Is . . . Is This Real Life???
Sometimes I feel like David After Dentist when I think about my time here at Dordt. “Is this real life?” It feels like it is – I mean, I’m living, right? Doesn’t that make my college experience part of my “real life”? Yet so often we hear from our friends, parents, or professors that our brief time at college is “not real life.”
On the one hand, I can understand what they mean. Never again will we be in a place so dominated by people our age, never again will we have so much free time, never again will we have so little responsibility. In the big scheme of things, these four years will look nothing like the majority of our time spent on earth. In that sense, college is not “real life.”
On the other hand, that perspective, in my opinion, is a dangerous perspective to hold. The belief that college is not “real life” can lead to the assumption that the college years don’t matter – that they have no bearing or effect on the rest of one’s “real life.”
Such thinking could not be farther from the truth. College is “real life” in that the habits and patterns of living that we develop here will determine the way we live after college. If we procrastinate on our homework assignments now, we will not magically stop procrastinating on our “real life” assignments like balancing budget or filling papers for work later. If we habitually live paycheck-to-paycheck in college, a slightly larger paycheck will not suddenly stop us from habitually living paycheck-to-paycheck after college.
The habits we form in college will, without a doubt, determine the way we live after college. In that sense, college is “real life,” and the more students who understand that, the better.
All that said, don’t waste your time at college. These four short years are some of the most formative years of our lives and should not be taken lightly. They are not insignificant or isolated from all the other years of our lives. It’s not “gonna be forever,” like David thought, but the habits we form here will influence our lifestyles far into the future.