I love college. From day one of my freshman year I understood what people meant when they referred to college as the best four years of their life. I love the amazing friends that I've made, I love the organizations that I have become a part of and I love my campus.
(Oh, and I guess the education that I'm getting is pretty good, too).
As I neared the end of my junior year, it seemed like everyone I talked to reminded me that I had only one year left of college. I'm all about living in the present, but it seemed difficult to ignore the fact that in just a year my life is going to be completely different. Not only that, but there was also the whole factor of the unknown. What kind of job will I find? What city will I be in? Who will I be living with? Am I even ready to become a "real" adult? I had come to the conclusion that there was absolutely no way that I would be ready to graduate when the time came.
Then, a few weeks after the end of my junior year, I started my internship. This was my first true taste of the real world, from the cubicle to the eight to five hours, to the hour commute through Chicago rush hour traffic. I knew from the minute that I accepted the internship that it was going to be an amazing experience, but what I didn't expect was that it would teach about a lot more than just marketing.
Like everyone, I was a little nervous before my first day. I wasn't sure what to expect, and as someone who wants to be prepared for everything, I didn't like that. However, the plunge into the real world didn't turn out to be so scary after all. I love all of my coworkers which makes coming into the office every day something I look forward to. Sure, the day is long, but once I get home in the evening, I can actually focus on spending time with my family and friends. There's no homework, no studying for exams and no worrying about grades. Not to mention, when I'm at the office, I actually enjoy the work I'm doing.
So, to the college senior who's terrified of the "real world," I promise it's not as scary as it seems. Your employer isn't going to expect you to come in already knowing everything, and it's okay if you make a few mistakes here and there, everyone does. You'll meet friends who make coming to work fun and you'll find mentors who will help you navigate through these new waters. Sure, it's going to be quite a bit different from college, but that doesn't mean it's going to be worse.
I'm still very much looking forward to my senior year, and I'm certainly not wishing that time away, but I'm also looking forward to life after college now that I got a little taste of it. College may have been the best three years of my life thus far, but that doesn't mean that it's going to be all downhill from there.