The Difference Between College and the “Real World”

College is the threshold to the real world. It’s like the grey area between childhood and adulthood. Yes, as a college student you are now in the “real world,” but are you really? Not quite, my friend. Here are some of the differences between college and the “real world.”

1. Getting a Job

College: Getting a job is mostly an option. Having a job in college allows you to make a little extra for fun or, if you’re economically savvy, paying for school or saving it for after graduation.

Real Life: Getting a job is necessary for survival! You need to get experience and you will need to develop your skill set in order to get a position for a company or organization.

2. Making Bank?

College: Making any amount of money is fabulous! Wahoo, extra coins!

Real Life: Rent? Groceries? Insurance? Utilities?These are things you will have to factor in when you seek out positions and the salaries that go with them. Budgeting is necessary in order to stay economically afloat — yay for being an adult!

3. Being There

College: So you can skip a class or two. It’s on you and no one is really going to hold you accountable for not showing up (unless your professor takes attendance). Eh, to show up or not to show up, that is the question.

Real Life: You don’t really have an option, you have to go to work and be on-time. “Time is money,” right? Well, if you don’t show up and spend time working, bye bye to the money.

4. Responsibility

College: The little things matter. Like being responsible and making sure you pay for your tuition on time or turn in your homework by the time it is due. You have responsibilities, but it’s really up to you whether you do them or not.

Real Life: Responsibility is everywhere! Making sure you pay your bills or making sure to remember things like a friend’s birthday or your parent’s anniversary. You have to adhere to your responsibilities and follow through, others will hold you accountable.


So, growing up can seem a little scary! Have no fear, college helps to prepare you for the world outside of the university walls and the Career Center can help you with the tackling things like getting a job, salary negotiation, resume assistance, and much more! We have your back and we can help you in your transition to the “real world.” Because there are some fantastic reasons to love being in the real world, too. First, there’s generally no homework, assigned readings, or papers (depending on your chosen profession). Then, there is money…REAL money, if properly budgeted enough for fun stuff like a car, vacations, shopping, etc. Finally, don’t forget about the freedom and free time!

We got the inspiration for this post from Kylie McConville and her article “20 Biggest Differences Between College and the Real World” — see it here:

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Meet the Staff: Taylor Williams


Hi, y’all! My name is Taylor Williams and I am the Social Media Manager and a Career Peer Advisor at the USFSP Career Center. This is my third year at USFSP and I’m so happy to be a student at such a wonderful school!

Being a Career Peer Advisor has allowed me to assist students with their career exploration process and I’m grateful to have helped them on that journey! Furthermore, I enjoy being the Social Media Manager at the Career Center because I love social media! Promoting our services and engaging students is great, and utilizing some of my favorite sites (like Pinterest :D) to do so makes it even better!

Along with working at the Career Center, I am also in my second year of being a Resident Assistant here on-campus. Working on-campus has been very rewarding and I have not only been able to meet and assist other students, but I have also have been able to expand upon my skills and grow as a person.

I’m a Senior here and am majoring in Mass Communications, with a minor in History. My whole life I had wanted to become a teacher, however that plan changed when I got to high school. In 2009, my parents took me to a Tampa Bay Rays spring training game and my indifference toward baseball soon changed to a passion. Coming into college, my career goal was to become an in-game host for the Rays. While that’s still an option, I’m leaning towards going to graduate school and becoming a Student Affairs professional. We’ll see where my path takes me — all I know is that it will be a fun journey!

Fun Facts About Me:

  1. I love country music and have gone to over six concerts, within the past two years, and am going to two more later this year. I have seen Scotty McCreery three times, and got to meet Joe Nichols after his concert!
  2. I love quotes! One of my favorites is “We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there, too. — Kristin Martz.”
  3. Finally, my parents are two of my best friends — that may be cheesy, but it’s so true! I love to hang out with them and explore new places together!

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Meet the Staff: Lesa Shouse Edition!



