Public opinion and pop culture paint a certain picture when it comes to life: it is all colorful and party-driven in college and gets greyish and dull as soon as ‘real life’ kicks in. With my experiences in both worlds thus far, I know that it doesn’t have to be that way.

It was a warm and sunny morning in August when I was playing beach volleyball, barefoot in the sand. Sounds like a regular weekend in summer, but it was Wednesday, I had just started my internship with the adidas Group and the game took place on my employer’s premises. Is that this intimidating ‘real life’ everybody has tried to warn me about since I started kindergarten?

There is no black and white

In my professional and academic life, I’ve seen my share of different company and campus cultures. My student career introduced me to four different subjects at three universities in two countries – and my professional experience is even more diverse. And – as always – the picture isn’t just black and white. There were of course a lot of fun experiences in college that I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to miss and there have definitely been some employers where everybody’s highlight was the monthly paycheck.

Working life is what you make of it - a beach volleyball game is not only great fun but also team-building!


Just a week before that volleyball game, though, I was sitting in the college library and working nightshifts to turn in papers before their deadline. They don’t just give out Master Degrees for free, sure, but at that time I couldn’t go to parties or even see friends. When they closed the library for the night, I had to go home and continue working there. So much for ‘college fun’. On the other hand, there are workplaces where work and fun are combined. People can gather after a hard day of work to do sports, have a BBQ together or maybe have a drink or two and just try to have a good time.

A lot has been said about the special approach of the adidas Group to work culture, and others already analyzed the difference between adidas and other, more conventional, companies. But it’s not only about the difference between employers anymore.

The right company culture slowly dissolves the old-fashioned frontiers of college fun and work bore.


Sure, it probably helps that college today is more achievement-oriented than most people remember it to be. But modern company culture, like practiced at the adidas Group, surely is additionally doing a great job in adding emotional value to work. That way, people won’t just sit at work nostalgically thinking back to college, but will actually look forward to new memories and achievements they can reach.

Eventually, it all depends on where you work, where you went to college and, last but not least, what you make of it. But one thing is for sure: the clear line between college and work when it comes to fun and lightheartedness doesn’t exist anymore. Sometimes, college can be tough – and sometimes you’re at work, playing beach volleyball barefoot in the sand.

When was the last time you recognized that the line between college and work is dissolving?


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by Anthony Cangelosi 02.12.2015
Those were the best days of my life!
by Janosch 06.12.2015
Hi Tobias, congrats on your first article. That is a good general perception of differences and similarities between college and work. I wish you to keep that good spirit when you're working close before deadlines and work will be no party and work like when you were working just before college deadlines. And don't forget how it was after handing in everything before the deadline. Then you'll have partied at college the same as you should with yout team. Live the three stripe spirit!
by Nadine 09.12.2015
I am noticing the same at adidas! Where I was stressed for the past few years with studying for exams and writing papers at university, I am happier than ever working for adidas now with a somewhat regular schedule and a great balance between work, sports & social life!
by Leslie 16.07.2016
I agree! The friends at Work, joining together to create and Work on challenges is so much fun-it absolutely can be great/better even than college