October has arrived, and that means the temperature is beginning to drop, the leaves are beginning to change color, and for many, fall break is right around the corner. Fall break is a chance for students to leave campus life behind, at least for a little while, and remember what it’s like to not be in college. Of course, soon enough, college will be over for good, and students will be faced with the challenges of the real world.
To prepare, here are three major adjustments you’ll have to make when you graduate.
1. No More Meal Plans
One of the nicest parts of being a college student is having access to a meal plan. At nearly anytime, you can go to the campus dining hall and feast on whatever food you want. Plenty of schools aren’t even limited to just the dining hall: many campuses have programs that allow students to buy from campus restaurants using meal plans.
Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t have meal plans to choose from. After college, you’ll have to go grocery shopping and prepare your own meals.
2. Balancing a Budget
In college, managing money is hard enough. Plenty of expenses present themselves, from paying tuition to hitting the town and having fun, and most jobs available don’t pay much more than minimum wage.
After college, of course, balancing a budget becomes much more complicated. Some students have a job available after graduating, but some don’t. Then come expenditures: how do you pay for groceries, rent, transportation, cellular service, clothing, and more? After college, you’ll have to learn how to find a budget that works for you and stick with it.
3. Learning a New Lifestyle
Whether you live in a college dorm or an apartment, you’re likely to have a roommate who is probably fairly similar to you. Your classes are probably filled with like-minded students who are the same age and share the same interests as you. College is unique in that for four years, you are surrounded by people who are more or less the same as you are, with a few exceptions.
Once you leave campus for good, you’ll encounter people you never dreamed existed. Colleges may flaunt their unending lists of majors and perfect balances of diversity, but the truth is there is no place more diverse than the world outside of college. You’ll meet people of all different ages, backgrounds, beliefs, and levels of education — and that’s a good thing. After all, there’s only so much you can learn from other college students.
While you should be having fun at college, it’s important to keep in mind that the real world is always just beyond the reach of campus. You’ll have to face it sooner than you think. Of course, while joining the real world means taking on new responsibilities, it also means enjoying new freedoms beyond those found at college. College can only teach you so much. You’ll learn so much more from living on your own in the world beyond, the real world.