Hi! My name is Lesa Shouse and I am the Director of the Career Center. I just finished my first year here at USFSP and love it! USFSP students are fantastic and we have the most beautiful campus!

I am a huge resume nerd! I love everything about resumes. I love how they represent us, how they help us to become better people by getting new jobs and new experiences. I love how they help us to look back and reflect on all of our past experiences. I love how they are list of our strengths and accomplishments. I also love how they can always change and improve just like we can!

After graduating from Defiance College with my Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts with an emphasis in Public Relations, I worked in business for a few years and realized it wasn’t a fit. After taking a secretary position on a campus, I realized that I wanted to get my Master of Arts degree in College Student Personnel, which I did at Bowling Green State University.

I have worked in non-profit, banking, and higher education. I found my passion working with college students and helping them to reach their goals and dreams.

Random fun facts about me:

  1. My husband, Reggie and I have a cat whose full name is Gunner Thor Kitty Puppy Ramirez Shouse.
  2. I am a Lifetime member of the Girl Scouts and received my Gold Award. Plus, I know almost every Girl Scout camp song! Let me know if you want to hold a sing along around a camp fire!
  3. While studying abroad in the United Kingdom, I got to stay at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland where they filmed parts of Harry Potter and upcoming episodes of Downton Abbey!


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Navigating College: Tips For Freshmen



Welcome to USFSP! This marks the start of your collegiate voyage and we can’t wait to see where your journey takes you! Here are some tips for navigating college:


  1. Use your Resources: On campus, there are a multitude of resources, organizations, and departments you can get involved in that will assist you in your journey at USFSP. Academic Advising, the Student Success Center, and more can help you with your classes and offer tutoring services, which will help guide you through the academics of college. Here at the Career Center, we can help you with job search, major exploration, and various other career-related topics. There is a plethora of resources here at USFSP waiting to be tapped in to!
  2. Get Involved: Easy, right? USFSP offers clubs and organizations for all types of people. Do you like to garden? We have a Gardening Club! Do you like to play baseball? We have a club baseball team! We have various ways to get involved through clubs, on-campus jobs, and civic engagement. Whatever your interests are, getting involved will not only look good on your resume and open doors to other opportunities, but getting involved also allows you to showcase your talents and interests.
  3. Don’t Worry and Don’t Rush: Don’t stress if you don’t know what you’re going to do with your life! Also, don’t rush through college majoring in something because it will take the least time or doing something that you don’t really like. There’s a saying “Do what you love and love what you do,” and it’s absolutely true! We want you to be successful and happy here at USFSP, so study a subject that interests you. College can be stressful, but if you are doing something you love, it will be far better than suffering through. If you don’t know what you love to do or want to do, don’t worry! The Career Center has resources available to help you with this process and you don’t have to figure out what you’re going to do with your life just yet.
  4. Have Faith in Yourself: You got this! College can be scary and intimidating, but have no fear! You made it here for a reason and you can conquer anything that stands in your way. JJ Watt, Defensive End for the Houston Texans, says “Dream Big. Work Hard,” and we couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing you can’t achieve and we’ll be here with you every step of the way. College will be exciting, fun, and rewarding. We want you to be successful and have the time of your life here!

Again, welcome to USFSP and remember, the Career Center is here for you from to the start of college to beyond graduation, so stop in and say hi! Go Bulls!

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Use Your Resources!!!

It’s Crunch Time! It’s close to the end of the semester. You have 3 papers due, you need to start studying for your final exams, that dreaded group project is far from complete and to top it all off you might be graduating this May. You are stressed out. But don’t freak out. Now is as great of a time as ever to visit a few of the many resources The University of South Florida St. Petersburg has to offer.

The Wellness Center offers stress and time management workshops. They can help you plan out the last few weeks of the semester so that you use your time wisely. Good time management skills allow you to focus more on your academic performance and less on that overwhelming feeling that you may have. The professionals at the Wellness Center are also there if you need someone to talk to or if you need minor medical attention.

