College does not equal real life

Don’t get me wrong—when I moved into college as a freshman I was beyond excited. I was out of my hometown high school. I could finally be my own person and do my own things. I could sleep whenever I wanted and eat whatever I wanted and I felt free. As I finish up my junior year though, I’ve learned that college life is simply not real life.

In college, you’ll mostly stick with like-minded people. Students within your major are likely to think similarly to you and then “boom” you have a college friend group. I consider friend groups with diversity lucky. It’s the different-minded people that help you grow and expand your mind.

In an office space, not everyone is going to think the same. People will have different opinions and ideas and you can’t just turn your back on them because you don’t agree with them. You might be assigned to work with them on a project and you can’t say no. It’s hard to admit as a college student, but your ideas are not the end-all-be-all. You have to learn how to be open-minded and learn how to take criticism.

Secondly, problems in the real world don’t get fixed just because you complain about them. While there are nice people out there, you’ll run into folks who just don’t care. They are under no obligation to listen to what you say. 

College classes have a syllabus laying out when everything is due so you can prepare for exams and projects well in advance. In the real world, you make your own syllabus. No one is going to tell you exactly what to do for the rest of your life. Managing yourself and your time is going to be critical in any job. 

Do you remember in high school how your GPA was the most important thing in the world? I don’t even remember my high school GPA anymore, and the same thing is going to happen with the college GPA. There’s more to being smart than just your GPA. You need to know how to work with and understand other people. Students need to develop emotional intelligence so they aren’t stuck in the loop of studying, taking tests, getting grades and studying more.  

For many college students, college is about doing minimal work so they can spend their free hours binge-watching “Euphoria” or hanging out with friends. Neither of these activities socializes the student or prepares them for a strong future.

If you’re a college student reading this and just had the realization that, “oh no, maybe I’m not going to be prepared for the real world,” then I highly recommend you read the College of Distinction article “Is College Preparing You for Real Life?” written by Tyson Schritter. Schritter writes about the importance of having an internship during college and how to participate in extracurricular activities to take part in interactive learning.

All in all, it is up to you, the student, to make sure you’re ready for the real, working world. College classes will give you the education you need to do the work, but it’s up to you to be active outside of classes to learn how people really interact.