by guest blogger Nicole Gittleman

College Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds, Sun Rays and Sky.The transition from high school to college is a very prominent one. Some high school students move away from home, many to a university where they don’t know anyone.  Classes normally become much more intellectually stimulating, meaning you can’t get away with doing your homework in homeroom anymore. For those students who dorm, it’s probably the first time they’re away from their parents for an extended period of time, the first time having a roommate other than their sibling, and the first time having to figure out their own meals. It’s often the first time they experience doing their own laundry among countless other things.

College is filled with difficult questions both in the classroom and outside of the classroom. I would even go so far as to say the leap from high school to college is similar to the transition that a couple goes through after having a baby. In high school, your parents are nurturing and you’re in a safe zone. In college, you gain more responsibility for yourself and things can often get messy.

So when my college graduation neared, I didn’t know what to expect. It was the senior year of college I had always dreamed to have. I had a wonderful steady boyfriend who always believed in my goals, an awesome group of friends who always had my back, and a network of eternally supportive adults from my university. I went to as many date nights, happy hours, community service events, and campus events I could because I knew that my time in college, as it should, was about to run out.

In January, I had landed an internship that I couldn’t be more excited about. It was a place that empowered females and worked specifically with emerging women’s beauty and fashion brands. Right up my alley. But ultimately, my goal was to have a job by graduation. I was President of the Student Government, only taking 3 classes, and enjoying a senior year lifestyle. I was so not ready for the real world, or was I? What even IS the real world?

It’s important to realize that when people talk about the “real world,” they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. Not that I’m an expert, but I’m pretty sure all of us live in the real world. This idea that we have to wait until after college to join the “real world” is nonsense. Sure, when you start working and becoming financially independent things change, but let’s start defining that as the “adult world.” The real world is here and its now and you should absolutely be enjoying it to its fullest. Cheesy, I know, but work hard and play hard and love hard.

Mentors Make Things Happen

But for college students, here’s the lesson I want you all to get out of reading this: do your homework before homeroom. Don’t wait until the last bell to catch up. Because I put my heart into each of the four years I had at college, my hard work began to pay off my senior year. As a student leader, I always believed in the motto “If serving is below you, leading is beyond you.” After years of serving in Student Government, Panhellenic, and other organizations, I had learned what it truly meant to lead, and how to manage all types of situations and people, a life skill that requires time and patience. I made long lasting relationships, formed unbelievable friendships, realized the kinds of people I want to be around and the kinds that I don’t (it’s okay to say that!).

Come April, all of the love that I had pouring out of me the past four years began to boomerang back in multiplied amounts. I never felt that people weren’t grateful for my service to them as a leader or friend, but I also had never felt the immense amounts of love I received the last two months of my senior year. I accepted a job from a company looking for an older candidate because they saw my potential. I won the Greek Life Leader of Year Award and the Student Life Leader of the Year award from my university.

All in all, I don’t want you to read this and think, “Wow, she sounded busy and probably had no real college night life experience!” Many people would assume that. There were many nights I had to turn down a night out because I had an event or meeting in the morning, and there were plenty of nights I was the last one at the bar. I think my success in college was a result of the fact that people recognized my leadership, they recognized my dedication to the success of my peers, and they recognized that I also like to have fun.

So, enjoy the real world and don’t be scared for “adult life.” If you’re succeeding now, you’ll succeed later. And if you’re not succeeding now, just remember that even if you don’t do your homework before homeroom, there’s always tomorrow to start fresh.

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