"The real world is being responsible for your education; waking up on time, financing your education, and staying on top of your studies. It means you can no longer rely on your parents to do your laundry or cook your dinner. Oh, how I wish I could go back to the days of being a teenager, I did not have a worry in the world. Out here in the real world, there are bills to be paid, a job to wake up to and children to be fed."
After eighteen years of searching, the only world I knew was the world I lived in and I wasn’t prepared to throw everything I’ve learned throughout my childhood for a crack at the “real world." Sure, I want responsibility. In fact, I crave responsibility. There’s something empowering about making decisions that produce great results. However, when I enter college, I don’t want my responsibilities to define me. I refuse to allow myself to get so saddled with responsibilities that I forget to have fun. College, my real world, and the one I am preparing to enter in a little over two months, is much more than a place to tackle new responsibilities. My real world is a place to discover who I am, what I can do, and most importantly, who I can impact.
I’m not going to worry about what time I wake up for class. Instead, I’ll worry about waking up in time to catch a good morning jog. I’m not concerned about how long it takes to wash my laundry as long as I meet some new people along the way. Dinner, I don’t expect that to become a problem either. If anything, I’ll become more knowledgeable about microwavable meals. Rather than stress my responsibilities and strive to accomplish everything in the quickest way possible, I am going to focus on absorbing every experience and learning as much as I can.
The quickest way from point A to point B may be a straight line, but I don’t want quick, I want an adventure. As I prepare to move through college, I want my real world to be a rollercoaster. I still want my Breyer’s ice cream late night snack on Mondays and my three-hour naps on Fridays. I’m also ready to embrace all-nighters at the library or in downtown Miami. I want the highs with all the lows and when it’s all over in the end, I want to look back and say, “let’s do that again”.
My dad used to advise me to maintain a mind-over-matter attitude and, for much of my childhood, that was my mentality – until I stepped into high school and realized it was another cliché for motivation. I quickly dismantled that idea and adopted the attitude that, “I could do anything I set my mind to,” without realizing that was another cliché within itself. That attitude helped me survive four years of high school, but I don’t want to survive college, I want to bask in every experience thrown my way. I want to be the first in line for every opportunity that interests me and stand up for every cause that unsettles me. I don’t want to finish college the same way I finished high school" thinking that I has simply "survived." I want to enter college with the attitude of “this is my real world and I get to decide how to impact it."
I’ve come to the realization that the real world isn’t a land of secrets, or Narnia. In fact, the real world might be a phrase created to differentiate between life before and after high school graduation. Now my face no longer sours when someone welcomes me to the real world because I realize that my real world is whatever I choose to make it. It’s similar to when my high school principal handed me my diploma. I already earned the credits for graduation but without the diploma, it would be hard to prove myself a high school graduate. Welcome to the real world – it's just society’s version of a graduation ceremony.
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