What should I do to transition from school into the Real World?


Take everything you can.

I don’t mean this as some sort of carpe diem, inspired metaphor. I mean, before you leave your campus, take as much as you can: furniture, lamps, carpeting, dishes. College tuition is rising faster than the uselessness of Congress. We don’t know exactly why, but we can all agree that physical goods, especially those that help one live in a post-college apartment, have actual value. Even if you didn't get a good education, you can at least reduce your IKEA budget significantly. Take everything you can.

Eliminate your rich friends

The economics of actual living, especially in this economy, require you to manage your costs more aggressively than at earlier points in your life. This is harder if you keep your rich friends around. They are not like you. They can drink whenever they want and have no concerns for happy hour pricing. They can eat at restaurants all the time. And they will suggest you join them for these activities all the time because they aren’t real people. They are androids sent here from a just world where everyone has a chance to realize their dreams, and they shit bricks... made of gold. If you are the rich friend, activate your empathy subroutine, and pretend you're not.

Join a local organization comprised of more than recent college grads

It could be a reading group, volunteer organization or terrorist sleeper cell. I just want you to make an effort to break out of your bubble. Most of your professors didn't teach you anything usable, and your friends don't know anything yet. You've had enough classroom learning. Hang out with some people who've paid rent, birthed a baby or yelled at a city councillor. You will be better for it.

Look up from your screen

You may have gotten used to Facebook and texting being the center of your life. If you went to a school with a campus, you could walk around with your attention buried in your smartphone, and the worst thing that could happen was maybe you'd step on a squirrel or get grazed by a cyclist or skateboarder. In the actual world, you will be run over and crushed by a car or a delivery truck or both because they don't think you're as precious as you've been told you are. You cannot exactly control how you die, but you can generally avoid dying like an idiot. Look up from your screen. There's a whole 3D immersive world right there for you to interact with.