We Can’t All Be Dean Moriarty

The Real World. No, I am not referring to the reality TV show that ran on MTV but rather the idea that people often convey with quotations using their fingers or emphatically with a slight hesitation before the words come off their tongue. Let’s skip the niceties and say first and foremost that the transition from the college bubble to the real world is quite the change.

I’ve begun to realize through living at home how ideal the college setting is for forming the communities that one wants to immerse oneself in. Have a passion for the anime, yoga, foam weapon fighting, or German? Go to your school’s webpage and look under the section on student life to locate a list of your school’s groups. Contact the organization’s president and you’re connected. I realize that the last two sentences probably sound a lot like the dialogue given to campus tour guides for prospective students. It is very true though, and one is bound to find their group of friends through the clubs that they join.

So what now, after leaving the bubble? I have been running inside of one all my life, K-12, freshman through senior year of undergrad, viewing the world through a perforated plastic sheen, bits of the real world having accidentally found their way into my space , a blade of grass, a speck of dirt. I am here now, standing barefoot in the field of grass where I used to roll around, dirt between my toes and under my toe nails, fresh air in my lungs, and my diploma in hand. I’ve graduated from college.

It’s exciting, truly, the prospect of being able to go wherever one wants. I’ll go to Hawaii where a lei will be a mandatory article of the work attire. Then, I’ll spend my hours off sitting on top of a surfboard, saltwater drying to sunny skin, and I’ll let my hair grow long and wild. Or, if that doesn’t work out, there is always Colorado, and not only will I make the move, I’ll do it all by motorbike, sell my car, buy a small trailer, minimize all of my belongings to fit into a small metal cubicle. Then, I’ll work at a cool coffee shop that plays jazz every Thursday and insert my hands into enough cracks to bleed them dry. But the view, I’m picturing it now from atop that rock face, well worth it. Finally, if none of these plans come to fruition, then there is always teaching abroad, traveling to a different country, learning a different language, and hopefully do some good.

As cool and realistic as it is to pursue such endeavors, what I am slowly learning is that the process is slow going. Everything has the capability of moving so fast in your head, wonderful images of what could be, but when you hear the dryer buzzing, the honk of an impatient driver, a knock at the door, you’re reminded of where you are and the actual pace of life. Things need to be planned out to a certain degree. We can’t all be Dean Moriarty, divorcing Mary Lou on Tuesday and marrying Camille on Wednesday, or Sal Paradise, making for Denver beneath a tarpaulin on the back of an open-bed pickup. Well, I guess you could if you really wanted to.

What I have learned so far is to take advantage of resources on the web and in one’s community to find events that can be engaging, imbue a sense of connectedness, and help one save a little money to use towards college loans. Although I have only been to one French conversation group so far, meetup.com seems to be a great online resource for finding various groups of interest within any city. Colleges, such as the U of M, have also been a valuable source of entertainment and events with book talks by notable authors, workshops on health and wellness, and other music and drama performances available to the public. There is also the public library full of good books and resources for job hunting, and it is, of course, free.

By the end of these posts, I always feel that what I had set out to write changes. It was my intention to talk about the transition of college to the post-grad life and the difficulties and unexpectedness of it all. This is still how I feel, but at the same time, many of these changes are exciting. Instead of fulfilling credits and sacrificing time cooking to finish up an assignment, it is much easier now to be more intentional with how my time is being used. So, whether its moving to Hawaii or Colorado, doing the Peace Corps, starting your own basket-weaving business, or designing your own wedding gowns, it is all doable, it just takes a bit more time, focus, and planning than all of your daydreaming during Music 101.

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One thought on “We Can’t All Be Dean Moriarty

  1. “I have been running inside of one all my life, K-12, freshman through senior year of undergrad, viewing the world through a perforated plastic sheen, bits of the real world having accidentally found their way into my space , a blade of grass, a speck of dirt. I am here now, standing barefoot in the field of grass where I used to roll around, dirt between my toes and under my toe nails, fresh air in my lungs, and my diploma in hand. I’ve graduated from college.”

    This is my favorite paragraph. You are such a talented writer, Matt!

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