I've been forcefully removed from my college world for just about four months now. I went from living with friends in a typical college town to living with my grandparents while I student teach. I went from our house being confused for Grand Central Station to "partying" with the adult (strangers) neighbors for Super Bowl Sunday. Needless to say, life is different than it was four months ago.
Before I continue, I feel compelled to remind everyone how much I LOVE living with my grandparents and student teaching. If I could live here forever, I probably would. (Sorry Mom, but grandma likes to do my laundry.) I also feel compelled to say that I'm not fully in "real life" yet. I don't really pay bills and my grandma even cooks me dinner. (I know, you're probably jealous)
So, instead of doing my homework or writing lesson plans or applying for jobs or doing anything remotely more productive than this, I'm going to write about life now compared to then. For those in the same shoes, I hope you can agree. For those still in college, take notes.
1. Bedtime Exists
In college, bedtime is practically nonexistent. Even if you were forsaken with the dreaded 8am class, you could probably just take a nap in the afternoon. Now, I find myself showering at 9pm and basically in bed at 9:55pm. Anything after about 10:56 is considered a wildly late night for me.
2. "I Want To Untag Myself"
With college in our rear view, we find ourselves frantically looking for a job (if we have not already found one). Something funny about jobs is that they don't really want to hire someone who "acts a fool" all over Facebook. That picture of the guy with Sharpee marks all over him taken last fall isn't so funny anymore. Instead, Mr. Sharpee is cursing himself for drinking too much of something because now he's living in Mommy's basement while his brother's friends refer to him as "the weird guy downstairs". Careful what you post, Facebookers, Tweeters, and Instagrammers.
3. Nights Out
In college, nights "out" were frequent. No adult really need to know how frequent because it would probably make them sad. Now, nights out are quite different. I'm lucky if I make it after midnight without craving my bed.
College is literally the only time in a person's life where they are constantly surrounded my others the same age. We live with friends. We spend hours upon hours upon hours with them on weekends. We walk to class with them. We take them to ShopRite with us (why?). College kids are everywhere. Now, I spend almost nine hours a day surrounded by 10 and 11-year-olds. Can't say I don't love it. Can say it's different!
Some of my new friends have become Juan Pablo, the judges on American Idol, and the self-made millionaires on Shark Tank. Maybe I'm not psyched about Mexican Monday anymore, but I sure did look forward to seeing which hopeful bachelorette got sent home. Perhaps I'm not planning my outfit for an ABC party, but I'm pretty excited to see what entrepreneur makes the deal with Mark Cuban. Again, can't say I don't love it.
If there's one thing I miss from living in the college town, it's weekends. Everyone was right there. It's much harder when your friends are spread throughout the state of New Jersey. (I can't imagine what people do when they don't go to a state university.) Also, I find myself waking up hours earlier than I ever thought I could on weekends. I'm productive. Sometimes, I relax. Hm.
Casual Friday is super exciting (no sarcasm intended). In college, going around town in a ripped hoodie and yoga pants was acceptable. Now, it's slacks, a top, and flats.
You're superhuman if you didn't gain any weight in college. The caf is a disaster, but you can't help but spend 5 hours there on a Sunday afternoon. Now, I bring a "lunch box" to school with me, packed with chicken, a yogurt, and an apple. No more "I'll just grab this ice cream on the way out of the caf just because...it's...here."
I think I filled up my gas tank about one a month in college. We walk everywhere. But, holy moly, gas is expensive. Commuting 45 minutes back and forth to my school yields frequent stops at the gas station. Woohoo. (Thank you, Mom and Dad for helping with this!)
If anything, being out of college and being introduced to the "real world", I learned one thing. I learned how ready I am for "real life" to totally start. As a "adult" (or whatever I am), I have goals, both long term and short term. I want to be a teacher. Eventually, I want to be an administrator or an Athletic Director. I want to inspire people. As members of the "real world", I think we start living life thinking about what's best for ourselves and exactly how to get what we want. We assign work for ourselves to accomplish those goals and words hard for what we want.
And there you have it. "Real Life" and "College Life" are galaxies apart. All it takes to be successful in the transition are a few good pairs of shoes, a few good people, and a few good goals.