No one tells you how exactly your life is going to change once you graduate college and enter the “real world.” Graduation day is a flurry of family, friends and long speeches by strangers, all assuring you that the $10/$40/$120,000 you spent on school was well worth it. And you now have the $2 piece of paper to prove it.
You’re young, your life is just beginning, you have your entire career ahead of you.
Here’s what you recent college graduates have to look forward to:
Gone are the days of all night study sessions, Frisbee on the quad and shleping from class to class. Instead, you get to spend 40 hours a week on your duff, staring at a computer screen. Fortunately, sitting in an air-conditioned office on an ergonomically designed chair is a lot more fun than running across campus to make it in time for your 9am lecture. Unfortunately, your butt (and even your hips, thighs and stomach) like it so much, that they continually expand into every inch of that comfy desk chair. Learn to start loving exercise now. It’ll make it that much easier to stick with once you’ve finally decided to lose those extra 10 lbs.
Listening to Idiots
If you think you escaped having to listen to long-winded blowhards espousing meaningless drivel once you stopped entering a professor’s lecture hall, think again. Most likely you’ll have to work with someone in authority who’s just as long-winded and pointless except this time you depend on them for a paycheck instead of just a letter grade. Practice the art of humility. You may know more than your boss does (maybe a lot more) but you won’t do yourself any favors by trying to show him or her up all the time.
Smaller Dating Pool
College is one of the last places where you’re surrounded by lots of single, attractive people in your age group. Once you start working, you’re surrounded by a cross section of several generations, a good majority of whom will be married or otherwise romantically engaged (and generally not that good looking). Not only that, but you spend more time at work than you ever did in class, and your social life will suffer accordingly. Just remember that “work-life balance” means nothing if you have no life to balance the work with—and start polishing that online dating profile.
Doing It All Yourself
Most colleges and universities make their services easily accessible to students. Need to talk to someone about your recent break-up? Just go down the street to the student counseling center and talk to a licensed counselor. Have a cold and want some antibiotics? Pop-in to the on-campus health center and get a same-day appointment. In the “real world” your company won’t have a medical clinic in the lobby (unless you’re really, really lucky) or a room full of graduate students to read through your business report that’s due tomorrow. Getting access to any kind of professional service is about twice as hard since you have to go out and find a professional and then pay for it all yourself. No matter how tempting it might be, don’t let your health slip. You don’t want put things (like Dentist appointments) off for too long or else you risk contracting something serious that could inhibit your ability to work (at which point you’re really screwed).
I know the above doesn’t sound all that appealing. But hey–at least you’ll make more money. Say “good-bye” to that IKEA furniture and Top-Ramen and “hello” to designer clothes and a new car.
Congratulations Class of 2008!