Why isn't College Part of the "Real World"?

You've heard it before. You've probably said it, too. I know I have. I'm in college, and I'm making my plans...for the real world. You know, that magical place that exists after college is through? We like to think of the real world as some adult realm outside of college, but we need to start recognizing that college is VERY MUCH a part of the real world. 

Okay, most of us college students have fewer responsibilities than the average adult out of college. We probably aren't worrying about auto, home, or life insurance. We have class five days a week but we have the summer off. Odds are, we're still on our parents' phone plan. Still, we're all adults and we contribute to society regardless of our student status.  

 I may be a student, but I still have a say. I voted. Real world. I work. Real world. I pay taxes and pay rent and explore my community. So yeah, this world is pretty real to me.

I believe that by referring to our adult futures outside of college as "real world," we create a false universe where we think we're safe and free to make mistakes that wouldn't be acceptable outside of the college culture. But college doesn't make you invincible or invisible. The choices you make still have consequences and impacts on your peers and your future.

So, instead of thinking of ourselves as nonparticipants in the real world, it's time we get real. That mythical real world? We're living in it. It's time we all start to see that.