My first semester of grad school ended a week ago, and I’ve had some time to reflect on the past fifteen weeks. To be honest, I couldn’t wait until the semester was over, not just because of the long-awaited break I’d need, but I was also itching to write up a cheesy and flowery-worded blog post about all the things I’ve learned and how much the one semester has changed me and my life. With all of that being said, once I finally sat down to write up that blog post, I was hit by a freight train of writer’s block. Finally concluding that one semester of experiences was probably a little premature for a “OMG grad school is awesome and my life is forever changed and look at me and my awesome education” blog post, so I figured I’d try and do something a little more grounded, putting that retrospective blog post on the back burner for now. On my Instagram story, I asked what topics and questions would want to be answered about my experiences so far, and got a handful of good questions to answer.
Recall this scenario. You’re at the tail end of your final year of college. You’re ripping your hair out as you eagerly finish your final papers and cram information into your brain in preparation for the last of your final exams of your undergraduate degree. You’re almost there and you can almost smell and feel the magnificent glory of finally walking across the stage at graduation. You can’t wait to be done with school, having dedicating almost two whole decades of your life so you can get to this moment right now. You can’t wait to start your full time job working in the field that you’ve dedicated your early adulthood studying. But then what? What happens when all of the excitement dies down and your life plateaus?
Last year, I wrote a post about things that I’m bad at as an adult, a list that consisted of things like making my bed, cooking dinner, and doing anything over the phone. Since I wrote that post, I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten significantly better at most of the things that I listed in that blog post. To continue the conversation about being an adult – and being a touch more positive about it than last year – here are the things that I get excited about as an adult.
It’s been about six months since I’ve finished school, and I’ve done the usual things one is expected to accomplish post-grad: I got a full time job, I’m paying off bills quicker, and I’m taking reasonable steps towards future career goals while still basking in the freedom from homework, exams, and day to day interaction with other jaded students. There have also been transitions that I’ve been undergoing that I wasn’t at all anticipating, mostly having to do with my relationships with the people who are (and were) in my life. When you’re in school, despite how cynical you may have become due to the curve balls life throws at you, you still maintain somewhat of a rose-colored glasses perspective, especially with your friendships. There comes a point in college where you realize you’re basically an adult, which translates to thinking that the other young adults in your life have to remain there forever. For some, this may be true, but the reality is that just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean that you’re done growing. As people grow up, sometimes people grow at different times, in different directions, and ultimately apart.
During the span of the 3 months following graduation, I can safely say that I’ve done a fair share of introspection, reflection, and self-discovery. This was the first time in awhile where I felt like I was truly ending one chapter of my life and beginning a new one as I said goodbye to my undergraduate days and dove headfirst into true adulthood. Just this summer, I earned my Bachelor’s degree, watched one of my best friends get married, reconnected with people I’d lost contact with, and silently cheered on other friends as they began new and exciting adventures in their own lives. Despite all of these huge strides my friends and I have taken in the short summer, the one thing that I’ve been spending a lot of my time reflecting on was moving house – not once, but twice – and the emotions and conclusions that came along with it.
A little backstory: Back in the (not so) distant days of high school, 16 year old Walter made a Tumblr account, and I kept up with updating it for the rest of high school and for a good part of college. Eventually, I created a private sub-account where I would document my college experiences for my close friends from back home to read on a weekly basis – at least for my freshman year, and the first part of sophomore year. Over the next few years, updates on that blog would come very few and far between, all of which came when I had some sort of “epiphany” and needed to document it. As you all may or may not know, I have since abandoned both of those accounts, as I have this one to update regularly.
Recently, I’ve decided to revisit both blogs – both the private and public ones – and see how far I’ve come since my Tumblr high school/early college days. I expected to find a lot of nostalgia (which I did), but I also found a whole lot of cringe. These posts were so unbelievably angsty, and I wrote as if I knew everything about the universe (admittedly, I probably still do that, but I’d like to think that I now have a little more perspective than I did when I was eighteen). As I was going through these posts, I thought why keep the cringe to myself when I can share it with all of the internet – or at least the internet that follows me on social media – since it’s already been floating around for the past several years.
Notice the featured image I chose, taken a few days ago: Home early from work because of a cold, bed unmade, scouring social media (but please draw your attention away from the hole in my sock). This photo, for the most part, is a lot like the current state of my life: In apparent disarray, but with the right filter, still looks aesthetically pleasing. Every Thursday, I co-emcee Cru’s weekly meetings, and every Thursday, I show up wearing my business casual attire I wear at my grown-up job as a Marketing Assistant for an actual company. I always get comments left and right about how my outfits at Weekly Meeting are always on point, hair impeccably coiffed, and how my strides are always laced with confidence. Little do those people know that just a few moments before I walked through the doors, I was picking stray lettuce off of my lap from stuffing my face with McDonald’s while I raced and cursed in the middle of rush hour traffic. Pretending I have it together is my forte, and I am here to tell you how much my life is in shambles, and how I came to terms with that.
I have officially been on this Earth for 23 years, which means I’m pretty much at the helm of adulthood. During those 23 years, there’s no doubt that I’ve learned a thing or two as I endured the plenty growing pains that life had to offer. While I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made in the past, I do acknowledge the fact that I may have made some choices and took on certain mindsets that made living life a little bit of a challenge, both for myself and those around me. I’ve compiled a list of 23 pieces of advice – one for each year I’ve been alive – that I would have wanted my younger self to know.
We, as adults, are all too aware of the agonizing point in preteenhood where we undergo bodily changes and confusing emotions. I’ve read somewhere that the reason why we’re so angry during puberty is that we’re old enough to want to be independent and to go out and live life, but we’re too young to actually go out and do those things – thus we are left to simmer in our own frustration, without the slightest idea what to do with all of these new feelings.
So we go through puberty as we foray into teenagehood, we undergo that uncomfortable time, and then we move on once it’s over. It’s awkward, it’s weird, and no one ever wants to talk about it until it’s over. But why does no one acknowledge the second round of puberty we all go through? – That is, the process of transitioning into becoming an adult. Well here I am, in the midst of becoming a full-fledged adult myself, ready to talk about the awkward and anxiety-producing process of becoming a grown-up.
For the past two years, I’ve told people that I’m “almost done with school” or “hopefully graduating.” Whenever I said either of those things, my voice was tinged with excitement and restlessness, despite the fact that my graduation kept getting pushed back further and further. Now that I’m actually (for real this time) about to graduate, I almost find myself dreading my last day of classes.