What can I say? I love living in my fantasy world, which includes copious amounts of books, a large amount of blogging, and tons of tea.
But when I do come up from air and onto “the Facebook,” the number one complaint I hear from my peers is that the “real world” is something they are just now experiencing. From what I can discern, to live in the “real world,” you have to pay your own bills, obtain a job, and balance several activities at once. However, from my perspective, there are many things that seem very familiar and similar about the “real world” compared to the life of a college student. Luckily for recent or soon-to-be graduates, you can take some comfort in the fact that your transition won’t be as turbulent into the “real world” as you would have thought upon completing your degree. For instance, adults will still attend events if there is free food. After all, we’re only human.
But let’s take a look at a few things you can (and already) expect from your life as a young person in today’s “real world.”
1. You’re Exhausted. All of the time.
-I’m not sure if you thought the sleep fairy would finally visit you once you got a full-time job, but I can assure you that she will remain conspicuously absent. If you’re looking for the bags under your eyes to disappear from all those all-nighters you spent writing last-minute papers, you will need to keep, ah… dreaming.
2. You Will Work Every Day on Something…and Not Finish It.
-With homework, you had to stop working on it at some point to eat or sleep. (Or maybe not if you see number 1). But at a 9-5, there is nothing to do but keep chugging along. You’ll finish your work because you have to (deadlines are a part of the “real world,” too), but you’ll be surprised to see how long you can work on something without making much visible progress. The trick is, and always will be, to keep going, even when everyone else has already stopped.
3. You Can Still Have Some Fun.
-Don’t worry, kids. Just because you are paying your own bills doesn’t mean there isn’t room in the budget to let loose once in awhile. Now that you are an adult, that old saying, “it’s 5:00 somewhere” will actually mean something to you.
4. You Can Still See Your Friends.
-Of course, it was pretty awesome in college or in high school when your friends lived in the same hall or town as you, but you can always see your friends on your totally open and homework-free weekends. What’s more, you can afford to do something besides rent movies and eat ramen. (Not that that wasn’t the best time of your life, either. It’s just better for your heart if you slow down on the MSG.)
5. You Still Eat Poorly.
-Speaking of ramen, I’m usually trying to jam something down my throat at my desk so that I don’t break the flow of creativity. And rarely is the food sliding down my esophagus as healthy as I would like it to be. However, we all feel a certain nostalgia (and sense of pride) when we mix a few ingredients that wouldn’t normally go together to make a whole new dish. Who could forget my mac and cheese concoction, complete with avocado and pesto? Duh! Yum! Let’s call it resourcefulness instead of what it really is: laziness.
And so, I’m a little skeptical when people talk to me about the difficulties of the “real world.” I say, if you can get a few things done, see a friend every couple of weeks, and eat something for dinner that hasn’t been microwaved, then you can call yourself an adult. If not, well, we’re all in the same lifeboat. You know, women and children first.