ve been thinking about college graduates. And I’ve been thinking about Gifts for Graduates. This led to some very interesting internet surfing (with a side trip to videos on The Dodo) and reading several blogs about gifts (and a side trip to Mashable).

I was looking for The Definitive Gift for a College Graduate. I didn’t find it.

I found lots of cutsie gifts that no one actually wants. I found fantastic gifts every grad would love, but would cause my bank account to break out in giggles. I even found wildly expensive gifts that no one (emphasis on no one) would want.

Therefore, I leapt to the only possibly conclusion: I will give advice. It fits my wallet, it’s important, and every college kid needs it. Even if they aren’t sure they want it.

Here are 10 Things Every College Graduate Needs to Know.

Just because you finished college doesn’t mean your work is over. Please empty the dishwasher.

Just because you finished college doesn’t mean learning is over. Learning should never be over. And hopefully your real life tests won’t be too hard.

My house, my rules. Your house, your rules. And by “your house” I mean the place you pay for all on your own.

You’re allowed to change your mind. Just because you studied pre-law does not mean you are required to go to law school. Just because you go to law school does not mean you are required to be a practicing attorney. Just because you’re a practicing attorney does not mean you have to remain an attorney for the rest of your life. Unless you want to.

Don’t freak out if you don’t have a job. Take your time to find something that fits you. You’re going to be OK.

Have a two-year plan. It’s good to know where you’re going. But the world changes too quickly to plan too far beyond that.

Except when it comes to money. Start saving for retirement immediately if not sooner.

Speaking of money, pay attention to it. Live within your means and learn to save. I hope you will have very few rainy days, but you need to be prepared if a few dark clouds threaten.

When was the last time you picked up a book for fun? It’s probably been a while. (College is not known for loads of leisure time in which you can pick up something to read just because you want to.) Grab a book, and read.

Mom still knows best. Don’t forget to call every now and then.

Love, Mom