You know what yanks my Cord…

…People who talk university students down by stereotyping the university life as not the “real world.”

Here is an example: “Once you get to the real world, you have to worry about bills and you can’t party all the time!” This statement or similar sentiments are things I hear constantly.

It assumes two things: students do not have bills to worry about and that all university students party all the time. Both of those statements could not be further from the truth. Often those who will defend this “real world” concept will say that university students are sheltered from a lot of pressures of the “outside world” (another common concept).

No, I do not have a mortgage payment and no, I do not have children to raise, but that does not mean I am sheltered, lazy or not in touch with the “real world.” I work hard, pay for my own education (with the help of loans) and pay bills like rent, utilities, car insurance, gas and food (in addition to the textbooks, tuition and other fees). I get involved in various extra-curricular activities to learn and grow, but also give back — despite the fact that I could be working a few more hours at my job or on academics. I often will skip meals because I either do not have time because of all the things I have to do or simply do not have the cash to do it. One of the major reasons that I do not drink is because it is too expensive. In other words, I have to worry about my finances too.

So, yes there are students out there one could say live a “sheltered life” because they did not have to worry about the costs they incur, but there are equally as many people in the so-called “real world” that are in a similar position. The fact is that post-secondary life brings many different challenges than life after school, but it also presents many similar challenges like financial crunches, priority-setting and effective time management. It depends on the individual situation, not whether they are in school or the workforce. To dismiss these challenges as inconsequential compared to the “real world” is simply ignorant. I implore students to challenge those who use this concept the next time you hear it.

—Nick Gibson

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