The Academic Success Center offers tutoring to USFSP students free of charge. They are located in DAVIS 107 and no appointment is needed to receive help, however, you should ensure that there will be a tutor present to help you with the specific subject you need help with. They have tutors that can help you with many courses: math, science, business, foreign language, and writing. The website provides links on great study habits, developing writing skills, and test dates for standardized tests.

The Career Center is here for all of your career exploration needs. For graduation Seniors, there is the Last Chance Job Search Boot Camp on Thursday, April 17. This workshop will review the entire job search process! Giving you the leg up above the competition in the job search process and helping you identify and snag your first post-graduation job. To all students, we also give advice on resumes and cover letters, provide mock interviews, and give you the resources to find a current job on and off campus.

So don’t let these next weeks bring you down, be encouraged and utilize the free resources that the university has to offer.

The Wellness Center
(727) 873-4422
Student Life Center (SLC)
Room 2200

Academic Success Center
Davis 107

Career Center
(727) 873-4129
Student Life Center (SLC)
Room 2300


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A Guide to Getting a Summer Job

Summer A Monitor

DON’T WAIT! The time is now to start looking for that perfect summer job! The semester is almost over and whether you are going home or staying on campus, extra cash over the summer would be nice. Here are some tips for getting that summer job you were hoping for.


  1.        Create a Resume
    Be sure that you have a resume that you can give to employers looking to hire. If an employer is not hiring, you can still leave a resume with them in order to be considered for future openings. Come into the Career Center for resume help or constructive critiques.


  1.        Start Early
    Employers start hiring for summer jobs as early as March. Don’t be the last on the list. Start sending out applications and resumes to employers as soon as possible.  Spend at least an hour a day researching the types of jobs you want to pursue. Look for work in growing industries such as government jobs, healthcare, the retail industry, and the service industry.


  1.        Use your Networks
    Networking is not only for getting that full-time career opportunity. Ask your family and friends for help brainstorming job possibilities. If you have previously had a job, ask your former employer if they are hiring, if not, ask for business contacts to find other job openings. Send a professional email to others in your network stating your skills and specific areas you would like to work in.


  1.        Prepare for the Interview
    Mock interviews are a great way to prepare. Get interview tips and set up a mock interview at the Career Center (while most of our services are walk-ins mock interviews must be scheduled with a staff member). Dress appropriately, overdressed is better than underdressed. Show up early to your interview, bring your resume, turn off your cell phone, have a strong handshake and make eye contact when meeting the employer.


  1.        Be honest about your time commitment
    Do not set hours that you know you will not be able to fully commit to. If you are also taking classes this summer employers will be understanding. On the other hand do not take every Friday off. Employers will figure out that your family emergency is really a trip to the beach.



Here are some sites to use for your job search.
Tampa Job and Career Fair:

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Beware of Employment Scams

Video from the Federal Trade Commission

If a job seems too good to be true, be cautious. There are various employment scams designed to gain access to people’s money, bank account information, social security number, or identity. These scams often are posted on online job boards, in newspapers, or via e-mail.The USFSP Career Center will block fraudulent employers from posting positions on Recruit-A-Bull once we become aware of them. However, due to the creatively deceptive means by which jobs are posted by scammers, we cannot guarantee the validity of every employer or job posted. If you are suspicious or concerned about a company or job posting you find on Recruit-A-Bull, please contact the Career Center at (727) 873-4129, so we can investigate the issue immediately.

Types of Scams

There are a variety of employment scams. Below you will find four examples of commonly used employment scams:

Payment Forward Scam
This scam occurs after you apply for a position or reply to a spam e-mail. The employer will reply with instructions for a “test” before employment. As part of the test, you receive a check in the mail and are asked to deposit the check into your account and send a certain amount via wire transfer to another person. The employer promises that you will keep a percentage.  It is a scam because the check is not valid; and if you deposit the check and transfer the money, you will be responsible for the funds.

