When I was in college, I assumed I was going to graduate and receive $80,000-$90,000 a year. Yeah, I really thought that way. And that was going to be my starting salary, which wasn’t great, but you know, I’d deal.

For everyone who has graduated college, I’ll wait for you to finish laughing. For all the readers who are still in school, yeah, I’m sorry to break it to you: I don’t know what to tell you. This dream isn’t going to happen. You’ll be lucky to land an unpaid internship when you graduate.

I graduated college three years ago and moved to New York City to take my wonderfully demanding magazine internship at Maxim—which was unpaid. I cleaned out my savings for a $1,500 apartment that’s about the size of your bathroom and was ready to take on the world with my first pair of overly expensive Gucci slippers because, dammit, I worked at a magazine, and I was in New effin’ York.

I finished my internship program, which hired no one upon completion because why would you hire someone when you can get a fresh bunch of 20-somethings to do the work for free? I broke up with my girlfriend, and I moved back home to the Bronx.

I finally got a job, and then quit and got another job, and then quit and got another job, and now, here I am: 25 and employed by a company that pays me pretty well. That’s all well and good, but where the hell is my Lamborghini?!

Why don’t I drive an Aston Martin or Maybach? Why am I not sitting courtside every night, giving helpful pointers to LeBron James in Miami? Why are my pillows and sheets not Versace, and why have I not won a Grammy?!

Our generation has grown up thinking that we are young, we are talented and we deserve boats and women. The other day, my 18-year-old cousin was voicing his disdain for some 15-year-old DJ who is now some kind of critically acclaimed electronic/house music prodigy.

“He’s so young!” my brother said, disgruntled.

“You’re 18!” I said, incredulously.

“Yeah, and I’m not famous yet,” he snapped back.

It seems as though somehow, we have all seen the exception and now believe that this is the standard of living. Every time I go out with my friends, the boys in our group decide that we have to get a table. No matter the financial situation any of us are in, we are going to party at a table that costs a grand. We are going to drink Ciroc that is way too expensive and sit in a crowded room that is way too sweaty, and we are going to take Instagram pictures because this is how we live.

We have rented limos to drive us around for nights of club-hopping, planned weekend trips to Atlantic City to stay in presidential suites and bought VIP tickets to events that were completely unnecessary. Why?  Because Big Sean does it. A$AP Rocky does it. Because Tyga hasn’t had a hit since “Rack City,” and even he does it. So why don’t we?

The reason why I share this is because I know I’m not the only one. One conversation with co-workers or a quick scroll through my Twitter timeline shows that our whole generation is buying Louis Vuitton belts, going to Miami for our best friend’s birthday and trying to finance things we really can’t afford. Personally, I have a closet of Nudie jeans I don’t need and two pairs of Prada shoes I don’t wear.

Wait, that makes me sound like I’m throwing around some disposable income because I can. Let me rephrase that: I have a closet of Nudie jeans that I can’t afford and two pairs of Prada shoes that I should have never even tried on.

I’m not Carrie Bradshaw, and this isn’t “Sex in the City.” Honestly, she probably couldn’t afford half the stuff she bought on a freelancer’s income either. But when you hear your favorite rapper spit a lyric that’s so cool that you have to instantly make it your status (“Hold up, lady at Wendy’s! Kendrick Lamar just said he’s about to murder these other rappers, and I need to tweet this now! My spicy chicken sandwich can wait.”), it just adds to the deep desire to want to stunt like him. Have you seen Meek Mill’s Instagram? That dude owns like 63 Rolex watches, a Starbucks location built entirely out of gold and an aquarium filled with virgin tears. What? That’s crazy.

People expect such craziness from rappers, though, because they’re rappers. You? No. No one expects you to have suicide doors on your car. (Actually, if you own a Honda, it’s probably better if you don’t.) It’s not wise of you to get a table at the strip club so often that the bottle service girl knows your name. (Bambi has a C-section scar you can see if you look close enough, and she’s not as cute in daylight hours.) It’s smarter to invest in a quality wardrobe than to blow $120 on the new Kanye West x A.P.C. T-shirt. (It’s a white T-shirt. That’s it. Hanes makes the same shirt. I promise you, no girl is going to be taking off her panties over your $100-plus white T-shirt.)

I’m not sure if this “ball so hard muthaf—s try to fine me” culture is going to end anytime soon, but the sooner our generation is aware that rappers live a fantasy life that’s not attainable for us commoners, the better. I want to live it up like the rest of them, but we need to realize that those Instagram likes aren’t paying the bills. Let’s have the goal be “25 and sitting on $25,000” before we go all crazy. Cool?