I Became An Adult Before The Law Said I Was One

I Became An Adult Before The Law Said I Was One

It didn't take 21 years for some of us to grow the hell up.

"Oh you're turning 21! Are you ready to become an official adult?"

This statement has been uttered to me numerous times in my countdown to 21 years old (on October 12th) and I silently laugh to myself every time I hear it. For most, turning 21 is a huge mental advancement where they completely feel like an adult but for me, it's just the age where I can purchase alcohol legally.

For many of us, we had to grow up before most kids had to; whether it was extenuating circumstances, by choice or something in between, the context we were raised in made us mature beyond our peers' level. All of these "adulting" things that people our age talk about, we have been doing for years by ourselves.

While in high school kids my age were eating out frequently, going to the movies, and generally wasting money as soon as it hit their hands. Finances weren't exactly flexible for me growing up, and I learned from a young age that budgeting is essential so that you're not going hungry a week from now. Making a budget and sticking to it was one of the first "adult" life lessons I learned well as a teenager.

On the topic of finances, many people I know are stressing over student loans. Now, some people can't help that they have student loans: their parents make too much money, their scholarships didn't cover everything, or they did not qualify for grants. Stepping up and applying for every scholarship I could, making connections with people hundreds of miles away, and stepping outside of my comfort zone to ensure I could obtain a college education was part of the early maturity I was forced into.

Even today as a college kid, I still have friends to this day that ask me questions about doing their laundry. These are things I learned as a 14 year old kid, when we were frequently moving between houses and we couldn't afford to buy a washer or dryer. It's funny what you remember from sitting at the local laundromat for 4 hours a week.

To stay on the college kid ranting, it's scary how many students my age don't know how to cook for themselves. Instead of learning, they either choose to eat very little or eat out 2-3 times per day, which is definitely not in the budget of a real adult. Since I was 6 years old, I was at my dad's legs watching him make biscuits, at my grandmother's side watching her cook Sunday dinner, and to this day by my mom's side cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

I was blessed to have good cooks on both sides of my family, and not only do i know how to cook just about anything, but I cook on a budget. Anyone who comes from my kind of family knows how to buy whole foods on a budget and definitely appreciate the value of leftovers.

I don't say all of this to brag about myself: I have my faults and I am by no means the most mature person I know. However, the mind state that kids don't become adults until they are 21 is entirely false. Some us didn't have the choice to grow up, to behave like an adult, to have self-discipline and respect, to be accountable for our actions, to be self-aware, etc. Keep putting in the work.

For those of us who did have a choice, I commend you for waking your ass up every morning to get a job done without having to be told. I respect you for taking others into consideration before yourself. I admire your ability to speak authoritatively for what you believe and have well-thought out reasons for you life choices. Know that you are not alone out here in what the adults older than 21 have called the "real world" of adulthood.

Here's to 21 years of my life, thank you all who have helped shape me into the adult I am today.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.


To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.


The nursing student with just one year left.

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The 7 Best Pieces Of Advice I Have Been Given About Life

Some of the best advice I have been given over the years...


There isn't a central theme among these pieces of advice or sayings. They are all just random things I have been told over the course of my life–especially in the last week. I find these 7 to be particularly helpful in various situations, and try to keep them in mind when I am in over my head.

1. "Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself because there is nobody who is going to help you more than you."

You are the #1 person who can help your own case. No one knows you as you do, therefore no one will be able to help you more than you can help yourself. A lot of things are mental, so once you can convince yourself that you deserve something (whatever it may be) you can convince anyone. Another saying goes along with this, on the flip side: "No one can diminish you but yourself." You are in control of your own self-perception, and you are very much capable of being your own worst enemy.

2. "Stand behind your reputation because you can never get it back."

My mom sent this to me the other day. Be who you are, and do it proudly. Especially with meeting people for the first time, you can never have a second chance at a first impression. That being said, if people view you in a bad light, figure out why that is and fix it. You may not be able to change someones initial thoughts of you, but you can change the way they view you after that.

3. "The best things in life happen unexpectedly."

"Life is what happens when you're busy making plans," also goes along with this. Trying to plan out every little detail of your life is only going to lead to disappointment. Sometimes you find the best things/what you're looking for when you're not actually looking. Just go through the motions and things will work out the way they are supposed to.

4. "Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small."

It's important to celebrate the little things. Did you go to class today? Good for you. Did you decide to drink water instead of a soda? That's awesome. How are you going to work up to doing bigger and better things if you don't have anywhere to start?

5. "Whatever you're stressing about now probably won't matter in five years."

As someone who is often eaten away by their own worry and anxiety, this is a mantra that I try to constantly remind myself. While it may seem like a big deal now, you need to keep in mind the bigger picture. Will it matter in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 months? And so on. If the answer is no to ANY of these questions, it's probably not worth beating yourself up over.

6. "Stop being the 'go to' person for someone you can't go to."

Someone tweeted that their pastor said this to them and the tweet went viral. A friend of mine sent it to me, and it really made me think. Something I have struggled with over the years is making excuses for people who don't show up for me when I am constantly there for them. This is a helpful reminder that if they aren't contributing to you and your life, you shouldn't have to bend over backward to help them out and be in their lives.

7. "Two wrongs don't make a right."

While this is often a saying that parents use on their young children, it is applicable to pretty much any stage of life. My parents, especially my dad, have constantly said this, whether it was in reference to fighting with my siblings or dealing with people at school. Even as a 20-year-old, I find myself saying this when I hear about arguments and problems people are having. Everyone wants to get even, to best those who hurt them. While it's important to stick up for yourself, it is also important to be the bigger person and not stoop to their level (and whatever else your parents told you in these situations).

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