How College DOESN'T Prepare You For Adulting In The Real World

How College DOESN'T Prepare You For Adulting In The Real World

Okay seriously...how do I file taxes?
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This past May, I graduated from college with the class of 2016. Five months later, it’s the middle of October, and for the first time in my life, I am not sitting in a classroom for most of my week.

Being out in the “real” world is kind of a scary feeling. Scratch that – an overwhelmingly terrifying, throat-gripping feeling. I get why they call it the “real” world now; because college is such a fairy dreamland compared to this place, you’d think it’s almost too good to be true. And I can’t help but feel that I am in NO way prepared to be out in this daunting world of adults. Why didn’t my decades of schooling prepare me for this?

You really have one simple goal in college: don’t fail your classes. Seriously, just do your homework, and study, and don’t go out drinking every single night, and maybe get a part-time job. It’s really not that hard. You get to live near all of your closest friends, and you get a smorgasbord of ready-made meal options laid out for you in the dining halls. You can even wear sweatpants to class if you really want to.

After graduating, I moved back home with my parents. Yes, I share one of the most common generational plights with my fellow millennials. Most of us are tens of thousands of dollars in debt, you know. I took advantage of the opportunity to be a vegetable on my couch for about a month, basking in the glory that felt like summer vacation. After that, I hit the internet hardcore on a job hunt. Of the hundreds of resumes and job applications I sent out – I received ONE interested party. So I tossed the job application idea all together, threw my resumes in the air, and decided to follow my dreams instead. I started my own small photography business, which I hope will one day be successful enough to be my full-time job.

Alright, maybe a business class or two could have helped me with my post-grad entrepreneurial endeavors, because I’m starting to learn about needing a business license, vendor’s insurance and god knows what else the hard way. But the rest of life? I’m sure I can’t be the only millennial that throws her hands up when I’m told I have to find health insurance, dental insurance, car insurance…renter’s insurance???? Basically every kind of insurance under the sun. Because not all jobs just come with those kinds of benefits, especially if you’re a self-starter like me. How does one even go about finding all of that stuff?

And seriously…what are taxes? Why is the government trying to take all of my hard-earned money away? And why are there so many different taxes? Income tax, property tax…a breathing tax? I would honestly not be surprised if the government tried to tax me for the oxygen that I consume. And how in the HELL do I file taxes? Why didn’t anyone teach me about this in school?

How does one balance a checkbook? What does that even MEAN? Do I even need checks? Because I don’t think I have any.

What is a W-4? What is a W-9? What's my tax ID number? Why am I only just finding out that these things exist and are kind of important?

Should I go to a car dealer to get a new car, or chance it with Craigslist? Should I buy or lease a car? How do I get a car loan? OH LOOK – another new payment! So far we’ve got: health insurance, dental insurance, taxes, a car loan payment, rent and renter’s insurance (if we ever all get out of our parent’s houses), a student loan payment…oh, don’t forget you’re beloved smartphones, kids. That’s another payment! Why didn’t school teach me how to manage all of this?!

All of a sudden, my $120,000 college degree is looking less and less useful.

A fellow millennial friend of mine, who now works as an economist since graduating last May, summed up the issue pretty well: “I haven’t used Pythagorean Theorem since high school, and that stuff was covered in like six different grades…but damn do I have to Google what the hell a 401K is.”

And need I mention that college doesn’t really emotionally prepare you for the real world? I’m having a hard time accepting that moving to a new state and starting a “real” life will mean that I’ll live hundreds of miles away from the friends that I lived down the hall from for four years. And you can’t really get away with having Domino’s delivery for dinner twice a week anymore. Ramen won’t cut it, either.

In fact, everything out here is a lot harder than sitting in a classroom and paying attention. I mean, what’s the biggest struggle in college? Rolling out of bed in the morning to make it to your 8am class? That's nothing compared to trying to budget for a big move. Seriously, why didn't college prepare me for the cost of moving to a new place? Or the hardship of making new friends in that new place? Why didn't I learn about office etiquette or fostering client relationships? It’s assumed that some of these issues are just life lessons that you learn along the way. But a lot of people have already learned these lessons, and they could probably teach them to us poor unsuspecting, unprepared souls.

I’m not saying that college is a waste of time, but a lot of universities require you to complete core classes, which leads you to taking ultimately pointless classes that you don’t care about and will never use in the future. To fill my core requirements, I took classes like statistics, biology, and physics – ultimately useless to an English major, and still useless now that I’m a photographer. Obviously, those classes are useful to someone going into a profession related to the sciences – but the core classes like literature and intro drawing are probably equally as useless to them as science classes are to me. Instead of impractical core classes, or even just as possible elective courses, it would’ve been nice to have a couple classes like “taxes 101”, “how to not screw up your finances”, “how to move to a new country”, or really just “how to survive out in the world” – I guarantee those courses would have one hell of an enrollment list.

