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“The Real World,” from the Perspective of a Junior in College

When I think about “The Real World,” what comes to mind is an image of me after college, working full-time, paying my rent and utility bills, seeing a few friends on the weekends, mostly spending my time at work. At first, I think that as a college student, since I have yet to live on my own, I haven’t entered “The Real World,” but then I begin to think about the jobs I’ve had, the grocery shopping I’ve done, the meals I’ve prepared, and about the many experiences I’ve had so far, and I remember that I have been a part of “The Real World” for my whole life. I believe that the term “The Real World” needs to be redefined, lest it disregard the experiences of people that may not have lived on their own, but have certainly faced the realities and hardships of life.

What constitutes “The Real World” is completely up to personal interpretation. Everyone has their own experiences in “The Real World” based on their employment, their location, and many other factors, so this raises the question, what even is “The Real World?” Is it having a full-time job? Is it simply having any job? Is “The Real World” defined by something else completely, some other thing that is supposed to identify when someone has become an “adult?” Do these definitions assume that anyone college-aged or below is not part of “The Real World?” I think plenty of college students, and others even younger, have experienced their fair share of hardships that have necessitated the responsibility and work ethic commonly associated with adulthood. Thus, in my opinion, “The Real World” should not be defined in terms of employment or student status, but in terms of the responsibilities that one has in their day-to-day life. I also believe that it is not up to others to define if you are a member of “The Real World,” as only you know what you have experienced and what things you face on a daily basis.

In short, don’t let others take away from your experiences by claiming you haven’t yet joined “The Real World” because, not only does no one truly understand your life and your experiences, but it would likely be quite difficult for others to articulate what actually defines “The Real World.”

Amanda Ennis

Colgate '22

I am currently a junior at Colgate University with a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. I enjoy running, playing badminton, watching Netflix, and hanging out with friends in my free time!
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