College vs. The Real World

Leaving Penn State was tough. I made so many memories in Happy Valley that it was a difficult transition to go through. Though I lived up all four years I spent at PSU, I can’t help but occasionally think, “Why did I ever leave?”

I’m seven months into my career at a great company with an awesome boss (also a PSU alum), and I’d like to share some thoughts to those of you who are about to graduate, have recently graduated, or even current underclassmen.

I present to you: 
Mel’s College Experience vs. Real Life Experience

1. In college you will make the best friends of your life. This is not an understatement. As much as I enjoy my work friends, my roommate, and my fellow rock climbers, nothing compares to the countless nights spent at Cafe (or, let’s be honest, Indigo) with my best friends. Nothing. Your friends will end up all over the country, and sometimes it’s tough to not have them by your side when you are having a bad day. Embrace new friendships as they come, but never lose touch with your college friends. Because they are awesome.

2. Go to every weird event you can find. Penn State brings in tons of speakers, artists, musicians, etc. that you will most likely pay a lot more to see once you are out of college…if you even get to experience something similar. I seriously encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and attend something you would never think of attending. Maybe it’s just because I worked for Onward State and it forced me to go to events I normally wouldn’t, but I regret nothing (well, except that one time I had to photograph the Homecoming Parade in the snow. That sucked.). But I will just let you know…in real life, going to a drag show on a Wednesday night is not normal. Do that while you are in college.

3. Learn how to manage money in college. Set up a savings account. Even if it’s only adding $25/month. Not only will you have a good chunk of change once you graduate, but it will create better habits for when you seriously have to manage your own money. Also, use mint.com. That site is the shit.

4. Go out. As much. As possible. Obviously, don’t let your grades suffer from it. But you will not get the chance to get hammered on a Monday at Mad Mex and wake up whenever you please the next day because your classes don’t start until 1 p.m. You are waking up at 6 a.m.  no matter what when you’re rocking that 8-5. It’s much better waking up at the crack of dawn without a hangover (or still being drunk…).

5. Don’t listen to Dirk Mateer. You can absolutely find relationships outside of college. For those of you who do not get that reference, Dirk Mateer is an Economics professor at Penn State who states that since there is such a dense population of people around us around the same age, sharing similar interests, if we did not find our soul mate during college, we would be much less likely to find him or her in the real world. Lies! There are so many different ways to meet significant others, that you will be safe after college. So do not fret! (Though, you will have to put forth effort.)

I know there are many other recent graduates who are going through the same thing as I am, but I hope you are all grasping what it’s like to finally be an “adult.” For me, honestly, it’s actually a pretty great life. It’s just different. 

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About the Author

Melanie Versaw

Melanie is a senior majoring in both Marketing and Advertising. She enjoys blowing bubbles, beating boys in Mario Kart, and going to concerts. Oh, and she takes photographs, as well.

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