Top 10 Surprising Things College Doesn’t Prepare You For

There are so many perks to going to college. First off, there is the independence you finally obtain, the new friendships you gain, the endless parties you attend, and of course, building the bridge for your future career. High school, as you know, is supposed to prepare you for college and college is supposed to prepare you for the obstacles life might bring upon you. It definitely does that in one way or another, but there are unexpected things it does not get you ready for at all. This is when you have to use your own skills to the test to conquer those mishaps.

I actually graduated college a few months ago, so take it from an expert. Throughout my college years, I constantly would ask myself, “Why haven’t I learned this?” I spent so many countless hours on my English papers and chemistry outlines, which pains me to this day because I knew that would never help me in a real-life situation.

If colleges aren’t going to help you out with situations you will encounter, then you should teach yourself a few things and be ready for anything that life throws at you. Asking advice from your professors will not hurt either. If you learn these 10 things that college doesn’t prepare you for, you will be in good shape.


1. Doing Things Without Technology

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The world has never been more invested in the use of technology as it is today. We pretty much know how to do everything with technology. Professors push us toward taking notes on our laptops during lectures, teach us how to use programs such as Excel or InDesign, and even submit our work online. There are even online classes offered, which means it is solely on your computer. Teachers do a great job of teaching us how to do things with technology, but not a great job of teaching us how to do things without it. Think about it, have you ever done something without your phone or computer? I don’t think so. Obviously, technology is growing more and more each day, but what if your computer crashes? Then what? That 20-page book report is gone forever and you have no way of getting it back. What if your phone falls in the toilet (I am guilty of that one)! Sometimes we have to step back from what we are used to and do things the old-fashioned way. Just ask your parents what they did without technology because their upbringing was without it!


2. How To Manage Your Time Wisely

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Your schedule in college is a little bizarre because every day is different from the next. There were days I was able to sleep till 1 p.m., and then there were days I would have to wake up at 6 a.m. because I had so much to do. This happened to me because I never really knew how to manage my time well. I would always leave everything to the last minute, hence why I would have those days I would wake up at the crack of dawn because I overslept that whole week. Teachers can’t really teach you this thing at college so it would be your best bet to figure it out on your own. Nothing can really prepare you for the real world, but learning how to have a set schedule and not procrastinate will help you along the way.


3. How To Dress Professionally

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There are some people out there that think appearance doesn’t mean anything. In some scenarios, they are right, but not when it comes to professional life. It is important to dress professionally when you have an interview for a new job or a presentation you have to give to clients. There are recent studies that said how you look and what you are wearing can have a big impact on the first impression people get from you. You are probably used to wearing your pajamas to class because you just rolled out of bed, but that will not fly in the real world. Every job attire is different, whether it be business casual or just plain old casual. It wouldn’t hurt to learn how to dress professionally though because you never know when a professional business event might come your way.


4. Dealing With Insurance And Taxes

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It wasn’t a surprise to me when my teachers in college didn’t teach me how to do my own taxes but they really should. We don’t realize how important it is to know because our parents have been doing it for us our whole life, or even knowing about health insurance for that matter. If you don’t have the opportunity to learn about these things in college, turning to your parents for help wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Think about it as a free course on something you actually need to know.


5. Financial Debt

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Another important thing that college does not prepare you for is learning about financial debt. Strange because the universities’ absurd tuition costs might be the reason we are in debt! So many people graduate college with financial debt and have no idea how to go about the situation. There are so many reasons why people go into debt, which is not a bad idea to create a class to learn how to deal with it.


6. Paying For A Place To Live

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It’s totally okay to live with your parents after college, but you can’t be under their roof forever. There will be a time where you will want to move out and get your own place. It definitely is not as easy as it seems though. It is a difficult process and there is much to pay attention to. Sometimes you will feel intimidated or overwhelmed, which makes no sense to me that colleges do not prepare you for this. Students should at least know the basics because most of them go to live on their own.


7. Dealing With Money

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This one is something I struggle with daily. I have never been good at handling money and thought when I got to college I would learn how to be a better spender. Boy, was I wrong. I think I just got worse. How are there no courses offered about money management?! There are so many ways to go about this topic. How do you know how much to save? How do you deal with your paychecks? Well I could be the first to tell you that you won’t learn this at your university, so make sure to put some time in learning about this yourself.


8. Have A Backup Plan

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When you finally decide on a major with the millions of options college offers, your professors prepare you for it. But what if you decide to not go down that career path? What if you don’t find a job in that field? What if you lose your job? Many people I went to college with did not even get a job in their field. Only be prepared to work in one specific field won’t get you far if that opportunity never comes around. It is great to have a backup plan and the flexibility to work in different industries if your first plan doesn’t work out.


9. Difficult Legal Situations

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I hate to break it to you but life isn’t all fun and games. There will be times where you come across sticky situations, especially legal ones. College doesn’t even teach you how to go about seeking legal advice, which is baffling to me. Most graduates don’t even know the basic terms of the things you should and shouldn’t do, which is unfortunate. There are obviously lawyers to help you out in these tough scenarios, but it wouldn’t hurt to know something to help you prepare.


10. Being Laid Off

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Professors do warn you about the logistics of working full time but say nothing about the situation of being laid off. It can be really scary because you probably think what to do now with your life and have no idea what direction to take. This is something universities should take into consideration on teaching students because it can happen to anyone anywhere at anytime.

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