College vs. Reality: What They Don’t Want You to Know

A woman stares at a laptop while resting her head in her hands. Text reads, "College vs. Reality."

“Kim… I have a feeling I’m not in college anymore.” – Overheard at 8THIRTYFOUR

Trust us, we get it. Like how Dorothy discovered Munchkinland is nothing like ole’ Kansas, post-grad life is on that same wavelength. The syllabuses fly away, junky apartment furniture is traded in for new (if you’re lucky), and the thought of a night class is only a distant memory. Like everything else, you’ll get used to the new change and into the swing of things. What might you learn along the way? Well, we’ll tell you.

The Timing of it All

We told you before in our “What We Wish Every Grad Knew” blog, but we’ll repeat it: the 9 to 5 is no joke. There’s something about the 8-hour straight grind that takes getting used to, but once you do, it’s game-changing. No thinking about what’s next, how you have to run across campus in under 3 minutes, or withstanding a nauseating group project meeting at 9:30pm because that’s when everyone’s schedules aligned. We got shivers just thinking about that last one…

Use your time wisely, get shit done, and then…it’s yours. Forget homework or last-minute club meetings. Once the day is done and your to-do list is all crossed off, you’re free to do what you want to do. Will you lie in bed and scroll on TikTok for hours? Maybe so, but there won’t be a professor’s long-winded email lurking in your inbox.

However, this blog can’t be legit without mentioning the most unfortunate loss in reality—no summer, spring, winter, or fall break. We know. Take a breath, you can do this.

Done? Didn’t Think So

Remember when you’d create a hypothetical campaign from start to finish, turn it in, and never think about it again? Don’t get used to it. The “evaluation” part of your project is actually a large chunk of your full-time job. Projects and campaigns are ongoing with evaluating, pivoting (our favorite term), and implementing. 

At first, you may be wondering when it will end. Spoiler: it doesn’t. But that’s the great thing about working with real clients in the real world. Your work is going towards something tangible with data and feedback for you to make it even better. There’s time to fully understand what’s in front of you instead of doing a hurried job to make a deadline. Will this still happen? Sure, but it isn’t the norm.

Hi, Real World! Meet Me.

What’s non-negotiable when you’re in reality? You take yourself with you wherever you go. You’ve moved into different situations your entire life: from elementary school to middle school to high school, college to internships to careers. Just because your status or location changes doesn’t mean you do, too. The real world can be unforgiving, but remember—you’ve gotten this far. You can keep moving, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Hold onto the things that make you happy and keep you grounded.

Soapbox? Yes, yes it is. Reality has a tendency to hit you in the face, so we’re doing our part to keep your expectations on par while still reminding you of all the fun that’s to come. You’ll thank us one day.

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