One of the silliest things you’ll hear as a new graduate is “now
you’re entering the real world.”
High school is the real world. There are real pains and struggles,
as well as love and triumph.
What graduates are entering is the real world without a safety
net. Even bad parents and teachers are supposed to make sure kids
have enough to eat and a place to sleep. After graduating, kids
suddenly are responsible for their own everyday lives, not to mention
Of course, to the new graduate, that lack of safety net only
translates into freedom. Sweet, amazing, shocking freedom.
Parents who would love to keep their children safe at home to
cuddle on a regular basis send them off to college, off to who knows
what. Suddenly there’s 24-hour access to new friends and a world full
of experiences, both good and bad, safe and unsafe. This is the time
that parents cross their fingers and hope everything they taught
their kids will stick.
Many young college students spend their first year or two testing
that freedom and those experiences. Sometimes it takes that time for
a young adult to realize that they really are the only ones who can
determine their future -- and that a life of partying won’t get them
But for parents who did teach their children well, who emphasized
education, self-worth and responsibility, the future really is
bright. Even the kids who lose sight for a moment and get overwhelmed
by the freedom usually come back to the straight and narrow if
they’ve been taught well.
And for those young adults who feel they didn’t have the support
they needed at home, this is the time to take control of your life
and make it what you’ve always wanted. Professors and fellow students
can provide invaluable encouragement, along with your own realization
that it’s in your hands.
In the meantime, enjoy the summer. Earn some money, head out to
the beach or into the mountains, and spend all the time you can with
family and friends, because, while it’s not fair to say you’ll be
entering the “real world,” it is fair to say things will never be the