For most normal college grads the time directly after the cap tossing/couch burning/heavy drinking of graduation weekend comes a period of extreme depression mixed with a tinge of confusion that leads many to make rash decisions. For some, this means getting a job in Investment Banking or getting (gasp) engaged. For others, this means getting a pet. Whatever choice they make it is important to remember that college does nothing to prepare us to make such decisions or for any sort of real life after we move out of our student housing clutching our hard earned (ha!) degree.
So, for those of you entering college in the fall or currently enjoying the amazingness that it is, allow me, a recent college finisher, to shed some light and expose the truth. College is awesome. College is drunk. College is staying up all night in the library trying to find someone to hook up with in the stacks. College is all about making friends and doing stupid things together. College, however, is not about preparing you for life. Below is a list of things that four (or five/six/seven if you are smart) years in higher education neglect to teach you:
1. Relationships: Late night booty calls? Open relationships? Drunken mistakes? Not only were these accepted in college they were celebrated: "You hooked up with three guys in one night?! I'll drink to that!" Not in the real world, people. Apparently staying monogamous is huge out here in the land of taxes and mortgages. Take it from me, going on a date with one guy and going home with another is frowned upon out here. Not that I stopped" I just get frowned at a lot.
2. Responsibility: "Sorry, I was totally wasted" is not a valid excuse when you forget to file your taxes or pay your electricity bill. News to me, of course, because that was my only excuse in college. "I slept with your boyfriend? Sorry, I was wasted."
3. A Job: Sleeping through class is totally acceptable, especially if it is an Art History lecture. Sleeping through work is not, especially when you are an Emergency Room doctor.
4. The Prohibition: Most college students can't make it to their first class without a shot (or IV) of booze; what, then, are we to do if alcohol is outlawed again?
5. Balancing a Budget: In college "balancing a budget" meant calling my parents and asking for more money. Now that I am in the real world, my parents have started this awful trend of saying "No" and "Get a job that pays instead of spending all your time writing for that dumb site" to my weekly money requests. In the two months since I left college I have grossed $232. On a lighter note, I have been to happy hour 40 times and have ten fabulous new pairs of Manolos!
6. Starting a Family: College life consists of drinking till you pass out, sleeping through class, and cleaning your sheets when you accidentally wet the bed. Family life consists of waking up in the middle of the night to wait on a screaming baby, cleaning, cooking, and hanging a child off your breast for a year. Not only are we not prepared to start a family, but no normal college student would ever want to.
Don't get me wrong; college teaches us many things. Just be warned that a degree in Art History with a minor in Psychology is going to do nothing in the ways of preparing you for life on the dark side er life in the real world.