When you leave for college, it beings to feel as if you’ve truly entered into the adult world. You’re off on your own, you can make your own decisions, and you’ve finally mastered how to do laundry.
The harsh reality- that even I, as a college student, hate to accept-is that this is far from what the “real world” is like.
One of the most exciting parts about going away to school is living on your own. Parents have no control about how you decorate your dorm room, what you stock your fridge with, or where you are at any point of the day. There are challenges to living away from home, though.
For one, you have to clean everything on your own. This could range anywhere from just your bedroom, or, if you live in suite or apartment style living, a living room and the dreaded bathroom. Life lessons for when you one day own your own house are definitely built during your time dorming, but it does not highlight the major struggles of truly living on your own.
In most cases, parents are the ones paying for your dorming. Having your own place becomes a little less exciting when you realize that you have to pay rent every month or a mortgage. And rarely does a house outside of the magical land of college include utilities and security instantaneously and without an added fee.
Another appealing aspect about going away to college is the food options. You aren’t stuck eating the one meal that was prepared at home; instead you have a wide variety of dining options. Just as in the real world, you have to watch your budget when spending money on food. Using the meal plan that most colleges offer is a good way to learn that.
But, in reality, after leaving college, you probably won’t be swiping away with your credit card every night to purchase food at different eateries. You will wind up full circle, eating a single prepared meal, just as you had at home, but instead cooked by you.
Focusing in on Your Preferences
Picking classes for each semester of college can be a thrilling experience. You can take classes that focus solely on your interest, instead of taking pre-picked classes, as in the case in most high schools (because how does Algebra really relate to becoming a lawyer when it really comes down to it). You may also choose what time to take these classes. You have the option to not even wake up until 2 for your 2:55 class or have Fridays off if you so choose.
As wonderful as this is, having a full time job will actual follow more closely to your high school schedule with having to wake up early 5 days a week. Most jobs follow the 9-5, Monday through Friday schedule. There aren’t really many jobs that allow you to sleep until 3pm every day.
Balancing It All
College can be a serious balancing act. You may have to take classes all day, work at night, and then wake up early for your internship the next day, while still making time for homework, friends, and clubs.
Adulthood includes the challenges of balancing everything, as well. Unfortunately though, balancing all these things will affect more than just a gpa, but also your livelihood which your family depends on.
College is a wonderful time to learn life skills that you will use for the rest of your life. But it’s really only a little taste of the real world. College can be a sort of paradise in limbo; one where you can enjoy many aspects of living on your own without as many burdens or penalties that may come along with it in the future. As they say: “These are the best years of your life.”