I’m about to graduate.
And it is about damn time.
One thing that has been bothering me during these final days as a college student has been one question I’ve been repeatedly asked:
“Are you ready for the real world?”
Okay, actually two:
“Are you ready to join the rat race (working world)?”
These questions are not only offensive, but from the perspective of people who are 1. closed-minded 2. spoiled 3. living in a bubble. (Note: This is very judgmental, but I don’t care.)
These are quite honestly two different questions. The first encompasses a very broad phrase: “real world.” This phrase can have a multitude of meanings. Humanity is diverse. So when someone asks me if I am ready to join the real world, I have no idea what they are talking about. Do they mean the world of paying bills and taxes? Or do they simply mean working and putting in long hours at a job? Contributing to society? Traveling? Buying a home?
And with the second question referring to “the rat race”, do they mean Corporate America? Which I have little to no knowledge in because my parent’s are from a blue collar background. Or do they mean just working and paying taxes like the above question?
These phrases are just too vague. So why am I offended?
“Gosh darn these millennials always offended by something or another…”
Well yes I am offended at being asked if I am ready to work because that is quite honestly what I have been doing since I was 14…
…paying taxes since I was 16 (The legal working age in NJ).
I worked almost full time my first two years of college to pay, oh my…the scary word…bills. Yes, I am quite aware of this thing called bills (Note: sarcasm)
I was not raised to accept handouts. Some college kids never work until well after they walk across that stage. Today, that is not really the norm with the increase in tuition costs and the standard of living in general. So, for the love of God why do people continuously keep asking me if I’m ready to work when that’s all I’ve ever done?
And just a PSA:COLLEGE IS WORK! I’ve put long hours, long nights, long commutes, long everything into my college career. I didn’t get to roll out of my dorm and walk the 10 minutes to class to only go back and sleep and then do it again for a 2nd class, and then nap before heading to the closest frat house to wet my whistle. (Note: I understand this is a generalization and ironic.)
In fact throughout my college career I have been to a maximum of 2 frat parties, maybe 3. And they were highly disappointing. I was never really a big partier in college like most college kids. My first two years I went to community to save money, and I worked almost full time every weekend and holiday (accept Christmas and Thanksgiving) to pay for my books, bills, gas and so on.
Then I took a year off to work and save more money. Because college is, well, expensive, to say the least.
My last two years of college my parents stepped up to help me as they did for my older sister. I, however, had to take out loans in MY name. I am responsible for those loans. I am responsible for MY education. Not my parents. I do appreciate all their help with my bills. Thanks mom and dad!
Yes, I get offended when people ask me if I’m ready to join the work force or “real world” whatever that may mean because I’ve been there, done that, lived it, and will continue to live it. I am very familiar with the working world. The “real world” as people say.
Unfortunately, there are people who skate by with the help of their parents. I can understand why people may assume millennials or college kids are unfamiliar with this territory, this working world. But, I can also understand that these same people are closed-minded and out of touch with reality. The majority of my friends have worked their whole lives. Many of them did not have the privilege of being able to afford to go to college.
We all live different lives. Do not assume anything of anyone.