Column: College has shown what the real world is

By Ellen Stuart
On April 13, 2012

I guess a farewell column is supposed to be about what I've learned in college, or my advice to underclassmen, or some nice little quotes about seizing the day and making the moment count.

I have great memories of college and especially my time at The New Hampshire, but I'm having a hard time being sentimental. I'll get misty at graduation, maybe - but right now I feel ready for the next thing ... whatever that may be.

I've made amazing friends here at UNH, and of course at The New Hampshire. I spent my freshman and sophomore years finding my feet under me, and eventually figured out that the newsroom was the one place on campus where I just fit.

My last two years at UNH have been wicked hard work, for lack of a better term.

Juggling work, TNH, a semester abroad, a life and ... you know, class, was tough more often than not. I gave up a lot of sleep, and spent most of my thirsty Thursdays

hugging coffee in the newsroom instead of, well, drinks at Libby's. But if I had to do it over, I wouldn't change a thing, and I wouldn't give anything up.  

Everyone keeps asking me if I'm ready for "the real world." The thing is, college is the real world.

Real people struggle with unemployment and addiction and depression. Real people die, sometimes before they should.

The heartbreaks and failures are real; and so are the joys. Our mistakes have real consequences and our hard work has real rewards. We're already living in the real world.

Don't wait to take risks or make changes because you like the protective bubble of college - this isn't the time to get comfortable.

There's never a right moment for taking risks. It's always scary. There's always an excuse not to do it.  If there's one piece of advice I'd want to give underclassmen, it's this: Don't hold off waiting for the "real world" to start, because guess what - this is it.

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