By Dorothy Cook
When I started my freshman year here at CUNE, I was 17. I skipped kindergarten which means that I’m a year younger than the other people in my grade. That’s all fine and dandy, but what this means is that I wasn’t an adult. Technically in Nebraska, you’re not an adult until you’re 19 which is weird, but whatever.
During my first semester here, my family was living in Anchorage, Alaska. This means that whenever I needed to go to the doctor to get a checkup or go to the ER, I needed a legal guardian because I was obviously not capable of making my own decisions. That sucked. I had to have a power of attorney either with me at doctor’s appointments or on the phone until I was 19. When I had a knee surgery while my parents were in Alaska, our softball graduate assistant went with me and took me back to my dorm after. That was pretty embarrassing because I sang about chipotle to the tune of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” after my surgery.
Now that I’m 19 (almost 20), I am finally an “adult”. I put adult in quotation marks because I still don’t see myself as an adult. I see myself as a child. But hey, I can go to the doctor on my own and sign my own legal documents!
Being an adult is scary. Making my own doctor appointments, remembering that I can’t put certain things in with other certain things in the laundry, cooking my own healthy meals, putting air in my tires and being the person to make the decisions about my life is scary. For the first time in my life, my life is in my own hands. I decide what I eat, I decide how often I wash my bedsheets, I decide everything. Nobody can tell me how much coffee I should drink, what I wear, remind me to take my gummy vitamins, or do my homework. It is all on me. That is insane. One minute we are raising our hands, asking permission to use the bathroom as an 18 year old in highschool, and the next we are expected to make sound, reasonable decisions that can impact the course of our lives in college. That’s kind of a ridiculously fast transition, and boy was I absolutely not ready for it.
I am blessed to have an amazing relationship with my parents. I talk to my mom on the phone almost every single day, and I couldn’t ask for a better best friend. This also means that I can call her or my dad and ask, “How do I know when this pork is cooked enough?”, or, “Do you think it’s okay to drive when my tire pressure is at 26 when it’s supposed to be at 33?”. I’m not ashamed to ask these questions because like I said, I’m still a child. I have so much to learn, and I recognize that. I have no clue how to cook a decent steak (the one time I tried a fire marshall showed up) or what a fair price for an oil change is, and that’s okay.
One thing I did have to do on my own, and that I am very proud of, is getting medical records from a doctor in Missouri to a doctor in Lincoln. It took probably 12 phone calls and three pep talks to myself, but that’s probably my best #adulting moment. After this big moment of adulting, I called my mom and told her how well I had adulted and that I had adulted enough for the rest of the year. She reminded me that, “You don’t get to not adult because you feel like you’ve met your quota… that’s not how it works kiddo”. So now I have to adult even more. Fantastic.
Keep in mind that learning how to “adult” is a marathon, not a sprint, and becoming a “real adult” isn’t going to happen overnight. We’re college kids here, and we should embrace being a kid for as long as we possibly can. So go ride your bike (but wear a helmet you heathens), go eat that Big Mac at three a.m. with your friends, and go live your kid life for as long as you can. Being a kid is something that I took for granted, and I wish that I could go back in time to when my only concern in life was if my favorite show was on when I got home from school. Take life one day at a time, and relish in your time as a kid because once you’re an adult, there’s no going back. Dang that was some deep advice, I need that on a pillow.