The real world is different from college

The purpose of college is not only to just graduate with a degree, but also to gain real-life experience, right? Living on your own and learning how to manage your time and money all while maintaining a social life may seem to be enough to set you up for life after Baylor. What many students, including myself, forget is that there’s much more that comes with life after school. While Baylor provides opportunities for us to practice these real world experiences, there are still many things we will not understand until we are actually out on our own.

Many majors require internship experience in order to graduate, which in the grand scheme of things is valuable for Baylor students’ futures. By interning full-time in Houston this past summer, I was able to get a feel for what life is like as a young professional without being completely independent. I was still living with my parents and still had the majority of my meals paid for. Did I gain true, tangible experience in a working environment? Yes. Am I completely prepared for the real world post graduation? No.

Hearing about other recent graduates’ experiences post college helps to give me a better understanding for what is to come in the next chapter. By finding out how different life is while in college compared to how it is afterwards, I begin to realize how real the Baylor Bubble is.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate Baylor and I think that I attend the best university in the nation. But as a student, I can’t deny the fact that it is easy to forget what is actually going on outside of campus and in the real world. It is so easy to get so wrapped up in schoolwork, our social lives and other activities that we tend to get sucked into our own false reality.

The prestigious education Baylor provides its students is more than beneficial in the long run. However, the all-around college culture could not be any more different than life in the working world. When not in class or cramming for a test or project, college students have the freedom to do almost anything they want whenever they want. Living just down the street from friends, having much more free time and possibly not being completely financially independent comes with much fewer responsibilities as compared to life after graduation. Baylor’s small class sizes, helpful advisors and individualized instruction is without a doubt a luxury of attending a smaller university. In the real world, your boss may not be as helpful when it comes to learning new things.

A nine-to-five job, all while having to pay for rent, food and clothing all on your own dime is just a small part of being a true adult. While in college, some students do not have to worry about these finances. Sure, we’re typically limited when it comes to what we can pay for, but our parents are just a phone call away when we are desperate for a little extra cash. In the real world, there is much less sympathy when it comes to financial matters, and it is a lot less socially acceptable to look to our parents for this kind of assistance.

With all of this being said, yes college is drastically different than having a full-time job and living in a big city on your own. As college students, are we fully prepared to take on the real world? Maybe not, but making the most out of this phase in our lives while we can is important. There will never again be a time where we have this much freedom, fewer responsibilities and this many people around us the same age to share the whole college experience with.