“Hello few months a year after Darren graduated

“Hello World!” With a big smile on his face, I heard Darren as he stated these words after sharing with me a good news. Darren is a friend of mine, and he was just about to get his college diploma after several years of hard work in the university. Of course, he was very enthusiastic about it and so was I. Like the both of us, most students would imagine that after graduating from college, one would get a stable job and little by little, all our dreams would come true. Student debts would be paid. A new house and a new car would follow next. Life would be a breeze. Fast forward few months a year after Darren graduated from college, his enthusiasm about his life seemed to fade. It took him more than seven months before landing his first job. When he finally did, he said that he realized that it was more difficult than he expected. He was struggling with a difficult supervisor and he was always loaded with what he call “too much work. “You are just a beginner. You’ll get the hang of it eventually,” I said. Now, my own words resonate with me. Was my friend really struggling because he was a beginner or was it something else? Are the typical students like me ready to face the real world? To me, the answer is a resounding No! Just like other students, I do not think that I am ready for the real world just because I am studying in school. The real life is totally different from the world we are exposed to in college, and there is more to learn than we currently know. First of all, I do not think that most students, including I, are ready for the real world because of the fact that the life we now know in school is very different from the life that we are about to face after graduation. The everyday issues are good examples to illustrate this point. In school, there are many challenges. These include the never ending homework, the stressful exams, and the need to spend sleepless nights for studying and completing projects. On top of these, there are issues with teachers and peers, such as coping with a group or dealing with annoying classmates. In real life, challenges are also present, but they are not as easy to deal with compared to problems in school. For instance, once a person gets a job, his work literally never ends unlike the students who can get some time off after major exams or during semestral break. While students sometimes have to deal with difficult teachers, at least they know that it will only last for several months (until another semester starts). There are even instances when they can choose a subject and a teacher. This is not the case in real life. When people face a difficult boss, they either develop their patience and deal with him/her or quit the job. Of course, the latter option is not always the easiest path to take because landing a job in today’s economy is not easy. The ability to handle these stresses in life is a skill that many students do not yet have. Moreover, just as the students work hard to meet their school requirements, so are the people in real life, but their work is definitely harder. They have to work to get paid but the hardest part of this is that many times, people have to take on jobs that they do not really like.  This means many people had to force themselves everyday to fight sleepiness and traffic early in the morning just to perform a job that they probably despise. Although quitting is an option, job opportunities are not always available. Many of these jobs require more work experience so those who do not meet these requirements are at a disadvantage. As students, many of us may not realize this hard truth because we often think that as soon as we finish college, we can land a career that we always dreamed of. Furthermore, handling finances in the real world is one aspect that many students, like me, are probably not ready for. During college, many of us still live within the comfort of our parents. Even if we have to ensure that a financial aid is in place to take care of our tuition, many of us most likely depend on the allowance that our parents provide. This is not always easy. When the money from our parents are not enough, we need to make adjustments with our spending habits. Meanwhile, some students are fortunate to have part-time jobs which allow them to have extra cash to support their lifestyle and other personal needs. These challenges, however, do not compare to the financial challenges that are present in the real world. One important evidence that supports this point is the presence of bills. In real life, a person has to deal with bills, after bills, after bills. Truly, with independence come responsibility. In real life, a person needs to pay the rent, the taxes, the gas, the monthly car amortization, and other utility bills. In addition, college sometimes leaves an enormous student debt, and this adds up to the pile of payables that one has to deal with in real life. The problem with budgeting and handling finances in the real world is the fact that many of us are not taught how to do it. We are not taught about personal financial management. Splurging is an impulse that is often witnessed in many people as soon as they get their first few salaries. This is what happened to Jake, a good friend of mine. The buying power that he got from getting his first job excited him too much that he failed to evaluate his spending habits. Aside from spending all his hard-earned money to support his lifestyle, he also started accumulating credit card debt. It is only recently that he learned the importance of financial literacy. In other words, he had to learn it the hard way.Overall, I believe that many students, including me, are like Darren and Jake. We may have been competent in school, but this does not ensure competency in the real world. Our knowledge in Science, Math, and other academic subjects does not mean that we are also knowledgeable in facing the stresses of the real world, whether it is about dealing with other people in the workplace or dealing with personal matters. As students, we are not yet ready to face the real world but I can say that we are ready to learn in the real world. It is only through experience that we can truly acquire and develop real life skills. 

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