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Gone are the days of living the care free life, creating a magical dream world where you get everything you want. Hoping one day (preferably soon) everything will just fall into place and you won’t have to move back in with your parents after four glorious years of freedom.
There comes a time in every college student’s life where they realize college actually doesn’t actually last forever and they have to ‘grow up’ and become a ‘real adult’ soon. I like to call this the college-life crisis, similar to the mid-life crisis for older adults, but for college students.
For me, this is the most frightening thing ever. Whenever I think about what’s going to happen next, I start hyperventilating and need a brown bag ASAP. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point. Growing up is scary and to quote probably everyone that has ever grown up, “you can’t stop getting older; you just have to make the best of it” (I may or may not have just made that quote up myself…).
Here are a couple of tips to get started living in the ‘real world’:
Talk it out
My roommates, friends, family, strangers on the street can vouch that this is my FAVORITE thing to do. My mom may say it’s because I like to listen to myself talk (which may actually be true), but I honestly think saying what you’re thinking out loud to someone else helps. If you can turn what you’re thinking into words, you have passed the first challenge in adulthood. Talking ‘it’ out can be as simple as sharing what popped into your head on the walk home to the deep dark secrets you keep to yourself because you’re too afraid to say it out loud.
Make a plan
Once you talk out everything that is running through your mind, make a concrete plan. The best way I do this is to make a to-do list with complete-by dates. This way you see exactly what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. This can be as simple as looking up internships for the following summer, something you should be doing at this time anyways or contacting professors for letters of recommendation, that you may soon be able to use! Another thing to add to your plan is to look at anything the University of Iowa offers. We are fortunate enough to go to a university that is supported by the community it surrounds. Take advantage of everything Iowa and Iowa City has to offer.
Change the plan
After making the plan, change it. It’s okay if things don’t always work out. This is the way to grow and become who you really are. Just don’t get so far away from your ‘plan’ that everyone thinks you’ve gone crazy. Things change and your feelings change. Make yourself happy first.
Don’t be scared of what people think
This is the oldest saying in the book, but when you stop caring what others may think of your choices, you become A LOT happier. I’m not saying to channel your inner Britney Spears circa 2007 when she shaved all of her hair off, but if lying in bed all day looking up potential jobs in Zimbabwe, while simultaneously binge watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix would make you happy, then who cares what others may think.
No one can stop time; and as hard as we may try to forget that we cannot always sleep past 11 on weekends or stay up until sunrise watching Netflix, we must grow up at some point. While for some it may be a few years down the road, others are facing the ‘real world’ in just a few short months. Unfortunately, the ‘real world’ is nothing like the MTV show and we actually have to become productive members of society one day…or at least that’s what they’re telling us.
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