Summer is nearly over and in about two weeks we will all be back on Fairfield’s campus for another school year. Returning to Fairfield is slightly different for me this year for two reasons. The first is that I have not set foot on campus since last December when I left to study for a semester in London. The second reason is because I am entering my senior and final year at Fairfield, and after the next two weeks, I will never have another Fairfield move-in day.
Still, despite the fact that I will be graduating next May, I cannot help but feel on most days that I am not really a college student. When I return home for summers and extended breaks, there is still a part of me that feels stuck indefinitely at 17-years-old, as if I am still a high schooler going through the motions of an adult. So, to any college underclassman who feel the same way, don’t worry. There is nothing unusual about feeling the age that you no longer are as long as you still keep up with your responsibilities.
When I first came to Fairfield, a large part of me could not believe that I was living somewhere on my own for the first time. I always had a close relationship with my parents, so to be somewhere else with more than one state border between us was a surreal experience. Fast forward to my junior year, I was living somewhere with several thousand miles between us. Most of the time, I forgot about the strangeness of it and went about my days, but there were still moments when I wondered how I could be about to enter the real world when my gut reaction was to say that I’m 17-years-old when someone asked, as opposed to 21-years-old.
I’m fairly certain that most people feel that way at some point in their lives, if not for their entire lives. In the past, when I have spoken to my parents about it, my mother said that she still feels like she is in her early 20’s at times. If anything, I think that any college underclassman who still feels like he or she is in high school is simply projecting a subconscious desire. It’s not that you are unhappy with where you are presently, but perhaps the age that you feel is a reflection of a time that you enjoyed; maybe even a time that you miss because you had less responsibilities.
During your time in college, you may never feel like you are entirely an adult. You will have to make adult decisions, assert your independence and at times, answer your own questions. However, you will still have doubts that will make you feel like you never truly left high school where everything was still uncertain and there were people around to provide you with answers. Even so, you will get used to the changes, and even if you look in the mirror and are surprised by the reflection looking back at you, you will grow used to that feeling as well. So, if you are worried that you will never get used to the feeling of being an adult, you are definitely not alone. If anything, most of us are pretending to fit the role until we grow confident enough to truly live it.