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Students need to understand harsh realities of the modern world to succeed

By Andrew Kemle, September 22, 2017 —

Thomas Hobbes was right — life is nasty, brutish and too short for most to achieve their dreams. It’s best for students to recognize this now, since fourth- or fifth-year students only have a few precious months left before entering the so-called “adult world.”

Most students — if they find employment at all — will end up in jobs they hate, possibly up to 71 per cent according to a Gallup poll. This might be inevitable for students that go into a degree solely because they believe it will lead to a well-paying job. Other students may simply find the job market unwelcoming.

But finding a job that you like won’t guarantee happiness either. Other people can always spoil your day too. IWG plc surveyed American workers and found that 49 per cent of employees in mid- to large- sized companies hated their coworkers.

Recent or soon-to-be graduates have other issues to be concerned about, like stagnant wages or affording the cost of living. Many are ignorant of the harsh world graduates are entering. But the point of acknowledging this reality isn’t to sulk. Part of recognizing what awaits you post-graduation is taking advantage of the little opportunities.

These opportunities will most often take the form of voting. Being politically aware enough to vote for candidates willing to lessen student debt represents a step toward bettering your future.  

Rejecting the idea that you owe your boss the majority of your life is also important for your mental health. Developing hobbies goes a long way, but that’s only possible if you reject the idea that your work defines you — and if you have the financial security to enjoy what free time you actually have.

Our saving grace is that we’re relatively young. Beyond taking the world at face value, our ability to seek out opportunities for happiness and to course-correct our life isn’t out of reach yet. We can at least prevent the real world from blindsiding us right out of the gate. In a world with far too many problems to count, at least we can hold on to that.   

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