Application Fee Scam
With this scam, you are charged between $25 -$100 for a “guaranteed” employment opportunity application. People have used this scam by posing as members of the cruise line industry, the U.S. Postal Service, and other organizations. Always check with the company in which you are applying to learn more about the application process. Employment applications should be free, and there are no “guaranteed” positions.

Phishing Scam
This scam occurs when you receive an unsolicited e-mail from an employer stating they saw your posted resume. The “employer” states your skills match the position for which they are hiring, but they need more information from you. The employer asks for personal information, which they may use to steal your identity. Before providing any information, be sure to research the company and verify the posting. Always be cautious when sharing personal information, such as mailing address, phone number, social security number, identification number, or banking information.

Mystery Shopper Scam
There are legitimate mystery shopping companies that hire college students and others to provide feedback on stores, restaurants, and businesses. However, there are scammers posing as mystery shopping companies. This type of scam can occur through an unsolicited e-mail or via a job board posting. The fraudulent company asks you to pay a fee to become an employee. This is a scam because you should not have to pay a company to become an employee. Another variation of this scam occurs when the employer asks you to review a wire transfer company and complete a money transfer, this action then becomes a payment forward scam as described above.

How Do You Spot a Scam?

Review the information below to identify potential “red flags” for employment scams.

  1. Catchy job titles. Scammers often use words in the job title to catch your attention, such as “Work at Home”, “No Experience Necessary”, “Make $1000 a week”, or “Work just one hour a week”.
  2. Required payment. When payment is requested for training materials, starter kit, or other items it could be a scam.
  3. Lack of employer details. If few details about the employer are included in the ad, posting, or e-mail, such as no company name, website, e-mail address, or location, then this may be a scam.
  4. Fake website. If the website is hosted by a free domain, such as Yahoo, it may be a scam. Scammers will use a legitimate company’s website information and post it as a fraudulent site. Research the company name and check to identify when the website was created. If the website was created recently or owned by someone not in the same location as the company, it could be fraudulent.
  5. Unsolicited e-mails. If you receive an unsolicited e-mail and it comes from a free domain e-mail address (e.g.,,, or it could be a scam. If the name of the e-mail signature does not match the name of the e-mail, this may be a scam. Never click on a link in an e-mail from someone you do not know, it could be a virus or other malicious software.
  6. Personal information requests. Requests for personal information via e-mail, such as a copy of your ID, bank account information, or social security number, can be used by identity thieves.
  7. Guaranteed job offered.  Legitimate employers do not promise a job before discussing your skills and experience.
  8. Specific words or phrases. Beware of words in the job description, such as wire transfers, PayPal, eBay, package forwarding, or money transfers, these are indicators of a scam.

Although this list is not all inclusive, the USFSP Career Center hopes you use the information and resources provided to keep you, your information, and your money safe. If you are ever concerned about a job posting or think you may have been a victim of an employment scam, do not hesitate to contact the Career Center, the USFSP Police, or your local law enforcement agency.

Additional Links

Below is a list of helpful resources for learning more about employment scams or to research possible fraudulent employers.

  1. Federal Trade Commission
    Learn about employment scams or file a complaint.
  2. National Consumers League Internet Fraud Watch
    Identify tips for avoiding online job scams and use the link to file a complaint.
  3. Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
    File a complaint with IC3 or review Internet crime prevention tips.
  4. Better Business Bureau
    Research employers by reviewing reports, complaints, and accreditation status.
  5. RipOff Report
    Discover complaints about companies.
  6. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
    Learn about avoiding online job scams.
  7. Job Scam Examples – Typical Job Scam Examples
    Review job scam examples and share scam information.
  8. Federal Trade Commission Job Scams Video

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:
Job Scam Examples – Typical Job Scam Examples:
Job-Hunting/Job Scams:

Article Used with Permission from BGSU Career Center:

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