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The ‘real world,’ without a net

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


their futures.

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

very far.

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