The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues

Get ready for the rule-less real world

By Aaron Zundel

So you’re graduating. Congratulations. Whether it’s with a 4.0 or by the skin of your teeth and the grace of a few professors, earning the privilege to don your mortarboard, walking across the floor of the Huntsman Center and receiving your diploma is no small accomplishment.

But you’re just getting started.

Yeah, I know. You’ve heard it before. You’ve also heard countless people tell you about the “real world” and how “everything changes” after graduation. They’re right. And I’m sure you believe them. But I’d venture that though plenty of people are warning you of the changes ahead, very few of them are actually articulating what exactly those changes will be.

Allow me to take a stab at it.

I’ve had my bachelor’s degree for nearly a year, and I’ve watched as my fellow graduates struggled to get jobs and carve out a place for themselves in the private sector. Some were successful. Others eventually decided they didn’t have the skills they needed and went back to school. Few of us had any idea what awaited us outside the ivory tower.

The answer is reality.

Reality is a harsh mistress. She doesn’t care about your GPA, she doesn’t care how much you know. She cares about only one thing: results. And your ability to deliver them will mean the difference between success and failure.

To put a finer point on it: Although having an open mind might have been a benefit to you in the classroom, it is only an indirect benefit in the real world, and in some cases it might even hold you back. I can tell you from personal experience that the easiest way to get results is simply to pick a path and follow it. Those who spend too much time pondering the finer implications of their actions inevitably waste the valuable time they could spend actually getting something done.

After graduation you’re going to have to learn that the best theory is worth less than even the most mediocre effort. Perfection, attainable in the classroom with enough time and practice, becomes a luxury in reality, because there are rarely second chances. Some days it’s going to be all you can do to get a job done, let alone getting it done with precision.

You’re going to have to learn to care less about understanding the ideological, philosophical and epistemological implications of your actions than you are the practical ones. Your career will at first be frustrating, because right out of the gate you’ll meet people who have less education, yet who will have the job you want, doing what you want to do.

However, you’ll benefit from their experience as they teach you how to be successful by doing more and thinking less. Yes, you’re smart and you’re educated, but success won’t just come to you. Sorry, it just won’t. Your diploma doesn’t entitle you to it. You’re still going to have to go out and get it.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that in many ways the real world is easier than higher education. There are very few “rules,” and no matter what anybody says, you can do it however you want.

There are no syllabi, no graded assignments, no professors to tell you what to think and how. In reality, if you don’t like your job, you can go find another. Better yet, you can go out and create your own. As long as you get the results that other people are after (clients, employers, supervisors, whatever), you’ll do fine. Yes, there is a recession, but don’t take that to mean there’s less opportunity for you. It simply means that the opportunity has shifted, and isn’t likely to be found in traditional places.

Indeed, in a recent interview with CNBC’s Becky Quick, multi-billionaire Warren Buffet said of the U.S. economy, “You know, we’re gummed up at the moment, but this is the place to be. And this is the right time. I mean, I wish I was 21 now instead of 78.”

Twenty-one? That’s us. It’s a big world out there. Too big to ever see and do it all. Lucky for you, that means that there’s absolutely a place for you where you can succeed and do well for yourself.

You just have to go out and find it.

Good luck.

[email protected]

Aaron Zundel

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

We welcome feedback and dialogue from our community. However, when necessary, The Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to remove user comments. Posts may be removed for any of the following reasons: • Comments on a post that do not relate to the subject matter of the story • The use of obscene, threatening, defamatory, or harassing language • Comments advocating illegal activity • Posts violating copyrights or trademarks • Advertisement or promotion of commercial products, services, entities, or individuals • Duplicative comments by the same user. In the case of identical comments only the first submission will be posted. Users who habitually post comments or content that must be removed can be blocked from the comment section.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *