13 College Women Admit They're Afraid of the Real World

The real world…it sounds scary, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be, but it certainly can be. But what are we really afraid of? We asked 13 college women to tell us what spooks them about the real world — read on!

“My greatest fear about the ‘real world’ is probably that I will end up in a well-paying job that doesn't make me happy, or that I'll end up with a job I do really like but find that it isn't financially sound. I feel like those two pressures are constant, and as often as I hear some iteration of 'Do what you love!' or 'Your salary doesn't really mean anything if you're unhappy!', I also know that fiscal insecurity is a reality I do not want to confront.”

-Julia, Barnard College Class of 2018

“I'm a history major, so I'm terrified I'll never find a job. I'm afraid I'll graduate, search for a job and have nothing. I'm worried that I'll finish four years of studying, stressing, hard work, and determination and end up working in a dead end job, doing something I hate and drowning in student debt. Basically, I'm afraid that everything I'll have done in university will mean nothing in the real world.”

-Addi, Wilfrid Laurier University Class of 2018

“My biggest fear is the uncertainty of it all. We've all been somewhat sheltered from some pretty real things that will happen once when we're on our own. I think the idea of finding a full-time job seems really intimidating especially compared to finding an internship. We don't have school or classes to fall back on — unless you're on your way to grad school!”

-Katelyn, Emerson College Class of 2016

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“Honestly, I'm terrified about moving away from the friends I've had for the past four years. I've talked with my older brother about what life after college is like, and he's told me that at the end of the day, your coworkers will always be your coworkers and it can be hard to find new friends. It'll be weird having to start over in a new city without a dorm to facilitate friendships.”

-Jeniece, Case Western Reserve University Class of 2016

“Failing. I have all these big plans I talk about all the time and I'm afraid there is too much competition and not enough jobs in my dream career. I'm afraid of having to settle for something or remaining stagnant in order to pay bills and student loans.”

-Danika, Western Washington University Class of 2016

“I'm in the process of getting a film degree from a liberal arts college, and I hope to write movies or television shows as a career. This is a very hard field to get started in and actually make a career out of. My biggest fear is that I'll move out to LA after graduation and never actually ‘make it.’ I'm afraid that I'll be that clichéd waitress trying to make it in Hollywood for the rest of my life. I'm afraid that people will talk about my ‘wasted potential’ and how I should have gotten ‘a real job’ — and most of all, I'm afraid that they'll be right.”

-Paige, Kenyon College Class of 2018

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“My dream job is to be a full-time writer, and it does scare me that it might end up not working out. Also, I'm a little terrified of having to manage my finances post-graduation.”

-Aimee, UC Davis Class of 2017

“I think my biggest fear is complacency — I see so many people around me just watching their lives pass as they're in the same job, same place, or just generally without a lot of change. I never want to wake up and realize life has passed me by, and I fear that as I have more priorities and responsibilities in the ‘real world,’ life will just start passing me by.”

-Katherine, Molloy College Class of 2016

“I fear failure and the uncertainty that comes with it. I want to have a career I like and to be financially stable with a place of my own and anything less than that to me is failure. I don't think I'm setting the bar too high but I do worry that I won't be able to handle it. If I'm not able to accomplish those goals, I don't know what I'm going to do. But I try not to think about it too much. I believe that in the end everything will work out for the best but what exactly ‘the best’ may look like no one can know for sure.”

-Hannah, Framingham State University Class of 2017

“My biggest fear is that I won't leave an impact on the world meaning that my years in college, my years of hard work, all of that will have been wasted. I believe we are here to do so much more than work, pay bills, and die. I'm most afraid that's all I will have done with my life.”

-Cieara, Boise State University Class of 2018

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“I've been in school for so long that I'm afraid that I won't know what to do with myself once I graduate. I feel like I don't know how to be anything other than a student.”

-Regina, McGill University Class of 2016

“I desperately want to live in New York City after I graduate, but the cost of rent in NYC is terrifying to me, especially as someone who wants to work in public relations, a field that doesn't always have the best salary when you're first starting out. I love New York, and it would be worth it, but I'm also afraid of the stress of living paycheck to paycheck all the time.”

-Caroline, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Class of 2018

“One of my biggest fears about entering ‘the real world’ is that there won't be as much time to mess around and have fun, like there is in college. Also, thinking about supporting myself is pretty scary too!”

-Rachel, James Madison University Class of 2017