Advice for College Grads on Adjusting To “Real Life”

College Grads: Survive “Real Life” By Being Yourself
by Brian Connor, author of From Bud To Blow

College life is fake life. Class three hours a day (if you even go), nothing on Fridays, smoking and binge watching an entire TV show or drinking till bar close on a Tuesday. It’s a young adult utopia. So how do you transition out of that? How could you possibly survive in the real world? Simple. Tone it down a little.

People act like leaving that lifestyle is some big mystery. I go on recruiting visits to different colleges and get asked all the time “how do I prepare myself for the real world?” or “what can I do to better myself moving forward?” And I just look at these kids and want to tell them “well I’m hungover as shit sitting here right now, so you tell me?” As if I volunteered to go on the recruiting trip to actually recruit and not just drink on my company’s dime at a college campus again. And let’s not even talk about the recruiters themselves. Most were such big partiers in college they couldn’t get the actual job, so they joined the recruiting team.

At some point the phrase “the real life” was created, and since then people have looked down on college kids like they are these incompetent and immature idiots. But how long has it been since you were on the other side of that hate? One year? Three years? Weren’t we all those college kids at some point?

See, the biggest problem I have with “real life” is that the people are actually fake. You can call college life fake all you want. Because it is. It’s a bubble that 18-22 year olds live in for four years, then it pops and they go back to having normal schedules and responsibilities. So sure, it’s fake. But what you can’t say is the people themselves are fake. They are as real as it gets. If I had a group project in college, there was no beating around the bush with scheduling. We would tell each other if we had party plans, admit if we were hungover, call people out if they didn’t do their work, we were real. And we always got everything done on time.

In “real life” people walk around the office like robots and act like they’ve been these true-blood professionals their entire lives. It’s as if their personality is sucked from their body every time they walk in the office. But just three years ago those same people were probably Googling if their company drug tested while waiting to be interviewed by a hungover recruiter. So what happened in three years? Where did their personality go? You ever wonder why company parties get out of control? Because the alcohol turns everyone back from robots to real. And people just aren’t used to being real in the real world.

So ok, yes, you will have to adjust to waking up before noon on a weekday. But you did that from ages 6 to 18. The only difference is now you’ll be getting paid to wake up early. So you’ll live. All you need to do is tone it down a little. Party twice a week not four times. But even then, the older you get the less you want to party. That’s not just Hollywood talk about “getting old.” That shit’s real. It’ll hit you too.

But regardless, a note to college kids reading this: We were you. We still are you. The only difference is we’ve had to slowly add responsibilities to our lives starting the day we graduated. That’s it. There is no rude awakening, nothing you need to prepare yourself for, you just get a job and start working. It’s like starting a new class. The first week is confusing, but they tell you exactly what you need to do, so just do that, learn on the fly, find the right times to slack off, and make sure you always get your shit done. Don’t turn into a robot, don’t get your personality sucked out of you, just be prepared to tone down the vices a little bit.

Ultimately just imagine yourself two years from now… Great, be that guy. Because that guy has gotten you this far.

Brian Connor once convinced a police officer when he was 16 that he had to drive on the front lawn of his elementary school for his own safety. And has been making up stories ever since. Brian was born and raised in Chicago and graduated from Indiana University in 2013. This is his first published story.

From Bud To Blow is available at

For more information, visit and connect with the author on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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