Dear Class of 2013,
Throughout your time in your collegiate career you have most likely studied, partied and “had the best four years of your life,” as you are most likely saying on your graduation day. The only concerns many of you had during the past four years were ensuring that you pass all your classes, contemplating how you are going to balance work and play, what you are doing on Friday evening, or if you caught herpes from a sorority girl.
In the real world, these past four years have been terrible, to say the least. In 2008, the greatest recession since the great depression occurred. Your generation is going to be the one cleaning up the mistakes of those who came before you and you are most likely unsure of what is going to happen next. You will hear a cheesy speech from the guest speaker, but keep in mind that he is paid to be motivational. Despite the conviction in his voice, the future is likely grim. Here is what they won’t tell you at graduation. The intention of this article isn’t to dampen your mood, but rather to unveil the hidden truth in regard to what’s to come.
10. The real world is like nothing you ever expected
Throughout your time in college, you have most likely been trapped in a one-dimensional type of thinking. If you attended any university, preparation for the real world was likely never a part of your curriculum. School creates an illusion in your mind that suggests that things will be easy because you are college educated. That is complete bullshit. Life only gets harder from here, and there will be times it completely breaks you. You are most likely not ready for the real world due to a complete lack of preparation and experience. Get ready for a rude awakening.
9. A bachelor’s degree means nothing
A recent statistic from the Associated Press stated that the unemployment rate among bachelor degree graduates was at 53% in 2011. That’s almost the highest it has ever been. That means at your graduation half of the students will be unemployed. Not only is the job market extremely competitive regarding credentials, but also jobs are scarce due to the ongoing recession. This statistic just goes to show how useless a bachelor’s degree can be, depending on how you utilize your time. Of course, the average college GPA is only around a 3.0, and if you’re in that boat, you likely did not put forth much effort to differentiate yourself from your peers. Getting a job won’t be as easy as you thought.
8. Technology has most likely killed your profession
The world is moving at a faster pace than ever before. Technology has been the leading factor behind this accelerated life. Although technological advancements lead to conveniences, they also make your role less necessary. “Middle man” jobs like car salesmen and real estate agents will slowly be replaced by cheaper-to-use Web-based alternatives like Zillow.com or Automation.com. If that weren’t bad enough, Wall Street has been taken over by computers as well, with increasing talk about high frequency trading. A lot of industries that required human labor have taken their operations online to save operating costs and increase their margins. Cold world.
7. Not everything is going to work out for you
During my years in college, I have seen many of my colleagues struggle through issues that haven’t worked out in their favor. They face notable difficulty because they have been living in a bubble throughout college and expect to be appeased and catered to at any given moment. When this didn’t occur, signs of depression emerged along with many unsettling feelings. You have been taught to expect instant gratification, which doesn’t necessarily exist in the real world.
6. College girlfriend or boyfriend will become a pain
The love you experienced during your years at college will crumble right in front of your eyes after graduation. Wants, needs and priorities will change drastically. You will shift from worrying about your next drink to scampering frantically to pay rent on time. This will be something you have to expect as your priorities will differ as you finally gain the freedom you think you’ve been dying for. Your keg stand relationship will never survive out there in the real world and will blow away faster then that cheap blue hat you throw in the air. Life will get complicated for both of you and then you will soon grow apart from each other.
5. “College was the best years of my life” syndrome
If you’re finishing college thinking that these have been the best four years of your life, you are doomed for failure. There is no reason why college should be the best four years of your life, as there is nothing fancy about drinking warm beer and overdosing on Adderall before finals. College is the first step to reaching the best years of your life. When you make this statement you suggest that life has peaked during college. This mindset instills a sense of mediocrity that will cause you to miss what life truly has to offer. You are basically implying that your z-score chart is on its downward trend.
If you have wasted your time writing essays and trying be a straight A student, it really does suck to be you. It is about time someone explains to you that C students run the world. While you were studying, they were strategizing how to take over the world. We no longer live in a world where being book smart helps you, but rather having the entrepreneurial intuition gives you the advantage and upper hand. School is a place where A students teach B students how to work for C students.
I’m unsure if your well-educated professor warned you, but your network is equal to your net worth. We live in a world where it’s not what you know, but whom you know. Make sure to meet many different types of people in different industries and find the synergy between them. Make friends with the nerdier kids and definitely make friends with someone who knows how to code. You will never know when you will need to reach into your Rolodex and call someone. Networking will be essential.
2. Actions will have reactions
In college, you do what you please with no severe consequences, perhaps barring your girlfriend catching you cheating with a freshman, but even that you could get out of with one hand tied behind your back. In the real world, you are going to have to understand that all your actions and decisions will have dire consequences, so be prepared for the ramifications. The term YOLO will rapidly leave your vocabulary (as it should) as you are now building your reputation and writing your story in the world.
1. Hard work and dedication
Your ability to succeed in this world will be solely based off your hard work and dedication. Talent can only take you so far and your tendency to procrastinate will be your downfall. There are no handouts, no short cuts, no nerds you can pay off and no Adderall that will get you through the crash course of life. It is solely dependent on your input, as that is what you’ll get out of it.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to fail and don’t ever let anyone discourage you. Question everything and never settle for mediocrity. When you are done with college, don’t simply become a college graduate; become a problem solver.