I work for a university in Student Affairs and Services, specifically dealing with a program that addresses the transitional needs of students as they come from high school into post-secondary. So a lot of my time is thinking about how we can best address these issues, what ways we can help the students, and really, just helping introduce students to a new way of life. Ironically, I too, am having issues transitioning – not from high school to university, but from student/young adult into adult life.
When I left high school, I was ready. I couldn’t wait to start my program and really dive into my passion for music. So my transition from high school to university was flawless. However, I can distinctly remember the unease I began feeling at the end of my degree. What the hell comes next?
In theory, it’s easy. Job, marriage, kids, retirement, die knowing that you lived a meaningful and fulfilled life. It’s what everyone expects to happen for themselves. But thus far, I’ve discovered that it is not such a straight line. Instead it’s a twisty, scary, and unexpected journey. Now, there definitely have been moments of fulfillment and happiness, without a doubt. But those moments did not come without struggles.
The worst part is, I have this terrible habit of looking at others and comparing myself and my life to them. I see people my age with 70K in a savings account, and I am living week to week. I see people my age with MULTIPLE children and I am lucky if I’m able to kick myself out of bed in the morning. I see people my age buying houses, going on trips around the world, going out for brunch on the weekends, and I’m sitting here screaming at my computer screen “How are you all so well adjusted! Please let me in on the secret!”
But there is not secret. There’s no magical solution, or guide book. Life just is. And I think that fact is more frustrating than if someone where just keeping the solution a secret.
I think the world needs new-adult Orientation. Yep. Just like new-student Orientation that I’m planning, it would be this mini course of stuff you do to get you ready for adulthood. I can see it now, a full day of figuring out how to be a grown up, with sessions like: “How to get your shit together in 7 easy steps!” and “Things you should be doing right now instead of binge-watching Netflix.” or even “Why you really need to be concerned with your health and dental coverage.” I think it would be a hit! I think that it’s something that would prevent a lot of anxiety in people as they transition to “the real world” which is a lot less cool than it’s cracked up to be.
But since that isn’t a thing, I’m just here trying to navigate life day by day. And hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to sit back and realize that along the way I have figured it out all by myself like a big girl.
But seriously, if you know the secret, please just let me in on it.