The 15 Essential Works About Post-Grad Life

The speeches have been made and the mortarboards thrown in the air, so what now? May is traditionally a month for graduation celebrations, but with the parties over and the starter apartments vacated, we thought we’d put together a list of works that deal with life after frat parties. These movies, books, and comics may not hold the key to navigating your 20s. Still, they’re a nice reminder that people have been struggling with the transition to the real world — and coming out more or less OK — for decades. (Disclaimer: yes, this list is heavily white and heavily upper-middle-class. Turns out most people who make navel-gazey art about what happens once you’ve got a degree that costs as much as a house are fairly privileged.)

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The Graduate

Everyone knew this was going to be on the list from the second they read the headline, so let’s get it over with, shall we? Dustin Hoffman deals with post-college ennui and the generation gap in mid-century Los Angeles, and takes the moving walkway at LAX in the most imitated tracking shot of all time (see: Mad Men Season 7 premiere). A defining film of the late-’60s/early-’70s New Hollywood canon, The Graduate gave the world “Mrs. Robinson” and a legendary closing shot.