This year was the first time I have ever lived alone. I signed a lease for a one-bedroom apartment, and I have been living there since last August. Living alone for the first time was eye-opening: I was responsible for all the cooking, dishes, buying groceries, paying bills. However, it didn't yet feel like I was an independent adult. I had college occupying my schedule -- going to class, club meetings, work, and doing homework occupied my time.
This summer, I got an internship in my college city. This meant staying behind during the summer, while many others went home. There were no classes, no clubs, and no studying to pencil in on my planner. Instead, my time consists of my internship, another job, and writing/editing for Odyssey. My work hours require me to be present 9-5, meaning I experience rush hour traffic daily. Instead of mainly just learning about skills required in the workforce and doing assignments, I am creating actual marketing and communication materials for a business.
This summer is the first time that I feel truly independent. Rather than just feeling like a college student living on their own and starting to transition into the adult world, I feel like an actual adult. Having a summer internship is giving me a taste of what life will be like after I graduate, which is less than a year away.
Staying behind during the summer may make me lonely without friends and family, but it is helping to prepare me for life after graduation by giving me a taste of "real" independence, independence free from a college schedule.