Hard hitting reality checks lead to life lessons for many

Edwin J. Viera, Reporter

Once upon a time in a land far away called Long Island, a young boy woke up early in the morning for a chariot that would take him to the semi-mystical land known as Brooklyn. As soon as he was in Brooklyn, it took him minutes to realize that maybe things were going to be alright in a new life traveling to school by something other than a yellow school bus. Boy, was he wrong.

This was me in the year 2011, on my first day of high school. It was also the same day I got a reality check about life, and realized that everything I knew about the world was pure fiction. Not everyone has a happily ever after, material values are more important, sometimes, and that money is most often a source of great power.

It’s strange that this reality check hit me so early while others got it so late. Is that what happens to people? Once they remove the veil of childhood and put on the armor of life is it time that they realize it’s a fight to stay alive, figure out who’s on top of the food chain, and what’s the newest topic on Facebook? I couldn’t help but wonder.

When it comes to being a teenager or a newly minted adult; does everyone eventually have to face a reality check?

Charles Dickens made one of his books famous for having the best reality check ever created –three spirits in the middle of the night. In his novel, “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge is a penny-pinching miser that blossoms into a warm, generous and loving man. In order to find more information about this, I asked my roommate, Dalton, if he ever experienced a time when he suddenly connected the dots, but the dots formed quite a different picture.

He said, “It happened in high school for me, too. I used to think that life was all happy and things were easy. Then I saw how life really was.”

That wasn’t a response I expected because I knew Dalton really well. This was somewhat of a new side of him.

From the moment I met him, he seemed to know everything about being street smart and how to handle himself. Maybe I was imagining this, but it’s not just the high school reality check people face, but also the college one.

In my late night media literacy class, I spoke to the guy sitting next to me, and he said, “It’s no more late night scavenger hunts for food.”

Considering that I would wake up late at night wandering about the house looking for something to nibble on, I can agree with this. The reality check even hit my other roommate, Kevin. What he told me was something I wasn’t expecting.

His reality check came at only 11 years old.

He said, “At age 11, I watched a man die. Some guy was in a motorcycle accident and I watched the paramedics try to save him. Then his legs just went completely straight, they were crumpled up before. I knew that at any moment I could die.”

Reality is something very few people want to face, but it’s what has to happen in life – Isn’t it?

I soon figured out the reason that people experience reality checks. It’s because of the world around us, and what we’ve never seen or done. It’s all about the comfort of life and how you adjust to where you are. When you are comfortable and well in-tune with the way of the world, it brings something new to throw at you, therefore you have a reality check.

For all of the freshman, it’s college life, and for others it could be the prospect of a new job, new friends, or a new relationship. Sure, we are all going through the same heat at night, eating the same food (maybe), or finding ourselves at a better place than we all thought. It’s still the first week and soon the pattern sets into place and we all figure out what college is going to be like.

The comfort of this is knowing that no matter what happens, you’ll be okay. Reality checks are more “reality checkpoints.” They allow you to figure out where you are at that moment in your life. Just learn to trust yourself, your friends, and the reality you want to live in.