The Real World Starts Now - Undergrad Success

The Real World Starts Now

The Real World Starts Now

A Word of Warning

Today, I am going to share with you a realization I had this past year. However, before I start, I feel like warning you. … I feel like caving in and not writing this post. I feel like it might be too soon to speak so bluntly – that I might somehow discourage you from returning to this blog. Honestly, part of me wishes I had the ability to pull some Jedi stunt and reach through your computer screen to close the window right now. See, this realization could be the single greatest or single worst wake up call you receive.

To not write this post, though, would be a huge disservice to you. That would mean your feelings got the best of me – something I cannot allow to happen.  Rather, I aim to show you, through a tale of a heart-wrenching love affair, that — greatest or worst — this is a necessary wakeup call when looking to take control of your life.

Rejection Wears Pajamas: A Personal Note

I would love to share some mushy-gushy story about a time in my life when I had an epiphany that illuminated the darkest parts of my soul and silenced all my fears. But I can’t.

Fresh from the grips of a toxic relationship and still feeling the raw sting of rejection, loss and incompatibility, I sat moping on my couch in my pajamas. I began to write as I mindlessly slurped down my bitterness in the form of tar-black coffee. Furious and silent, I scribbled down all the things I was unhappy with in my life while X-Factor sensation Chris Rene’s “Young Homie” blasted through my ear buds on repeat.

My emotions poured into this little black leather journal. I felt like a prepubescent sixth-grade girl writing to her diary – except I wasn’t listening to One Direction.

Sayonara, Comfort Zone

As I continued to write, I continued to learn about myself. One by one, my identity, mistakes and sorry excuses fell like dominoes and revealed themselves in smudged ink. Ultimately, I learned that everything about my life at that time were consequences of my own doing. This woeful love ballad reflected not only my standards for this girl but also the standards for my overall lifestyle. That struck a nerve … and it hurt – mostly my pride and fragile self-image.

What I am about to share might hurt you, too. I may strike that same nerve. I am going to invade your comfort zone. It may be unpleasant and uncomfortable, but it is reality.

The world of harsh realities, crushing disappointments, demanding liabilities and insatiable needs will not wait until you have readied yourself with a degree, plump savings and a well-paying job in hand. Nope. It already started.

Single Greatest or Single Worst Awakening? You Decide

Everything you do, everything you have done, and everything you will ever do is your responsibility. Your situation exists because of your decisions and actions. Your experiences, accomplishments, friends and job are all byproducts. You, as a complete package, are the result – the product of your actions.

Now, before you scroll down to the bottom of the page and write me an angry comment to justify your circumstances, stop reading for a minute. You may know me, or you may not. I may just be a bizarre internet persona with sporting a stupid grin and bow tie, but I urge you to think about the words I am spewing at you.

Sometimes we grumble in dissatisfaction about the cruddy hourly job we love to hate. We have all had that professor who “just doesn’t seem to understand my sense of humor.” (Just me? Okay.) Here goes guessing: I bet most of us have had damned relationships as well, both platonic and intimate. The point is that when we get jealous of those who seem to have everything, we should not lower our own expectations of ourselves. The rationale, “That is their quality of life, and this is mine,” does not solve anything. Discontent and complaints persist. Gets old, does it not? This is the time you raise your expectations. Raise your expectations of not only yourself but of those with whom you surround yourself.

See, after my relationship dissipated, I had a choice to make. I could whine about how she treated me or complain about her attitude in our relationship. Previously, though, I had already made other choices — to be with her in the first place and continue in an unhappy relationship. I needed to accept responsibility for my situation, as it was a direct result of my failure to take prior actions. Only then did I realize that I needed to set higher expectations of the people I allow to consume so much emotional space in my mind. That was my fault. Use my experience as a lesson – a lesson which highlights that you must keep your best interest in mind.

Whatever your situation may be, understand that you have the ability to transform your life. Know that you can only learn from your mistakes by taking a much needed realistic look at your life as it exists now. Look in the mirror (my only I cliché, I promise).


Look in the mirror. (My only cliche!)

The person looking back at you is the only person responsible for your future. That person should be looking to make positive life changes, and that is the only person to whom you must prove anything.

I want you to succeed. I do. I want you to graduate with a career doing something you love – not something your family or significant other loves. Something you love.

Just … you know … STOP with the excuses. They are invalid.

What are your most common excuses? Share with me, below or in the Twittersphere.

Write your own journal here!


Samuel is in charge of products & content for Undergrad Success. Most days he’s figuring out how to spend less time working than he already is. When he’s not on the beach in Oceanside,CA, he lives online at http://hershberger.co/ where he coaches young men and women looking to get unstuck in their lives.

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