Being a senior in college has put a lot into perspective for me. I’m getting ready to enter the real world. I’m gaining more knowledge about life. I’m working to achieve my goals and towards a future career. I’m a responsible young adult with the whole world at my fingertips. This all sounds nice, but at the end of the day, I just feel kind of old.
Now you may say “that’s ridiculous! You’re the ripe old age of 21!” This is true. At this age, we are in the prime of our lives. Most people my age are in college and many are living away from home. This means they are pictured to society as adults yet can make the decision to eat ice cream for dinner every night because “why not? No one is around to tell me no. I’m an adult!”
Yet there are some occurrences going on that make me realize I’m really not a kid anymore and this is a little more than unsettling. I’m not talking about credit card bills that need to be paid. I’m not talking about the fact that I’ll never be the youngest at school again (actually, this is probably a good thing.) I’m talking about the fact that I, and many other people my age, are entering adulthood and turns out, it wasn’t really what we expected. Are we ready to get hit with this thesis paper sized dose of reality? Nope.
I think this all starts out if you go away to college. You think, “Yeah, I am out of the house! I can do whatever I want! No one is here to tell me no!” Don’t be ashamed to admit you thought this, I can admit that I definitely did.
This idea lasted a whole two weeks until I ate all the food in my room and was already sick of Easy-Mac and Ramen Noodles. Then I got a cold and called my mom approximately 17 times a day for a week because I didn’t know what medicine to take or if I could mix cough syrup and decongestions. I’d like to think of myself as responsible, but let’s all face it, sometimes, we don’t know how to take care of ourselves.
As college goes on and you get older, another milestone approaches. The biggest of all birthday celebrations. The 21st birthday. This marks the start of your real adult life. You can do anything. You can go anywhere. You can… empty out your bank account in less time than you were at the bar. I recently turned 21 and I quickly learned that as fun as it is, no one ever tells you how expensive this life will be. Maybe they don’t want to put a damper on your night. Maybe they don’t want to tell you that it, for the most part, is the end of fun birthday ages. What is there to do now? Nothing, except pretend your 22nd birthday is your 21st again.
Keri Mullin, a senior accounting major, knows this feeling well. “The build up to being 21 is amazing and once it comes you want to stay that age forever. I just turned 22 on Monday and it didn’t feel special, it just felt like a normal day. And I thought ‘Wait. This is going to happen every year now.’ You want to be an adult but you don’t want to turn another year older.”
Mullin continued, “That’s how I feel now. I want to become an adult and live on my own with a job, but I want to stay young doing it.”
Alissa Mustillo, a senior accounting major, said, “Life after college may seem attractive, especially to graduating seniors who have definite employment options. Unfortunately, immediate hire is not guaranteed for every student in the senior class, or in the overall student population.”
Mustillo continued, “In 2014, life after college means a multitude of new responsibilities. We will now need to make sure we visit our families if we move out, continue our learning if we so choose, and make calculated decisions personally and financially.”
Eleanor Novek, an associate professor of communicaion, discussed that though growing up may have many aspects that are scary, there are also many positives. As a young adult, an important idea to keep in mind is that you can create “a change of scene, you can move to another town thats further away from mom and dad. There are so many cool, hip towns for young people to discover,” she explained.
“Nothing is holding you down, you can travel to different parts of the country, or even different parts of the world. Exploration is a big deal,” Novek continued.
Novek added that as a young adult, you may find yourself on many different paths in life. You can look forward too having the opportunity to meet many new people in the workplace, and be able to decorate your own place9.
When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to grow up. I couldn’t wait to be able to drive, have my own home, and get a real job. Now, when things get stressful, all I want is to be young again and have no responsibilities, no work to do, no deadlines to meet, and no worries. We are all in such a rush to be get older but once we get to that point, we are stuck being adults for the rest of our lives.
Childhood goes fast and sometimes, getting older isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Though growing up may be scary, there are still so many things to look forward too. For now, the only thing we can do is make the most of it, and work to be the best possible adult version of ourselves we can be. Even if you don’t have it all together like you thought you might at this age, at least you can realize one thing: 21 isn’t old after all.
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