My whole life, I've wanted to be older than I am. I've wanted to make my own choices, have responsibility and have people see me as someone who is confident and knows what they're doing. That's easier said than done.
But as I begin the last year of college, I am not-so-quietly hoping that I actually get mistaken to be younger. In previous years, I would be so offended if someone thought that. Don't I look old? Don't I seem mature? But now, I like to remind people that I'm just 21.
Since this year marks my last in college, it also acts as the last year of buffer between the real world and myself. The real world is one where being incapable of very simple things like knowing how to void a check (you just write void on it, apparently) or the vital difference between the low oil level icon in your car and the change oil icon.
The truth is that the real world is as foreign to me even though I have been living in it for 21 years. For me, it is as strange to me as Twitter is to my parents. For them, Twitter is a thing they are confused by. In attempting to figure it out, they make hilarious mistakes and get really excited when they see their favorite celebrity post something. Eventually, though, they get the hang of it. Twitter is a place where people can make mistakes fairly consequence-free as long as you aren't making a bad joke that has the potential to go viral. The real world is just as confusing but the consequences are very real. If I don't figure out how to properly deal with my tax, the IRS will be hunting me till my last day.
And while I stumble and indisputably flail through this foreign new world, there will be the Baby Boomers people like some of my parents' friends on Facebook or commenters on Millennial pieces who will roll their eyes about the complete incompetence of people like me. They'll lament the generation where everyone was given a trophy for participation and complain about how we still live with our parents forgetting student loans, rising rents and the growing uselessness of the regular old bachelor's degree keep us trapped in our cribs. And while all this happens, I'm becoming more and more afraid that I've become one of the people they constantly complain about. I never in my life wanted to be that person that some of society sees as a burden.
I know many incoming seniors must feel the same as I do. That deep apprehension for what lies after college and becoming the stereotypical Millennial that is featured in those articles. But if growing up has taught me anything is that, in the end, Taylor Swift was right. The haters are going to hate. And beyond that, the haters are going to get old and watch the generation they complained so much about begin to run the world without being able to do much. We will be a generation to bring something new and remember that new isn't bad at all.