“College is a refuge from hasty judgement.” -Robert Frost

Going to college is a defining decision in your life, and I know very few people* who didn’t need a college degree to do what they wanted. Those who did not go to college are heavily considering going back, at minimum. For my parents’ generation, going to college was quickly becoming the expectation instead of the exception. For my generation, it is the standard.

I already wrote about how college is harder than people remember, which I still hold is true. Where I think the disconnect comes from, though, is that college does not necessarily prepare you for the corporate working world.

I’m not saying you don’t learn a lot, or that you’re not used to working this hard. Honestly, in a lot of my classes I worked harder than in a few of my jobs. Which makes sense; I think the mental strain of university-level work should be much harder than that of an entry-level job. If you’re going to said university for an actual degree, that is.

What I mean is that you’re not ready for the time involved. If you work for a corporation, you are expected to show up to the office eight hours a day, every day**. There is no room for maneuvering, not even slightly. Sure, you can sneak in five minutes late or so, but your supervisor will notice more than you think if you try to cut out early as well. There is no real flexibility: you have to arrive on time and stay until the end of the day. You cannot spontaneously decide to take a break from the soul-sucking routine.

What this means is that your time at work is grueling, and long. Most entry-level jobs have only a handful, or less, of roles that you need to fill. So even if you’re busy all day, you spend the entire time doing the same job over and over again. It’s kind of like high school, actually.

Going to College teaches you a lot of important skills, and among those is how to manage your time. What I ended up forgetting, though, was how to manage my time when it is so very limited. And so I experienced a rather large culture shock when I took my first full-time job. I was more prepared to start working for myself than to work for someone else.
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*= i.e. probably no one.

**= And if you’re hourly, they get so obsessed over when you clock in and out that you begin to wonder if they were traumatized by their parents arriving late to things when they were a child.

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