COLUMN: Remember, College is the Real World
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 23:10
I’ve always been told that college is supposed to do more than just teach me information. Yes, I’m here to find out how to write well and do research and learn some straight facts about all sorts of subjects. But college, I’ve been told, is supposed to teach me something about the real world too.
I’ll let you in on the secret of this this so-called “real world:” I’ve seen it, and it’s not all that different from life here at BC.
Over the summer, I had an internship in Boston. I commuted to my 9-to-5 job every day, bought groceries, learned how to get three meals a day without relying on a prepaid plan, and paid for rent and utilities—all on my own. Granted, I didn’t have to deal with kids or mortgages that a rather large number of out-of-college adults do, but I did get a chance to live the way a recent college graduate might.
Now that I’m back at BC as a junior, not much has changed. In a funny way, BC didn’t prepare me for the real world—the real world prepared me for this school year. I’m still trying to find time to buy and cook food, call home, hang out with friends, and just unwind after going to class all day. If anything, my schedule has gotten busier now because my work follows me home in the form of essays and readings.
And yet, I’ve always been told that I’m so lucky to be spending four years here in the BC Bubble before I have to go to the “real world.”
True, we don’t have to deal with all of the problems of the real world. I’m living on campus this year and thankfully don’t have to worry about paying rent anymore, and more than half of the other students living on campus have the convenience of a meal plan. For many of us, our job is to go to school—not to make money in order to survive.
I still think that college life is a very good representation of what our lives will be like in the first few years after we graduate, because there’s a lot that won’t change just because we live in an apartment instead of a dorm room.
In addition to the fact that my life now is far busier than it was in the so-called real world over the summer, I feel like I live in a miniature city.
BC has a variety of media outlets that strive to keep us informed, just like any major city would. The students involved with Eagle EMS, our emergency medical service, provide medical care to students who then go to the infirmary—our very own miniature hospital.
We cheer for sports teams that represent BC, the same way the Patriots and Bruins represent Boston. And speaking of representation, we elect a government to deal with the issues we feel are important. While BCPD isn’t staffed by students, we still have our own personal police force on campus.
This city, like any other, doesn’t exist in a vacuum—its inhabitants regularly interact with those of other cities. Every time you take the T, go to a football game, or shop somewhere off-campus, you’re interacting with “real” people in the “real world.” Most of us are not oblivious to what’s going on beyond our little stretch of Comm. Ave.
So yes, we’ve got it good here. For all of the craziness we have to deal with as college students, there are still many things we can avoid for now. I can tell you, though, that I’ve gotten a pretty healthy dose of this “real world” that everyone’s been telling me about, and it’s not quite as hectic as they make it sound. It’s not even as crazy as being a junior in college. Transitioning back into the swing of college life was actually a lot more difficult than it was to transition out for the summer.
Believe it or not, we’re in the real world already.