We all know school is supposed to teach us lessons that will help us in the future. (And as veteran students we know that this pretty much doesn’t really happen). Among everything I’ve learned in college (biological systems, math equations, spanish literature), there’s one thing I wish I didn’t learn. It’s made the transition to adulthood at least 3x harder, and if I could go back in time smack myself four years ago and to warn myself against this…I would.
So what is this terrible, awful, no good, horrendous thing I’ve learned during college?
Always look for a shortcut so you don’t have to do hard work.
It’s absolutely baffling how students can learn to do the least and somehow get moderately acceptable results. It’s almost like a game. How little can I do to get my diploma?
Procrastination is like a law for some students. If you don’t procrastinate and try to cram everything all in one night, can you really say you went to college?
This culture of shortcuts stems from a lot of different factors.
Some students are naturally just not as motivated in classes that don’t interest them.
The classes are taught by incompetent professors, thus the desire to succeed has decreased.
The student has way too much on their plate outside of school (financial instability, relationship problems, family problems, mental health, etc.).
Oh yeah, and in terms of academics- there’s TOO MUCH TO DO!! Students are literally overwhelmed with assignments and readings that fill up their planners.
What I’m saying is, the reasons for not putting in hard work is absolutely endless. Usually students are just stretched way too thin. Either way, it all muddles together to form this acceptable habit of not really putting in your best work because there’s always some shortcut to get acceptable results.
My mind was conditioned to think that it was okay to take the easiest route, because I’ll somehow get fantastic results.
Let me tell you, this habit and mindset absolutely crushed me the first year out of college.
I wanted to find an easy job to do, that was high paying, as quickly as possible. Was this a logical expectation- no. Did I still want a shortcut to a job after college? Yes.
Everything that wasn’t handed over to me after putting in “some kind of effort” was heartbreaking.
You mean spending 30 minutes on the job hunt won’t get me a job? Wow who would have thought?
You mean trying to start a blog after a week won’t get me thousands and thousands of viewers? Whaaat? That’s crazy talk!!
Or, you mean exercising for three days won’t get me defined abs that I so desire? Get out of here.
Wanting things without doing any work?
That’s called being entitled. You don’t get things because you’re a good person, you get things because you have to work for them.
This is such a simple sentiment, and it’s an incredibly privileged mentality to have in the first place. Either way, I feel like a lot of students who are uncomfortable and lost in life can relate to this “taking the shortcut” route. Life after college can be brutal, but I think it’s brutal because a lot of us treated college as this magical shortcut.
College= good jobs.
That’s it, that’s the formula we were taught. So when it doesn’t become a reality, it’s hard to take in.
But in reality it’s:
Entry Level Experience= Shitty Jobs
Shitty Entry Level Job + Years of Experience = An Okay Job
An Okay Job + More Years of Experience + Networking= Better Jobs.
We can’t always have shortcuts anymore. That’s just life.
Now as someone starting from the bottom, hard work and resilience are things that I’m going to try to learn.
I hope this helps students who also have this mindset to slowly deconstruct it. Nothing will be handed to you so easily like it is in school/college. If you think college classes are tough…oh boy. That first year out of college will be a great slap of humble pie.
Of course a lot of students are already aware of this. This is more-so for the successful procrastinators. Just watch out. And please unlearn this lesson while you can.
For everyone who knows this, please warn your friends or peers. It will save a lot of students from an uncomfortably rough transition after college.