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This is what a lot of people think of or see, or both, when they focus on college, right? Well, some of us might see the mountain of debt that can easily accrue and the long and consecutive line of late nights that will come from needing to study, work, and study some more in order to maintain grades. Some people see a four-year party interspersed with partying and getting to know people and possibly make connections for the future. However a lot of people either aren’t willing or simply don’t recognize the pitfalls that are present when it comes to higher education.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to warn anyone away from college, as it can be a very enriching and rewarding experience. Instead it’s a cautionary measure to remind people that college is a great way to gain access to that dream job you want, but not without a lot of hard work and sacrifice. In other words, college is not a path to easy street, and for any that are under that illusion it’s time to get off this ride as of now and find another path to follow. The mountain of debt I mentioned will bury those that aren’t ready to do the work, and if that doesn’t do it, then the tsunami of homework and tests will finish the job.

College doesn’t make you better than anyone.

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There are many things I would stress to anyone going into a university or even a community college, but one among them would this: higher education doesn’t make you a better person. Those that will never attend college, or those going to a trade school, are often far more equipped to handle the world outside of college than a university student with a superiority complex. Being better than someone isn’t the point of college. If you want to prove you’re better than anyone then do it with your actions instead of your attitude. Simply going to college is not the gateway to a better life, and all it really means is that you’re gaining an education that may or may not be relevant when the time comes to graduate.

Hard work is the point of college.

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College can constitute some of the best years of your life if you apply yourself. Should you decide to make friends, belong to a club, a sorority/fraternity, or even an athletic team then you’ll have something to look back on with pride. But unless you do the work and earn your way in you’ll always have that feeling of ‘what if’. Your degree doesn’t mean much in a world where experience is more prized than education, and it’s time that a lot of people learn this. The more work you put into your college career, the more you’ll tend to get out of it when graduation day comes and you’ve already lined up a possible career choice. Otherwise get that resume ready and pick a minimum wage job you’ll be working until you get the point.

Face the hard truths.

The world doesn’t care about you. There might be a core group of people, family, friends, and others that might be invested in your success, but even they won’t be able to help if you can’t get it through your head that outside of college, the world becomes a very uncaring place that will not help you unless you’re willing to prove you’re worth it. Upon entering college it’s not time to breathe a sigh of relief and start partying. It’s time to crack open the books and get to work. Wake up, eat, study, rest, study some more, and then eventually sleep so you can get up and do it all again. Find time to de-stress and relax and then go back and do it all again. This is college people, it’s not playtime. You want the best, then you need to give the best effort. Otherwise the world simply won’t care for your excuses.

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You want your place in this world? You’re going to have to earn it.

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