There is nothing that invokes more  fear in a college student than the two simple words “real” and “world.”

While these two words might not be overly frightening nicely separated from one another, when they’re thrust up all against each other, they can be absolutely terrifying.

Luckily for all of you out there in young adult limbo, you’ve got a friend behind enemy lines. Yes, I’ve fought past all of the drama and life lessons, walked to “Pomp and Circumstance” to get my diploma and have transcended upon the other side.

I’m no expert, but I’ll do my best to help you.

Real world

Idea go /

It’s not that bad.

Cue the eye roll. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe when you’re sitting pretty and have that oh-so-glorious flexible college schedule (including sleeping in until noon), but I speak the truth. It seriously isn’t that bad. Yes, paying bills and spending 40+ hours at work every week aren’t a walk in the park, but life is a lot more simple. All I have to be concerned with is work and spending time with friends/family. I don’t have to obsess about who I’m going to go to my next sorority function with or deal with any crazy roommates. It’s nice. More quiet than what I’m used to but definitely a good change of pace.

It’s OK to be alone.

When I first moved into my “big girl apartment” sans roommate, I was scared to live alone. Terrified, actually. What on Earth was I going to do with all of my free time? Something I’ve had a hard time understanding (but I think I’m finally getting a grasp on) is that it is OK to not have something going on every night of the week. It is OK to sit at home and just lounge. Every single night does not have to involve going out on the town. And it’s OK to just have a movie night solo instead of going out. You’re not a loser if you do this every now and then.

Work = No. 1.

OK, so maybe that is a little bit of an exaggerated statement. Work doesn’t have to be No. 1. Yes, you must make room for your Higher Power of choice AND your family, but ultimately, you must keep work in one of your highest priority slots. It is your livelihood, and what you do now will have an effect on what you do down the road. If you’re having a hard time enjoying what you do, it’s probably time to switch up jobs. You’re young, and there’s no better time than the present.

P.S. Your boss doesn’t care if it was your best friend’s sister’s birthday last night, you better be at work at 9 a.m. sharp without a hangover. Your paycheck depends on it.

I’ve been so spoiled.

Yes, I can admit it. Living in my apartment complex at college, I was able to have high-quality cable (including HBO), with all these fabulous amenities because I was living with three other girls. Now, not so much. I have the most basic cable, and I can barely afford it. Also, it was a lot nicer having to only worry about my midterm instead of paying bills and making sure I don’t screw up at my job. The point? Appreciate your time as a college kid. It flies by fast.

Life out here in the “real world” can be tough. But it’s not as treacherous a road as some make it out to be.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t fight it. Enjoy the time you are given and brace yourself. Time is ticking away, and it’ll be here before you know it — might as well embrace your future with open arms!

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