10 Things They Didn’t Tell You About the Real World

1) You will value the importance of free things now more than ever before. In fact, you never realized the lengths you’d go for a free sample of anything, until now. Here’s looking at you, cheese cube at Whole Foods.

2) You will also appreciate your college dining hall and all of the things you were overly critical of, like pre-made grilled cheese and gyros. Because now all you eat is take out, or foods that take less than five minutes to make.

3) You will learn that catty people never really grow up. But that’s okay, because karma always wins.

4) Life will be terrifying, confusing and thrilling. You may experience these emotions one at a time or all at once. If you don’t experience at least one of these then you aren’t a real person.

5) You will miss your parents on multiple occasions and regret all the times you wished they’d let you be more independent. Because all you want right now is a big a hug and the feeling of being enough for someone.

6) One day, you will come home from work and cry. You’ll cry because you’re tired — tired of being overworked and underpaid. But you know that if you don’t get up and do it again tomorrow, you won’t be able to pay your rent. So you deal.

7) You’ll still be trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up. Even though you kind of wish you would’ve just become that astronaut or zookeeper or ballerina that you were determined to become when you were five.

8) Texting, FaceTiming and Snapchatting will become your most preferred methods of communication. But remember, your phone still makes calls, so don’t forget to use it for that once in a while too. Because your college friends who held your hair back, and pulled all-nighters with you before finals, and celebrated your birthday like it was the best day of the year, are the people who make life meaningful. Make sure they know you care.

9) You’ll meet a lot of new people in the real world. Unfortunately, they don’t come with background checks written on their foreheads. So you will have to live and learn…which can be painful, frustrating and incredibly rewarding. Don’t be afraid to let some people go just as quickly as you let them in. But know when to embrace new friendships. You’re guaranteed to learn something in the process.

10) While you might (will) experience an unsettling state of nostalgia whenever you see a college student, hear about college or watch college sports, you’ll slowly start to embrace this weird thing they call the Real World. Because you’re in your twenties and you have your whole life ahead of you. It’s a scary, beautiful thing.

Enjoy.

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Sunday Musings

First weekend of freshman year, August 2008.

Oh, how I love rainy Sunday afternoons. As I sit sipping my coffee and listening to the soothing patter of raindrops coating the thirsty Midwestern lawns, I find myself in a state of quiet self-reflection. I’m choked by nostalgia, almost painfully so, as I realize the significance of this week. My alma matter is now back in session, and I, for the first time in four years, am not there. Ten thousand students march the quads, my two feet left out of the pack. I sit from the outside looking in, and quite honestly, I miss the view from within.

I was warned of this. I was told that college would fly. I was told that each semester would evaporate faster than the last, until one day, the eighth would mark the last. I didn’t believe them. For, no matter how mature for my years, I felt invincible to the passing of time. I was too busy planning my future to stop and fully appreciate the present. Life revolved around tomorrow’s test, next weekend’s party, next month’s job interview – today was taken for granted.

But now, I understand the warnings. I understand what they meant by the phrase, college will fly. It did indeed.

Here’s to the class of 2016, the talented young people who have joined a new collegiate family. Embrace each day for, “we have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake.” It was perhaps the most valuable lesson that came with my degree.

xx C&L