Being 18 and over

A fresh perspective

Stephen Kolison

Here we are, four weeks into the new year. The pictures and shallow words that are followed with “#newyearnewme” have finally subsided. However, I’m still left wondering why the human race decides to wait until the next year to change themselves. Maybe it is the comfort of starting off with a clean slate that attracts us to resolutions.

As I sifted through my emails at the beginning of the year, my worst dreams became a reality when the bank gave me an overview of my student loan payments. All of a sudden, stress and worries flooded my mind. When I buy boxes to send packages, should I get a big one to live in for the next twenty years, while my money gets taken from me?

If college has taught me one thing, it is that adult life slowly creeps up on you whether you like it or not. Maybe the freshman class should start a late resolution: acting more like adults.

Every day more and more responsibilities are added onto our plates. The more added, the more I realize that growing up, for lack of a better word, sucks. I understand that we are all freshman and have it relatively easy compared to others; we don’t have to worry about taxes, mortgages or cooking our next meal. However, developing an adult mentality discourages me the most.

High school made it easy to develop a more passive attitude to life events. Did Susie prove herself to be an unworthy friend? Not a problem. Just make a status on Facebook complaining about her. (But if anyone asks, it’s not really about her.) Do you not like Rebecca from calculus? That’s even easier, just cut your eyes at her every time you pass her in the halls. She’ll definitely get the message.

But now we are supposed to behave differently.

I am failing at this adult thing. I think anyone would agree that going back to kindergarten would be a miracle. If I learned anything about being an adult, it was in kindergarten. Apparently, you can no longer fly off the handle when someone upsets you—remember how we were told to hold our breath and count to 10? Or when we were put into timeout and think about our actions? I guess our teachers had the right idea in training us to regulate our emotions before we do something we’ll regret.

You will never forget the day when your teacher stands over you and asks you to tell the truth about what you’ve just done. Telling the truth wasn’t easy then and it probably never will be. Owning up to the mistakes you’ve made is even more difficult. When you fail a class or bite off more than you can chew, the struggle becomes real. Building up the courage to ask for help takes energy. That energy comes from a deep-down, hard-to-find place. Having the ability to be honest with yourself is valuable and necessary if you wish to actually move on and become a better adult.

Being the perfect adult is obviously impossible. Life loves throwing bricks at you when it can easily throw cotton balls. I think being able to cry about it makes you no less of an adult. You see adults cry and you feel awkward seeing it because you can’t help but think, “Should adults really be crying?” Crying is cathartic in a sense. It lets all your feelings out and pushes you forward to help change yourself and the situation.

Trying to be the perfect adult keeps you from enjoying life. Some of the best grown-ups I’ve seen know when to indulge and reward themselves. Finding the small things in life to make you happy keeps you rooted and prevents insanity. Adults are humans, after all.

What is being an adult? Is it being able to order that Magic Bullet you’ve always wanted from TV? Is it realizing that you could just print off a 20 percent off coupon from Bed, Bath and Beyond and buy it there to avoid paying for shipping? Or is being an adult something more?

I think it is being able to buy anything from an infomercial and also being mature with what life has to offer. We are young and still have time, but it is never too late to step into adulthood now.

Stephen Kolison is a first-year biology student and member of IMPROVment. While confining himself to his dorm, he enjoys knitting while watching Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones.