Following a recent college graduation, a group of young adults lamented the fact that things were probably going to be different. They are no longer on their parents’ payroll. They are expected to find work and pay their bills. No more summers or semester breaks.
The big question is, are they prepared to handle life in the real world?
Charles J. Sykes, author of Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good about Themselves, but Can't Read, Write, or Add, wrote an op-ed entitled, Some Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School for the San Diego Union Tribune. Though Sykes wrote the piece more than a decade ago, many would argue that the rules still apply.
Life is not fair.
The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as your school does. It'll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.
You won't make $40,000 a year right out of school.
If you think your teacher is tough, wait 'til you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he's not going to ask you how you feel about it.
Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity.
It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of "It's my life," and "You're not the boss of me," and other eloquent proclamations of your generation.
Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. Before you save the rainforest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.
Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn't. In some schools, they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.
Life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get summers off. They expect you to show up every day for eight hours. Very few jobs are interested in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself.
Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs.
Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them.
Smoking does not make you look cool.
You are not immortal.
Enjoy this while you can. Sure, parents are a pain, school's a bother and life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now.