Adulting is hard...it’s also highly misunderstood.
Many people assume that their adult life begins once they’ve officially finished school, moved out of home or off-campus, and received their first check from their first grown-up job. Due to these misguided perceptions, many young adults consider the years leading up to this ‘new phase’ as an extension of their childhood in a way, making choices and decisions that are not always rational or strategically planned. So what am I trying to say?
I want to debunk some of the myths around the concept of ‘adulting’ and make it clear that you should consider this term as less of a ‘phase’ and more so as a way of thinking and doing. Let’s unpack this.
Raise your hand if you have ever heard a peer, co-worker, or classmate complain about not understanding how to make decisions related to topics such as basic finances, job searches, or choosing a major because ”no one told them how to”
I know I have! I attended one of the best universities in the U.S, a place where it seemed as though everyone had their lives together, yet rarely did I get through a day without hearing sentiments like these:
“I’m drowning in student loan debt because no one taught me how they work or what it would mean for my future, financially.”
“I am 2 years deep into a major that I no longer want to continue with because no one told me how to choose the best one.”
“I am struggling to find a job or internship because no one teaches us how to write good resumes or network properly.”
“I am completely unsure of how to translate my skills and knowledge into a career in my desired industry because no one counseled me or provided any guidance.”
“I’ve started a new job but I feel lost and unhappy because no one gave me clear guidelines on my responsibilities.”
Unfortunately, these feelings are not at all uncommon to the typical young adult and in fact, seem to be on a steady incline across schools and campuses. The accumulation of these worries, along with anxiety, financial insecurities, and the rapidly increasing expectations of young people today can lead to depression and hopelessness amongst our generation. Many of us feel misled, restricted by society, and uninformed about the opportunities and options that exist. So how do we change this?
I truly believe that the first step to emotional, financial, and personal liberation involves changing the way you think. Do you notice a pattern in some of the statements and complaints listed above? Most, if not all of them allude to the idea that ‘someone else’ is lacking in their responsibility to inform and guide us. Who that ‘someone else’ may be depends, but I’ll bet many of us are often directing this frustration at our teachers, academic counselors, parents, and advisors.
This is really what I mean when I say many young adults are treating the crucial years of high school and college as an extension of their childhoods. As children, we live, act, and do according to the cookie-cutter rules of our homes and schools. This is especially true for those who experienced the American school system, which notoriously coddles students, spoon-feeds them information, and often hinders individuality, curiosity, and self-sustainment. Many of us spend the entirety of our early lives swaddled and protected from any situation that would provoke self-dependency, authoritative decision making, or realistic assessment of our choices. Due to this, we become naturally attuned to living by instruction and even more detrimentally - waiting for instruction.
This systematic style of upbringing and early education plays a large part in why individuals transitioning into young adulthood find the experience so jarring and disconcerting. It is why so many blindly sign a form at 18 promising to pay back an inordinate amount of money for the rest of their lives, and proceed to go through the motions of college life without the understanding of how to actually extract value from their time there and profit from it once it concludes.
These points bring me to my first official piece of advice: Stop waiting, start doing.
For many, this is the toughest pill to swallow, but I promise you that without adopting this mindset, everything else I am going to teach you will be worthless. It’s going to be difficult, and may even seem like a foreign concept to some of you...I get it. We essentially spend the entirety of our early lives waiting. Waiting for instructions on how to properly get something done, waiting for a teacher to grade our work and tell us what we did wrong or right, waiting for a parent to tell us what we should be when we grow up, and waiting for a guidance counselor to tell us what we should study in college.
And now, some random internet stranger is telling you to ignore all of that and start doing for yourself. It seems unrealistic right now, but if you stick with me I know I can change your mind. See, the road to success cannot be paved with a single action. It cannot be paved based on where you go to college, what you major in, or how many A’s you get on your transcript. The road to success derives from the amalgamation of self-motivation, maturity, erasure of entitlement, discipline, confidence in yourself, and a desire to learn and understand beyond what you’ve been taught or instructed to do.
It sounds like a lot, but believe me, it is simpler than you think with the proper mindset! With this platform, I am going to do my best to avoid generic motivational posts and broad statements that you’ve likely already heard. I am going to tell you exactly how it is, from one millennial to another and provide clear information on what you need to change or do more of to hack adulting and make the best decisions for your future. Adulting does not ‘start’ after a certain age or experience. It is a mindset that you must gradually adapt and grow into as you depart from the rules, guidelines, and restrictions of formal education and become the narrator of your own story and journey!
To the person reading this right now, go ahead and thank yourself for seeking out this knowledge. No matter where you are in your journey, it is never too late or too early to learn and equip yourself with tools and resources. I ambitiously hope to serve as the only website you will need for all the questions and concerns you may have, and that will require active participation from you. Reach out to me to tell me what’s missing, what you need to know more of, and what helped. I may not have all the answers, but I understand a lot and can be certain I will help you in some way.
Thank you for being here, and stay tuned!
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