The real world is a scary place.
As a child it was a lot easier to dream of one day becoming an astronaut, a ballerina, or a superstar. Nowadays, what was seemingly simple and achievable, has become out of reach and unrealistic.
Growing up is learning that hard work is required to make those dreams happen. And even then, it’s probable that those dreams will be confined to the walls of a childhood bedroom – from within which the world seemed so vast.
It’s normal to not recognise a past version of ourselves. The older we get, the further removed from our younger selves we become. Our childhood selves could not fathom the realities of this world from behind the protective shield of imagination.
As we move through the different stages of life, we learn that some of our experiences have prepared us better than others. This is unique to each individual.
For some, primary school prepared them well to integrate into secondary school, which in turn was an asset when they graduated into third level education. For others, it may have been sport or other extracurricular activities that assisted in teaching them skills for what was yet to come.
The real world is not as predictable as we may like. There is no foolproof plan to prepare us for working in a full-time job.
I suppose it’s one of those instances where the answer is really that it all depends. It depends on what course someone is studying, what career they are looking to pursue. It’s dependent on how active someone is in participating in college life, and how much they may rely on stability or routine.
But asides from that, there is the fact that the regular working world does not have a month-long holiday in winter, or a four-month break over the summer. Showing up in the regular working world is not optional in the way that attendance in college is arguably becoming. A job has much more responsibility associated with the role, and usually requires taking initiative and developing a broad skillset.
From being raised during the digital age, to being trapped indoors during the ‘COVID years,’ the current generation of youths have experienced unprecedented methods and measures of social restriction during the primitive years of development. The long-term implications of which are yet to be revealed.
As it already stands, college can be a lonely and isolating time in a young person’s life. It is a time of self-discovery, of adventure, and of a lot of change. During the three or four years that a student is studying in their undergraduate degree, they are settling into a different pace of life. One requiring fluidity, flexibility, and constant shifting. It can be demanding to move straight into the rigid structures of a corporate work environment.
College life is quite different to real life. It is likely to be a shock to the system when graduates are entering their first corporate jobs.
While college does not necessarily prepare us for the real world, it sets us up with a pretty strong foundation for entering the next phase of our lives. That, paired with the experiences gained through travel and exposure to different cultures, can be all that one needs to turn the page for a new chapter to begin.
Holly Leech is a Co-Editor for the Opinion column of Student Independent News for the year 2023/24. She is a Third Year Law and Human Rights student in the University of Galway. Holly has been writing and contributing to SIN since September 2023