College: A great way to hide from the real world

I recently made a photo book of my university years. It’s been 7 years since I graduated from university, so naturally this was the time to put this book together. As I was sorting through and thinning down pictures I took some amazing trips down memory lane. Each photo evoked a memory that took me back to a place in time that I could imagine like it was yesterday. I felt the happiness that came with the photos, remembered the cold walking from class to class but also the warmth of days at the parks and lounging in the grass with friends. I could smell the chlorine of the swimming pool (where I spent a lot of time) and the heat of the computer labs where I again spent a lot of time. I remembered sitting through lectures and the whole time staring at the cute boy a couple rows in front of me. I remember the crushes, the parties, and so many more things in between. I know a lot of people say that they would love to go back to their high school years and re-live those memories, but for me, I wouldn’t touch high school again if you paid me millions of dollars. Going back to college years however – just point me in the direction of the time machine.

As I was reminiscing on these days and months and years, I began to ponder the wonders of college. I remember someone telling me before I left for school: “Your college years will prepare you for the real world.” Well, fast forward to after graduation and in that first job, the general consensus was: “College is the best way ever to hide from the real world.”

So,I’ve decided to compile a list of the reason how college is not like the real world at all:

  1. Your friends live down the hall, down the street, or are just a quick 5 minute walk/drive: This was one of the best parts about being in college. I know you’re there to learn, but come on you’re making amazing friends too. Anytime you were bored or didn’t feel like studying, bam instant group of people who also felt the same way. Want a midnight milkshake? Great, odds were that a couple other people were always interested.
  2. Sleep isn’t that important: So what if you stay up until the early morning hours with your friends drinking that milkshake! You’re 18-22, you can run for hours on smaller amounts of sleep… and still have the energy to go out with friends until the early morning hours again. Oh, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a school night because as soon as you’re done with your lecture you can go ahead and find a quiet corner in the library to take a quick nap; It’s not like you have a boss who’s going to fire you for sleeping on the job.
  3. Bills are nowhere near what real world bills are: Sure you have to pay the basics like rent, food, insurance, etc, but it was typically split at least two ways, sometimes more, so you’re living extremely cheap. And you know what, you don’t mind living that way because when you’re 20 it’s pretty great. Plus, it’s a college town so rent is typically somewhat affordable. [I realize this may not be the case anymore, but it was when I was there.]
  4. You don’t have to start your day until noon if you don’t want to: If you aren’t a morning person, great, you don’t have to schedule your classes until noon. I never took advantage of this because I’m an early riser, but that also worked out in my favor because I could be done with classes by noon or 1pm. Not many companies/jobs will let you work around your own sleep-in schedule, so college is definitely not like the real world in that sense.
  5. You’re sheltered from real world issues: Your life pretty much consists of the topics you’re studying and what your friends did that day.
  6. Your work groups consist of other college kids, not people who have been “in the business” for years: When you’re all college kids learning how to do group work and put projects together, everyone is in the same spot. You’re all learning and have a limited knowledge base. Once you’re in the real world you will inevitably encounter the “I’ve got the experience and you’re just a college graduate,” person. It can take a while to work through that to get people to realize you know what you’re doing.
  7. You can go anywhere in your pajamas and it doesn’t matter: In fact, so many people went to class in their pj’s that if you were the person who always got ready for the day people would ask you: “Why’d you take the time to get dressed? You’re just sitting in class.” Now for me, I never would have gone to class in pj’s, I’m firmly one of those get ready before you leave the house people. Probably helps that I’m usually up by 6am.

That’s just my short list of reason about why college isn’t a true depictions of how to prepare for the real world. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot in college that has been completely invaluable and believe that the experience itself has paid off tenfold. I wouldn’t be where I was today if I hadn’t had the experience. Just sometimes it would be nice if grown-up life was as easy as college.

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