My four years spent at my wonderful, small, home-away-from-home college university were undoubtedly the best four years of my life, even if they didn’t always seem that way.
I learned more from things that went on outside the classroom that are unparallel to anything I’ll ever get to discover and experience again.
It all started as a blur; scary, exciting and mysterious all at once. It ended like a dream that I was waking up from all too quickly. When it was time to go, all the same feelings arose as they had on my first day of my college career. The same questions were asked, but ultimately, college taught me more about succeeding in the real world for reasons beyond each course, each semester.
1. The only constant thing is change.
It’s a quote we hear all too often throughout our lives, yet you really get to experience this throughout college. You’re finding yourself, you’re meeting new people, and new things are constantly occurring. Whether it’s friends, or your major, or your choice of clothing, or maybe just life in general, nothing ever really stays the same. Things change and so do you. The transformations you start to become familiar with in college undoubtedly stay with you when you enter the real world, too. New places, careers, people, and even a new set of clothes to complete the circle. If college taught me anything, it was that change isn’t always a bad thing, and more times than not, it can lead you to the best things.
2. Even when you’re working hard, work harder.
College was competitive enough. Whether you’re competing with yourself to do better, or competing with a hundred other applicants for that one internship, you’re going to find that no matter how hard you think you’re working, it’s always important to go a little bit further. The real world tends to work the same way; competition never leaves us, especially when searching for that job or working in that entry-level position, it never hurts to work harder than you already are.
3. No one is going to hold your hand.
And that’s OK. You’re probably surrounded by lots of people in college willing to hold your hand such as parents, roommates, and even professors, but it doesn’t mean that you should let them. There’s also going to be times when you find that no one has your back, and that’s also OK. When entering the real world, the best thing you can take away from college is to surround yourself with people who you can count on, but never put all of your eggs in one basket, because one day they may not be there, and you have to be able to count on yourself.
4. One bad grade won’t decide your future, just as one good grade will not do so either.
It took a semester or two before I stopped killing myself to do well in school. It’s a big adjustment learning how to learn in an entire new atmosphere. It will take a while before you come to the realization that sometimes, you’ll do poorly, and sometimes you’ll do better than you ever knew you were capable of. This taught me a lot about what I could expect in the real world. Sometimes, you make mistakes, and other times, you’re the office rock star. Neither one makes you any more or less of a person or employee. You still have to accept the malfunctions when they arise, and you still have to give it your all, even after you do well.
5. You can’t please everyone.
It is self-draining to make everyone happy and in trying to do so, you will certainly lose your own happiness. While you’re attempting to be fair, you’re not being fair to the most important person in your life – you. It’s hard to balance the never ending schoolwork, the many of new friends you’ll meet over four years, roommates, money, family who is now not under the same roof, and so on. College is about balancing your time and being selfish so that you balance it to fit your own happiness and priorities.
The sooner you realize you cannot please everyone, the better off you will be. The people who are meant to be in your life will always be there and will always understand. The same goes for the real world – This is still your time to find your own way, to make regulations that best suit you. After college, everyone is on a different schedule and the best thing you can do is organizing your own self first.
Of course, indisputably, without a doubt, your college courses are important and significant to things you will encounter in the time after your graduation day. Yet there are so many other things you’ll find about yourself and the experiences around you that will help you to survive “the real world” – and you might not even realize it while you’re encountering them. College has a lot to teach us, and you don’t necessarily have to be sitting in a classroom to learn.
This is a guest post.
Cara Jo was born and raised in South Jersey. After graduating from Kutztown University in May 2014 with a degree in Communication Studies, she officially moved to PA for a full-time Marketing position with a non-profit. Cara loves writing, her puppy dog, coffee, the fabulous friends & family she’s surrounded by, and all of life’s possibilities. You can read more from Cara by visiting www.thecollegegradblog.wordpress.com or tweet your thoughts to @CaraSwetsky_PR
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