One Man's Outlook

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Grads: Just stay in school

All of the graduations I have been covering of late has got me to start thinking about the graduations I was part of. I put on the robes and got my diploma from Moline High School, Class of 1987, and later Teikyo Marycrest University after years of learning and making lifelong friends. To that end the best piece of advice I have for graduating students is don't.

I know the most common discussion among students is how excited they are about getting out into the real world. Most are planning to leave school, step immediately into that six figure per year job, clean up and retire by age 30. I know. That is what I was doing at graduation also. Trust me, it is not that easy.

Just don't graduate. Stay right where you are. Flub that last final. Go for that Master's or Ph.D. Trust me, it is a tough world out there and you will be happier right where you are.

When I was in college, a friend gave me a novelty book titled "Why a Beer is Better than a Woman," offering all kinds of sage advice like "A beer won't complain if you grab another beer" or "If your beer goes flat you can immediately grab another beer." Well, in that vein, I would like to list Dave's Top 10 reasons "Why school is better than real life."

1. In the real world, all of the members of the opposite sex that are your age are not all in one place. Unless that one place is the Internet. Still, you have to be careful if you go that route or you may end up with a newspaper reporter in a chat room saying "I just don't know what to do with all this money."

2. In the real world, playing a mean prank on a co-worker will get you fired. That plastic wrap under the toilet seat thing may be funny for a few minutes, but it is not worth months in the unemployment lines or having to explain to a prospective employer why you were fired. In the real world it is best to do that in shopping malls.

3. In the real world, wearing t-shirts espousing drunkenness or sexual promiscuity is strongly frowned upon, mostly by people who are not drunk or sexually promiscuous. Considering the people who don't care what you wear aren't the ones who are offering jobs, you kind of have to comply.

4. The real world has angry bosses instead of nurturing teachers. Need I say more.

5. In the real world you are required to work more than three hours per day. Also, don't ask what happens if you are late to work on a regular basis.

6. In the real world problems don't come at you in ascending order. In the real world anything can come out of left field.

7. In the real world binge drinking is considered a disorder, not an encouraged societal norm. You will be scorned if you go to a Lake Creek function and dunk your head in the punch bowl. The membership committee will pull your name from their roster over cocktails.

8. In the real world you do not get plenty of time off so you can take that trip to Ft. Lauderdale, or wherever the spring break fling is. Besides, the wife and kids will want to come along and won't let you be one of the judges for the greased thong competition.

9. Ever notice how movies about work, like Office Space, are about drudgery and movies about college, like Animal House, are about fun?

10. In the real world, your parents want you to get your lazy butt out, get a haircut and get a real job.

Recently I was having a talk with Jeff Jones, our intern from BVU. He made the comment, "I will come in here and do your work if you go to the university and take my tests for me." Upon his saying that, editor Dana Larsen flew over his desk to struggle with me over which of us would get to take Jeff up on his offer. Unfortunately he was only kidding.

Well, I would like to continue this column, but I have to go find out if I am eligible for student aid.

* David Hotle can be reached at dhotle@stormlakepilottribune.com