For anyone else who is as hopelessly lost as I am, check out this handy site that helps teach you how to adult. An actual adulting professor would be preferable, but this is a good start.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2016/01/18/millennial-mindset-and-americas-productivity-crisis.html

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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5 Tips For Incoming College Freshman

Remember when everyone told you that high school was going to be the best four years of your life.. and then it wasn't? Well now for some of you, comes the BEST and WORST four years of your life. Here's a little bit you need to know in order to be prepared for the eventful year to come.

Scleigh1
Scleigh1
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Yes, believe it or not your parents, friends, and teachers were right. College is SO much different than high school in so many different ways. Luckily, I just survived my freshman year so I was in your place literally a year ago today. Everyone tells you how different college is from high school but they don't tell you how and that's what I'm here for! Lets just start with the 1st difference....

1. A whole new world

You will feel like your in a new world because in a way you are. You will suddenly be surrounded by so many groups of people, new cultures, different lifestyles, different languages, everything is so NEW. Not only are you not going to class with the same people everyday that you have seen in the hall for years but you are going to classes with complete strangers from all over the states and sometimes even the world. You are suddenly going to have to share a room with a stranger or even a best friend which can also lead to some issues. But what is most important to know is that even though you feel alone the first few weeks or even months... trust me so does everyone else, its okay to feel overwhelmed its normal. We all have absolutely no idea what we are doing we are all just pretending like we have somewhat of a plan. I met most of my friends my freshman year through being completely LOST on campus.

2. Making new friends

One thing that you aren't taught how to do in high school or honestly by anyone is how to make friends. I knew most people in my classes throughout high school so when I started college I hardly knew anyone besides my roommate. It definitely took me a while to branch out and start making friends but I had to remind myself to put myself out there and eventually I met some wonderful humans. Remember to always be yourself and you will attract people that WANT to be your friend. It takes time but once again, you are not alone. It will look like people already have their group and stuff but everyone is struggling just as much as you most likely.

3. Responsibilities 

The new responsibilities you will have... get prepared, they will hit you like a truck or at least they did me. You will suddenly be responsible for cleaning your room, doing your laundry, feeding yourself, doing your homework, remembering specific dates, paying bills, honestly the list becomes never ending because you are slowly becoming an adult :(((( I remember a time when I wanted to be an adult, now all i want to do is be in kindergarten taking a nap LOL, Luckily I already was familiar with most of these things as were others im sure but there are also people that haven't had to do some of the things by them selves before which can be overwhelming at times. You will eventually fall into your own personal routine and get your own system going and things will become second nature. Don't be afraid of this, just be prepared in order to have the most stress free incoming year.

4. Academics...

The real reason we are in college in the first place. Yeah, here is where your parents and teachers were right... high school courses and college courses can be either very similar or very different. It honestly depends on what the course is and who your professor is but, for the most part, college courses and professors are much different. Professors do not like to repeat themselves and expect you to remember any important dates they mention. They expect you to write it down, no excuses. In high school you teachers would give you a break but that's not really how college works. Some professors may cut you some slack but most wont. Do NOT waste a professors time and remember that even though you are paying to go to school there, you can get kicked out in a heart beat so don't risk it. Refrain from talking in class, and show up!!! you can miss one thing and the next thing you know you have a 5 page paper due in a few days. Save yourself the stress and just pay attention for the whole 50 minute or hour and a half class you have.

5. Packing 

PACK LIGHTLY!!! I packed so much unnecessary clothes, decorations, etc, that I ended up not needing or never even using. Safe as much space as you can because your dorm room will definitely get cluttered fast and you will accumulate more things throughout the year. So, pack the clothes and decor you NEED. Try your best to not over pack (as hard as it is (; )

6. Homesickness

No one:

Every college student ever: "Ugh I can't wait to go to college I hate living here!"

You know we've all said it but you will most likely get homesick at some point. My house is not far from the College at all and even I still was homesick sometimes. Its one of those things that everyone goes through so remember you are not alone. Luckily, we live in the 21st century too so you can always video chat your fam and send them some love. Its okay to be homesick just try to get more involved and do things you would do if you were at your own house. I always try to bring a few things from home too just to look at and remind myself that I will see my family soon.

Freshman year was difficult for me to adjust to as im sure it was to others, so hopefully you keep these tips in mind this summer as you prepare for your first year of college! I am excited for you all to start this next chapter, welcome to the beginning of adulthood class of 2023!

Scleigh1
Scleigh1

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