Since starting my summer job at a microelectronics/semiconductor company (see last post), I’ve been reflecting a lot on what the major differences between college life and the so-called “real world” are. I decided I’d make and share a list of what I have found to be the biggest or most difficult to handle discrepancies between the two. Here it goes:
- You are not coddled. Can’t stress enough how much this one surprised me, especially considering I never felt “coddled” in college or high school. That being said, however, in college you get constant encouragement from the school, your peers and your professors when you do well academically. In the real world, nobody is there to systematically recognize your accomplishments as you go along. Everyone works hard, even those who are naturally intelligent (the ones in college who could get by without studying as hard as the rest). I heard an expression the other day that I think fits this observation well: If you are lucky enough to be one in a million, there are over 7,000 people exactly like you.
- Socializing. In college you can pretty much befriend anyone you want just by approaching them. In the ‘real world’, there are power structures that keep you away from certain people and not as many opportunities to meet people randomly. I must say, I miss the crazy and vibrant social atmosphere of Hopkins while I am here even though I am quite happy.
- Time. This was probably the biggest shock for me– working a full-time job [40+hours a week], you wind up having very little time to do anything else besides eating, sleeping, working and exercising during the week. My commute is a pretty massive endeavor, beginning with a bike, proceeding to a train followed by a metro ride and then finally a bus. On the bright side, I have so much time to kill on my commute that I have been managing to read about 100-150 pages a day.
- Responsibility. This one is pretty obvious but having to file taxes, cook for yourself, take care of the house– it’s all a pretty big change from the comfortable living environment of a college dorm.
I must say, I really am enjoying my experience with the ‘real world’ but will be incredibly happy to go back to Hopkins this fall. I’m not quite ready for the real world just yet.