Each one of us grew up with an aim, a dream in our heads, which determined our higher education, our choice of college.

Coming to college is like a dream come true for many. That sense of freedom, responsibility, the endless possibilities for future, friends, bunking. If you ask me, college life makes a boy a man.

But life doesn’t stop there. In the blink of an eye, college life gets over (I’m in my last year and I have no idea how the last two years went by) and you’re facing the real world; and you know, you have to have a job.

Some of us might be in a corporate job, some in the healthcare industry, some maybe entrepreneurs- whichever we choose, we are now of the working class. And as days go by, you feel nostalgic about those good old college days, wishing to go back.

I have brought together a list of differences between college life and professional life. I hope you can relate to them.

1. Friends vs. Co-workers/ colleagues.

What’s college life without friends? The plans of bunking classes, going out for movies, playing cupid, helping one another for assignments- none of them would have been possible without them. But in professional life, it is very different. You might or might not be friends with them, the possibility is biased. When it comes to profession, there is a sense of competition, so the chances of being friends might dwindle down. But don’t lose hope. You might find a friend in a co-worker.

2. Appearance.

Your friends wouldn’t mind if you showed up in college dressed in a crumpled shirt, or if your hair was all messed up. But in professional life, appearance is a must. You cannot show up in office in a crumpled shirt or unpolished shoe; your boss might note it as negative attitude. Also, some of us harbor a craze for tattoos, which finds an outlet during our college life (I got 3 done within my first year). But many workplaces view tattoos as unprofessional (as if having tattoos makes us thugs, eh?).

3. Money.

We have all gone broke once in a while but we had friends to fall back on. You could borrow money from your friend and even loan it to any friend. But in your professional life, you cannot just borrow from anybody. Loans from banks are an option if you are short money.

4. Vacations.

As college students, we all had the bliss of vacations or holidays. Me, I get a summer vacation of almost fifty days, an autumn break of twenty days and a winter break of fifteen days. The home coming or planning holidays with friends; that was fun.

But when you are in the professional life, vacations are a distant dream. Most offices have a two-week paid vacation policy. (What will I do in two weeks?) Moreover, in college, you could always plan a weekend, maybe a long drive, night outs; but in your professional life, that doesn’t happen too often.

5. Sleep.

Unless you were facing a deadline for any assignment submission or you were in one of those “I’ll finish three seasons of F.R.I.E.N.D.S tonight” marathons, or you were talking to your girlfriend/boyfriend, you had enough time to sleep. A research says that a college student gets 8.3 hours of sleep, while employed people have 7.7 hours of sleep. Damn!

6. Life, as in a general sense.

You had the license to be immature at times, act out on instinct, plan trips instantaneously or walk away from the college gate to watch a movie. You could drink till you dropped and wake up with a nasty hangover and still laugh at it, you could go on dates, pursue your hobbies. College life made you feel invincible.

When you enter your professional life, you gain a sense of maturity, you plan your trips from a long time, you don’t act out, and rather you measure each word and act. Movies and dates are weekend plans, so are plans of drinking. Professional life changes us.

Well, I’m pretty sure college life wins in this war. But hey, professional life isn’t that bad. Many of my friends are already employed and they say, it ain’t that bad, but it ain’t fun like college. So, if you’re still in college, enjoy, because once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.