Five Things You (Didn’t) Learn in College


College is a time for experimentation, a time where young people venture away from their parents and in the great yonder— an expansive space where activity in misapplied idealism is as commonplace as expose-like sexual experimentation.   If all of life were like college the world would be a pantomime of efficiency, a farce to discipline and fetal alcohol syndrome would be as common in the U.S as AIDS is in Swaziland. It is thusly a miss-remembrance to state that college is the best point of one’s life, like stating that Meet the Falkers is the high point of DeNiro’s career.  In fact, the best things learned throughout life aren’t learned during the go-go college years: they are learned in the years that come after.  What follows are five things you didn’t learn in college, but know now.

1)      All money is not beer money. As a college student, if you didn’t put 60% or more of your money towards drinking related endeavors (including the obligatory and regrettable late night food binges) you either a) where studying or working, and thus the white buffalo of your dorm, b) not getting laid, c) spending money on marijuana or other substances (acceptable alternative).  College was when you would chip in for a 30-rack of Pabst or Bud Light that cost $10 bucks.  Since these hazy days you have learned that there are other obligations for your money outside of the art of racing towards the mother-bird position. They missed the true purpose of college. Those that have not learned that lesson are probably your friends from college that still have multiple roommates and are on a first name basis with their local bartender but not their boss. 

2)      Being tied down allows you to travel further.  There were those in college that insisted on, as they likely did in high school, on roaming from relationship to relationship like some western-era vagabond roaming from town to town, taking shelter where they could find as they drifted gradually towards the horizon.  Clint Eastwood these folks were not, more like Jim from Blazing Saddles.  Worse, they may have stuck with one relationship throughout all of college, thereby nullifying the whole point of being young and in college.  Particularly if you were a male, being tied down during college wasn’t so far off from leasing your dick: you had to limit the mileage and although you got to roam around town with it, it wasn’t really yours.  The reality in the post-college years as that the advantages of tying yourself down actually allow you to travel further.  Dual incomes, double the efficiency, an ear to complain to, and the ability to hunt for a raise instead of sex are just the tip—a game you probably remember from college, and are likely better off having retired from. 

3)      Career isn’t everything.  When I was in college my career was a primary concern after managing my harem and making sure no one scuffed my sneakers.  Since I have graduated I have learned that the priority I put in my career during college was slightly misplaced, like an inopportune compliment on the boss’s four year old daughter’s dress.  I have come to learn that many of the aspects of my college life that I valued—writing, entrepreneurship, reading, just sitting around thinking—truly need to be fought for if they are to continue to a part of my life.  The autistic-level focus I brought to my career gave me a large jumpstart and allowed me to aggressively pay down my student loans, but it left me feeling exhausted and intellectually vapid in the first few years after college.  Career isn’t everything, it is a singular aspect of our lives and the amount of space it occupies may not be as much as we thought during our college years. 

4)      Being able to cook is life skill.  The need to feed ourselves is a basic necessity of life, and not until our post-college years does this need require us to actually cook.  There were of course those few students who cooked, yet just as there were students who abstained from drinking and philandering, they were about as common as a herpes-free mouth.  Only in college is three-day old unrefrigerated pizza and Chinese food a viable meal option (the bacteria didn’t stand a chance against the copious alcohol waiting for it in the stomach). Post-college, not being able to cook goes hand in hand with being broke (from eating out), fat (from eating out) and alone (from eating out)[1].  A successful post college adult knows how to cook.

5)      You have no idea who you are.  Face it, during college you thought you knew exactly how your life would play out.  Your career was mapped out, you knew roughly when you would get married (or knew you wouldn’t), and your beliefs were locked down harder than an Iraqi teenager going through a “pyro” phase.  As you likely know now, your current life has more in common with Office Space than Wall Street, and your beliefs change with every President.  While college was a time where we tried to pin down out identity, we now understand that is a moving target that, while worth shooting for, may not ever be hit.  And we are okay with that[2].

Life is an evolving entity we are only able to absorb in retrospect, and sometimes that retrospect requires sobriety, a partner, fiscal responsibility and the awareness to know we are largely as ignorant to ourselves now as we were then.  College was a blast, but adulthood bears its own rewards reaped from the lessons it teaches— lessons that do not involve Girls Gone Wild. 

Author Bio:

The following is a guest post from our friends at Snarkfinance. Snarkfinance is what you get when you mix insult humor with a finance blog.  Snarkfinance focuses on unique, applicable approaches to financial concepts and business in general.  Its main author is a successful professional investor and financial analyst for Fortune 500 companies who enjoys nothing more than a cringe worthy joke. Follow Snarkfinance on Twitter.


[1] Can’t cook?  Good luck finding a girlfriend/boyfriend.

[2] Or not, in which case make sure your health insurance includes mental health visits.


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Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of


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