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Taking a new step is always a challenge. It is very true in relation to the transition between college and the first “grown-up” experience, as the decisions made during this time form the basis for all the next years. Sadly, many graduates are similar to Sheldon Cooper from CBS television series Big Bang Theory, the genius theoretical physicist, totally unadapted to the everyday life requirements. University professors teach to write research papers and to perform a specific job, but there is no course “How to Survive in a Grown-up World” in a program. California Polytechnic State Pomona University admits it openly: “Sometimes the toughest thing about college isn’t college itself, but what comes immediately afterward” (Velasco). In my opinion, a typical Cal Poly student is not fully prepared for the “real world” and has to acquire the fundamental skills of adult existence on their own.
By “real world” I do not even mean entering the workforce which is a tremendous stress itself, but the ability to deal with everyday problems efficiently. It may depend on every single person, but some of my classmates, always getting the high grades and passing the exams brilliantly, struggle desperately to keep their current expenses within credit cards limits, to pay bills at time, or to calculate the average car gasoline consumption. They have graduated from a public high school without these skills and, most probably, will not gain them in the University. In fact, these are just small quantitative slip, nothing terrible. But it is possible to assume that later these people can experience difficulties in decision-making, job-searching, and time-management. They work well with text-based information but cannot keep a casual conversation. They never set goals such as “obtain health insurance,” “establish a positive credit history,” or “save money for vacation,” and, consequently, will hardly achieve them.
My judgments may seem too sharp, but I have already passed my quarter-life crisis and know what I am talking about. The real world will not tolerate immaturity. Sooner or later, it makes the recent graduates deal with serious tasks. As for me, I had a perfect life as a freshman, taking classes in subjects I liked and attending all the parties. I worked part-time to get some money, always spent more, and was sure everything was ahead of me. I felt young, special, and carefree. Suddenly, my situation changed and I had to discover the full-time job, loans to pay, and all the other adult’s obligations which hit me hard. Now I feel much more secure and always have a backup plan, but this experience cost me some years.
Thus, my advice to California Polytechnic State Pomona University (and any other higher educational establishment) students is to plan their future and prepare themselves for the possible challenges in advance. Of course, they are young and creative, understand new technologies and are ready to change the world. Unfortunately, this is not enough. In his interview, Richard Arum, New York University Professor, assumes that college graduates “didn't develop critical thinking, complex reasoning [skills] and the ability to communicate in writing” (Korn). Therefore, during the college years they should learn not only Technical Science and Humanities, but also receive some practical skills. The knowledge about how to plan personal budget, how to choose a credit card, and what sum to save every month is necessary. The same concerns the time: there are tasks, such as to deliver the course paper or to fill the car tank, to do within the term. I am sure that the more thoroughly today’s student structures their life, the easier their transition to adult world will pass. As for me, I had compiled to-do-list of the most important issues and studied them long ago.
Soon after graduation, many recent students discover that they are quite unprepared for the real world, and this realization can be really frustrating. The university diploma is not a pass to a perfect future, and there is nouniversal recipe for being an adult. The true measure of success is not college grades but the real skills to deal with difficulties, effectively meet the challenges, and use the opportunities. I think that a typical California Polytechnic State Pomona University student is not perfectly prepared for real life, as the University professors do not teach this. Students have to develop skills of financial planning, time management, networking, and other important qualities by themselves. And the better they do it, the more successful in the real world they will be. I walked this way by myself and I confirm that it works.