College. That single word says a lot, and everyone has their different perspective on it. It’s one of the only situations where people can’t wait to get to there, people in college don’t want to leave, and those who graduate look back on it and reminisce.
I graduated from UMass Amherst in Massachusetts 4 years ago, and the picture above is from a random day rager. There’s a lot I’ve learned, and for this post I want to talk about both the pros and cons of the “real world.” There is a lot I wish I knew BEFORE graduating, and this post is meant for anyone about to graduate and entering the real world.
1. It ISN’T “The Best Times Of Your Life”
This is such an iconic statement and it’s absolute BS. The main reason why so many people say it, simply put, is that they don’t have the courage to pursue their dreams. If anything, this first point should have a huge asterisk next to it.
The truth is, college is a huge springboard – and if you hit it hard enough, you’ll be propelled into your dreams and endeavors way faster than you could have imagined. I absolutely love my life right now, and although college was awesome, it really set me up for the person I am today.
Like anything in life, everything is choice, and no one forces you to do anything.
2. Responsibilities aren’t that bad
I remember, before graduating, hearing all this horrible talk about “having responsibilities in the real world.” I’ve found that when people talk about “responsibilities,” they’re really referring to paying bills. The truth is, I spent more time studying than working to pay bills – it really isn’t that bad. You get a job you love that pays the bills, and you pay them when you get paid. Simple as that.
3. Parties are better in the “real world”
This obviously depends on what you do, so I may be biased because I’m a DJ/Music Producer. I party way harder now than I did in college, and I partied pretty hard before. Like I’ve said in first point, everything is choice, and going out and exploring nightlife is something you can do anytime, which leads me into my next point…
4. Making & Maintaining friends is more difficult
Hanging with friends and meeting new people is a lot more difficult after you graduate than before. People have random schedules and less free time – not to mention that they’re not all within a mile radius like before. At UMass, I would never drive over 10 minutes to meet someone – now, I’ll easily drive a few hours to see friends. People will start getting in serious relationships, which leads into marriage, kids, mortgages, etc. This is an unfortunate truth, but depending on the path you take, you’ll continue to meet more people along the way.
5. Your Major doesn’t define you
So many times I’ve had people approach me saying they got their degree in something, and “have” to use that degree because they paid so much for it.
Hard truth: You already paid for it, and it’s non-refundable. No matter what you degree is in, you can still use that knowledge to pursue something else or utilize it for another path. I got my degree in Accounting and now I’m a DJ and Entrepreneur – complete opposite path, but my Accounting and Business knowledge comes in handy.
6. Pursuing your dream is difficult (but worth it)
This goes even for people who’ve been graduated for some time. I could have never possibly imagined the horrific things I would encounter when pursuing my dreams, but at the same time, I couldn’t fathom what it’s like to feel this alive. Once you graduate, pursuing what you really want to do is harder than you think, but it’s so worth it.
7. You’ll have more money
You’re going to have a lot more money once you graduate, and you can use that money as a tool to set you up for success. Being able to budget correctly becomes a lot more important after graduation, and having the knowledge to do so will put you in a really good position with more flexibility.
8. You’ll be more comfortable with yourself
The truth is, after you graduate, you’ll feel tremendously more lonely than at any point in college. This could be a bad or good thing, as I know introverts who couldn’t wait to graduate. Regardless if you’re an introvert or extrovert, you’ll learn more about yourself after you graduate, as the entire world will be placed in front of you. It’s all up to you which direction to go.
9. You DON’T have to figure out what you want to do
Here’s a huge, secret truth among the ultra successful: They don’t know what they want to do. The most successful people in the world don’t spend time thinking about what they want to do – they just find something that makes them happy and go 100% all-in. Many people look at me as someone who knows exactly what he wants to do, but the truth is, I don’t. I just know what I like, and I set big dreams around what makes me happy and I go for it. Don’t waste time with philosophical dilemmas – just work to build a career around what makes you fulfilled.
10. You can travel anywhere
Immediately after I graduated college I bought a one-way ticket to Rome and ended up Bartending, DJing and Club Promoting all around the city. I know that most people realize they can travel anywhere but few take advantage of it. Now that you don’t have to worry about classes, homework, etc, you can travel and really enjoy life. If you want some extra help, check out my post on the 9 steps I took to move across the country without a job.
11. Your Life is truly just beginning
Right now, at the time of this post, I’m 26 years young, and my life hasn’t even really started yet. You’re going to endure a bunch of hardships, a lot of ups and downs, but at the end of the day, you’ve only just begun. Life is a marathon, and you’ve only run a few miles thus far.
Like I’ve said throughout this post, everything is choice, and you could fall into one of those “college was the best years of my life” traps – OR – you can make the realization that it’s only the beginning.
Your major doesn’t matter. Your GPA doesn’t matter. Your grades don’t matter. What truly matters is the memories you made and how you can utilize those to succeed in any endeavor. I learned more from partying, meeting people and making risky decisions than any class I took.
You have everything in front of you to create the life you imagined in college, so now it’s game time. Enjoy the transition into the real world, because if you live it right, you’ll realize there is no separation between college and the real world – it’s just enjoying life and doing what you love.