Difference between work life and student life

By | 2015/01/17

After worked in a Japanese company for 3 years and a USA company for 2 years in Tokyo, I felt that I know the difference between a work life and a student life clearly.

Please understand that all I’m gonna say below is based on my personal experience and is only about the 3 universities I entered. The truth could differ a lot among various universities and professions.

The basic process in work and study is similar: to produce something and hand it out.

However, in a job, the product, such as documents, reports, presentation, from you could be rejected, returned, asked to modify by your bosses or customers. Sometimes you may even get some terrible words from them.


In a student life, the products are usually in forms of reports, presentations or exams. Generally speaking, if you can hand out your reports until the deadline, you can pass most of the time even though the contents of the reports are far from the expectation of the teacher. For a presentation, if you can write something on the slides and read them out in the presentation, you can also pass, even with lower grades. Exams are more stressful since there is a clear passing line from the grades, but the questions in the exams are usually inside limited indicated books.

Therefore, you can get credits without caring about the quality of your products a lot in student life, and you can get your degree at the end of such a process. (I have to emphasize again that this is based on my personal experience and this doesn’t apply to all universities and all professions.)

In contrast, a job life was not so easy. Your bosses, your customers or whoever would receive your products decide the quality and amount of your work. If you failed to match the quality or quantity, you need to spend more time to cover it by shifting time from other tasks. If you failed for several times, you may lose credit or trust from your bosses, customers, which may even result in losing your job potentially in the future.

If you let your bosses or customers disappointed, your bosses or customers may be angry at you. They may shout at you or say some terrible words at you. But this seldom happens in a student life.

After returned to a student life, I feel so happy because I have such an easy life without getting anyone angry or without facing the risks of being shouted by anyone.


However, from another angle, I tried to image my working capacity in my previous work life. If that was 100%, I’m only up to 60% even in the most week in my student life so far in Finland, which means I’m not really stretching myself now.

Furthermore, even though I only worked with 60% capacity, I had been performing better than some of my classmates and the teachers give quite good evaluation to me.

Under this kind of situation, I quite doubt that I can grow more in my student life here. I must give myself higher standard by myself!

I feel I won’t grow and be better if I only evaluate myself based on the performance of my classmates or the evaluation from the teachers.

I also believe this is the same situation no matter as a student or as a worker.

No matter how perfect the evaluation system an organization has, no matter what the standard your bosses have, no matter how you do relative evaluation to those around you, everything all results from how you see yourself, how you expect yourself and what standard you have for yourself. Your life would also be decided by these, I believe.

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