This blog post is me sharing my very real experience of what adulting has been like for me.
Our families, teachers and most of society tell us that university/college prepares us for ‘the real world’. Sure, in some ways it does and there are experiences I went through during my time in university that taught me a lot, and I am able to apply those to other things in life. However, don’t be fooled (like me), nothing prepares you for life after graduation like going through it.
Going to university was the time for me to gain a lot of independence, especially as I chose a school over 4000 miles from home. For the first time in my life I felt completely responsible for what I did with my time. Of course, I tried to maintain a social life, but that wasn’t my priority, because in order to have a fun social life I needed money. So, I got a job, so, I could pay my bills, eat and treat myself (every now and then). I thought ‘wow, this is adulting’. Boy was I wrong.
Adulting in university and in the working world are two very different things. Trust me. I really thought I understood adulting because I was studying, working, paying a few bills, etc. I was now a grown woman. In reality, I was just living the life of a student.
I had a lot of freedom when I was in university because I was an ocean away from my parents. So, moving back home was definitely an adjustment in a lot of ways. One day, my parents and I had to have a conversation about it, and I think that is when my mum realised that her baby wasn’t a baby anymore. (Thank you, mum.) My area seemed unrecognisable to me. Most of the shops and restaurants had changed. I was seeing people I had not seen in almost two years. Everything was so odd. The hardest part of my adjustment was living so far away from most of my friends. I felt like a fish out of water with no classes, no events, no meetings, no routine. Relaxing, eating real food, and binge-watching Netflix was great for the first week or two: but something was missing. I missed being so independent. I missed all the chaos of my responsibilities. I missed the structure I had in my life for four years. As a result of graduating, my life changed in an instant and I hadn’t realised just how much until I was in my room and had to unpack my suitcases, because I guess it is unacceptable to live out of a suitcase when you aren’t on holiday.
When I graduated, I had a long-term plan for myself. I knew the career I wanted and how much my ideal salary would be. Then I had my head knocked out of the clouds. Not only is getting a well-paid full-time job hard, but it is even harder to find a job that you will enjoy. I lost count of how many job applications I completed per day; all I know is that I got tired of looking at my LinkedIn account. Most employers wanted candidates with experience and that was what aggravated me the most. Did I just waste all my time earning a degree if all employers want are people with their beloved experience? There was a job I was hired for and I thought ‘this is it’ and I quit after two days because I hated it. If I was fully adulting I would put my bills and need for survival before my happiness, because that is what real adulting is. Coming to terms with the fact that money dictates most of your life. I was able to quit because I wasn’t on my own in the world. If necessary, my parents could help me out financially. So, I was choosing to do selective adulting, because I wasn’t prepared to make all the sacrifices necessary of true adulting. One day, I will have to, just not yet.
University is a steppingstone to entering ‘the real world’ and adulting, but graduating doesn’t mean you are prepared for everything the world is going to throw at you. Even as I am planning for my graduate studies, I know my parents will continue to be a support system I rely on. So, I don’t think I will truly be adulting for a while. When the time comes for me to completely stand on my own two feet, I know I will be more prepared than I am now. I need to continue on my journey of self-growth and development, and I will make it.