The “Real World”

Pictured: Life in the “real world”

Anyone who just graduated from or is planning on graduating from college in the not-too-distant future has probably heard the term “the real world” get thrown around a lot.  As in “So what are you going to do once you get into the real world?” or “How is the real world treating you?’  Obviously, they’re not talking about the really crappy reality television show, they’re talking about the supposed alternative to the “fake” world of college.

I really, really hate this phrase, as you’ve probably guessed.  I get that, for many people, college is a four-year, relatively stress free party-fest, but that can’t be the experience for the majority of people.  For many others, the experience of college can be even more stressful than living in the “real world.” 

Think about it, typical college student are constantly in debt due to four years of shelling out gargantuan sums of money for tuition.  They’re probably taking four or five classes a week, which doesn’t sound like much, but if you factor in the time spent writing papers and doing other homework and it’s a good amount of work.  Throw in some extracurricular activities like a sports team or a job, and that doesn’t leave a lot of free time.  And that’s not even mentioning the dreaded internship.  Many college students have to take on what amounts to the role of an indentured servant, slaving away four 40 plus hours a week for no money. 

Sure, they’re are plenty of people whose college experience is as stress-free fantasy land.  Their parents paid for college, they skip class whenever they want, get drunk every single night, and so on.  But people who lead lives like that are probably going to continue to do so post-college.  It’s not like they’re getting out of school and then heading straight for the coal mines. 

So please, next time you see someone who just got out college, greet them the same way you would any other person.  There’s no need to break life down into these ridiculous categories.  Don’t ask them how the real world is, how they like being an adult, or how it feels to be a “real” person.

Pictured: Real world citizen Jeffrey Lebowski.

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~ by fc13 on April 20, 2010.

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