It Ain’t That Bad On The Outside: Defending The Real World Versus College Life


You’ve heard it here a million times: “Life doesn’t get any better after college. It’s all downhill from here.”

But is it? Are things really all that bad once you cross that stage, shake hands with the dean, take your diploma, and find your place in the real world?

Sure, I miss binge drinking, midday naps, sexual experimentation, and Asher Roth just as much as the next guy, but life doesn’t go downhill after college. Here are a few things I think actually improved once I graduated.

Your Apartment

College: I don’t know about you, but mine was bastion of poorly assembled IKEA furniture with a bathroom not fit for human usage. Maybe you lived with two nocturnal computer engineering majors and a roommate who did nothing but occupy the couch, which forced you to abandon your “shared living space.” You also probably had a refrigerator filled with Keystone Light instead of food, a bare pantry save for the last pack of Ramen you would occasionally buy during your most recent non-alcoholic grocery run, and that box of Nature’s Valley protein bars you “totally saved for shredding season, bro.” Not to mention, there was an unkillable odor that seemed to come from everywhere. You learned to live with it.

Now: Look! Real Furniture! Well, kind of. It’s still IKEA, but you bought the $79 bookshelf instead of the $39 model. Good for you. Buy good once and never buy again, or whatever. There are decorations on the walls that aren’t “Boondock Saints” posters or that one Bob Marley poster where he’s smoking a joint and laughing. Your kitchen is actually full of food thanks to that Costco membership you bummed off your parents, and you may even have a dishwasher (lucky asshole). Your apartment might not be spotless, but you have one of those Glade things that plugs into the wall, so every three and a half minutes, your apartment smells as refreshing as “mountain spring.” Maybe you live with a significant other or a buddy or two. Maybe you live alone. At least the place isn’t getting completely trashed every other night, because who has the energy for that anymore?


College: You met a smoking hot sorority girl at a party, you landed her, finally got her home, and then realized you were both way too drunk to even enjoy it. You dated her for three semesters nonetheless, went to all of the date functions together, and got called the “married couple” of your group of college friends. You broke up junior or senior year, and both of you went on a tear of empty, meaningless revenge sex that would make even Charlie Sheen blush.

Now: You and your cute coworker get a little too drunk at happy hour and all of a sudden, you find yourself back at your place, hoping and praying to whatever god you worship (Jesus, Buddha, John Travolta) that you’ll break your five-month dry spell. Odds are, however, it’s probably been just as long for her as it has been for you, and she’s about ready to burst. She rocks your world four times in one night, and even makes you breakfast the next day. The last thing you ever say to each other is the plan you devise to walk into the office exactly 13 minutes before she does to avoid suspicion. Aside from a few awkward glances across the company meeting, it’s one of the best nights of your postgrad life–until the Christmas party, that is.


College: Crap. Mom and Dad forgot to restock your checking account again, so you had to go put in a few more hours at Jimmy John’s. Since most jobs at your school were probably reserved for work-study, your only option was delivering sandwiches to blacked out students at 3 a.m., wistfully thinking that you should have been one of them. You may have considered doing porn just to pay the bills.

Now: Sure, your paycheck isn’t all that impressive, and most of it goes to rent, utilities, and possibly alimony, but it’s probably better than minimum wage. You can upgrade from Ramen to fast food, basic cable to premium cable, and you don’t have to sell semen to buy an Xbox One–unless that’s how you get your kicks, in which case, who am I to stop you? Any money that doesn’t go toward you not getting evicted and not starving to death will end up going toward happy hour and takeout. Screw your 401(k). Who cares about retirement? That’s what mooching off your kids is for.

We all miss napping between classes, being within walking distance of our friends, social calendars that started on Thursday and ended on Monday, and incredibly poor decisions. But we forget about all the stuff that absolutely sucked about college: classes, asshole professors who refused to curve exams, all nighters, the awful people who referred to your library as “Club [insert library here],” and, worst of all, the people who wore cargo shorts and passed out flyers for their nonsense clubs.

You have freedom, money, and–crap, I gotta get back to work, I was supposed to submit those reports an hour ago. You get the idea.

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