Considering the last article I published and the fact that my life is flashing before my eyes, you can tell I'm not ready for graduation. Yes, it's exciting to be starting a new chapter in my life and having all of my extended family ask "where do you see yourself in 5 years", but the truth is, it just plain sucks.

The "real world" is upon us and I just realized I have to learn how to pay taxes. One thing is for sure though, there is a way to numb the pain. It usually works for a lot of scenarios, but I've found it's extremely effective for this one in particular. And that is: FOOD. So if you're a senior like me and start to develop one of the many mood swings that comes from impending graduation, look no further for advice.

Stage 1: Excitement

Ahh, stage 1... So happy, so hopeful and so pumped to FINALLY be on the home stretch of a grueling 16-year academic journey. You are officially the top dog on campus and no one can tell you what to do! Well, ya know, except your professors, advisors and probably still your parents. BUT you are a #senior and no one can take that away from you all year long. 

What you need: Happy hour!

YOU DID IT. One more year to go before you're done with endless due dates, annoying professors and less than 4 hours of sleep a night. Go out and celebrate with a little happy hour food and drink to treat yourself for all of your hard work!

Stage 2: Anticipation 

At this point, you're still hyped to be a senior and so excited to see what the world has in store for you. Now it's just a waiting game. You've worked so hard to get here and darnit that liberal arts education has prepared you so well for the big bad universe! All of those core credit classes are really gonna pay off!!

What you need: Spaghetti and meatballs

You need to chill. You'll be done soon enough, but in the meantime, don't let the suspense kill you. Take your time and make some comfort food. My go-to is always spaghetti an meatballs. By the time you're done you'll be so full and exhausted you'll forget what you've been waiting for. 

Stage 3: Regret

We are now nearing the halfway mark and you're starting to realize it's not gonna be all fun and games after college comes to an end. You've wasted so much time thinking you were a care-free senior, that you've forgotten to get things done and actually plan for the rapidly-approaching future. Oopsie. 

What you need: Sushi

It's said that raw fish makes the mind sharper and more alert. Not sure about the science behind that, but you have no time to spare. Now is when you need to start getting your life in order and making sure you cross everything off of your list before you move on to the next stage in life.

Stage 4: Anxiety

At stage 4 you begin to realize that it's about that time to start thinking about your future. Yes, it's true, there's a world out there and you'll soon be a part of it. Job, Grad School, Peace Corps, fast-food employee, really whatever you can get, you'll take. This is also the time you may be asking yourself, "why did I think majoring in that was a good idea?". 

What you need: Ben and Jerry's 

Screw it. Just self-medicate. Time for a sugar coma before you have to dive head first into the shark tank that is post-graduate planning. Life does go on after graduation, but for now you still have a few months of planning, so go ahead and sedate yourself with some Half-Baked. 

Stage 5: Nostalgia 

Now that your life is officially flashing before your eyes, you take some time to reflect on how far you've come. College was filled with so many great memories and so many embarrassing things you did as a freshman. Now that it's almost said and done, you wish you could relive it all. 

What you need: Ramen Noodles.

Time to take it back to where it all began. 59 cent ramen packets FTW. Countless dinners have been spent eating this salty delight and quite frankly, you couldn't have made it through these four years without it.  

Stage 6: Denial 

Ok. It's happening. There's no going back now. Your parents are starting to ask what you're doing with your life and why they just spent all this money on your education. Your friends are getting jobs, getting into grad schools and you're just trying to figure out what Netflix series you're gonna watch once Shameless is over. 

What you need: Wine and Popsicles 

Sounds strange, I know, but one of my go-to's lately has been dipping any sort of fruit popsicle in white wine. You get your sweet treat all while incorporating a little liquid medicine. 

Stage 7: Realization  

The diploma is about to be in your hands and you had to actually pay for that hideous cap and gown. At this stage, it's evident that there's no going back. Only forward! So ya better embrace it because if you've learned anything throughout these 7 stages, it's that life comes at you fast. 

What you need: Brunch.

Hopefully your parents hook it up with that bottomless mimosa deal becuase you're gonna need something to numb the pain. Post-graduation be sure to treat yourself to piles of bacon and carbs because you're gonna need your energy out there in the real world.