Since beginning college, and especially during my senior year, I have been reminded that I will be entering the “real world” after graduation. It is as if being a college student is like being plugged into the Matrix: When we graduate, we get unplugged, fall down the rabbit hole and enter the world of “reality.” As awesome as The Matrix is, it is just a movie.
The idea that life after college is the real world irritates me. If life after college is the real world, then what world am I in right now? Why didn’t people tell me about this real world when I was a young child with many fewer responsibilities than today? The truth is, my world was real when I was stinking up my diapers and throwing food on the floor from my high chair, it was real when my favorite television channel was Nickelodeon, and it is real right now as I write this column.
I believe that those who have entered a real world that robbed them of their joy and made them boring, robot-like people have created this real world themselves. We are not being forced to settle for a miserable life or get stressed over our responsibilities. We can create our happiness with the attitude we choose to adopt, the frame of mind we choose to accept and the way we choose to live on a daily basis. Even though many of us will be getting full-time jobs once we graduate, spending at least 40 hours a week doing something we hate should never be an option. Initially, it is probably not possible to get that ideal job. However, we do not have to give up that search and continue with a job that sucks the life out of us.
Additionally, having more responsibilities after college is not necessarily a horrible thing. If I were given the choice to be a child again, having fewer responsibilities than today, I’d say no thanks. Each place in life has wonderful and not so wonderful aspects. The college life isn’t trouble-free and much of the growth we experience is a consequence of the challenges we face. Also, life after college has many positive aspects and referring to it as the “real world” gives it an unnecessary negative connotation.
Our college years don’t have to be the best years of our lives (another expression that irritates me). We can make every time of our life the best. So please, think twice before you refer to life after college as the real world. After all, we are fortunate enough to attend the University of Miami and achieve one of the highest levels of education this world has to offer; I hope we will all use this opportunity to do what really makes us excited and happy.
Anna Irani is a senior majoring in psychology. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.