Ever Wonder How Much Responsibility Being An Adult Has?

Turning 21 Was Fun And All, But Here Are 5 Things That It’s Taught Me About Myself Thus Far

Growing up isn't all fun and games.

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I turned 21 in October of 2018. I kept having dreams about it and being able to order my own alcoholic drinks and purchase from places on my own. That was the most exciting part: feeling completely legal. I'm no heavy drinker and I don't party, so when the day actually came, it felt like just another day. As sad as that sounds, my 21st birthday was nothing too special.

I did get to celebrate it in lots of cool ways like going on vacation for a few days with my parents and boyfriend. That was fun, but once I came back home to the reality of life and all of my responsibilities, I was downed.

There are a lot of things that I've learned in the 21 years that I've been alive, but there are 5 more specific things that really stick out and are the most meaningful and educational.

1. Living on my own isn't as nice as I anticipated.

Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash

Moving out can seem like such a fun thing and living independently is a huge added bonus. Not having to have parents tell you about things that need to be done, cleaning up after your family, etc. Once I moved into an apartment and lived there for a few months though, all of that changed.

There are lots of things for me to still learn about life and myself, but being on my own and taking care of everything myself that my parents could have been there to help me out with is the biggest struggle. Having to make all of those phone calls myself, driving to and from both of my jobs, putting in the hours each week to make money to pay for the bills, and so much more.

Being in my own bedroom without my parents living with me seemed so fun, but I now understand how much I still depend on them and how much I miss them and wish that I had made the decision to stay at home with them.

2. Becoming money-independent isn't a walk in the park.

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

When living on my own, there are bigger things like rent bills, a car payment and a vet fee since I have a cat. Having a cat is my own choice just as well as living without my parents is, but it makes sense since it's much closer to school than me commuting from home would be. I was able to save a lot of money living with them though, so money is much tighter this way and budgeting comes into hand.

3. Responsibilities become heavier.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

After turning 18, my parents stopped receiving Social Security in my favor, and I became a form of spending money. Since I was born, my mother has taken care of me and kept me underneath her wing when it comes to food, shelter and clothing. After some time, it was important that I was shown how to take care of myself for when I won't always have my parents and for when I have to start paying back my student loans. If I want reliable transportation, a cell phone, to be protected by health care and automobile insurance, a place to live and food and clothing to have, I needed to be shown how to obtain all of those things myself. I'm still working on taking each and every one of these responsibilities on for myself, but I'm happy to have been explained how important this will become.

4. There is still a lot of growing up to do.

Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

The beginning of adulthood is a time of excitement and stress. Learning what my future will be like and what it will consist of is a lot to take in. Knowing how many burdens will be moved to my shoulders, wanting to eventually settle down and be married, share joint accounts with a SO, etc. It's a lot to understand and a lot to have to learn to earn.

Becoming an independent is the biggest part of adulthood, and as a 21-year-old full-time student and part-time employee, I still have a lot on my spoon to take in and take onto my own life from others, being my parents.

5. Handling stress, panic and anxiety alone is scary.

Photo by DANNY G on Unsplash

Being diagnosed with depression and OCD, having to handle a mental breakdown, a panic attack or a very depressive state is also completely dependent on how I manage it alone. For the most part, my panic attacks happen at late hours of the night or wee hours of the early morning when no one else is awake for me to call and talk through it with (there are hotlines and crisis text lines though). Taking my medications is all on me; taking responsibility and showing up for important doctor's appointments is on me; not abusing forms of treatment, overdosing, etc. is all dependent on a patient.

Because I live with other roommates that I'm not entirely close with, I feel like I'm backed into a corner a lot, or am in a state of constant loneliness when I can't see or talk to my mother, boyfriend or best friend. This is an extremely challenging part of my adulthood experience and is one that will continue to develop and turn into something that is much more serious. It's already a serious matter, but soon enough, it will become my responsibility to have insurance to cover expensive therapy and psychiatry appointments and to be able to pay for medication.

In the end, growing up can seem and actually is fun in some aspects. Responsibilities, finances, grades, and well-being are important things to keep in mind when going about one's life and taking advantage of what one has. I personally didn't realize the duties that were put onto me when I moved out right away and abused what I had as far as money and responsibilities go; but since I've been around for 21 years, I feel that I've learned a lot and have a lot more to learn. But I'll get there.

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

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The College Experience

A series telling the true experiences of modern day college students.

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Everyone tells you to prepare for the best years of your life.

They tell you to prepare for all of the new challenges and new opportunities.

They say that you will meet your future people in college.

What they don't tell you is how much it will hurt.

Seeing old friends disappear because you are no longer home.

Watching your grades fall because the class is too difficult to pass.

Hearing and witnessing your family struggle and you aren't able to be with them.

Seeing all of the adventures that others are going on while you are stuck in your dorm room with the same stack of papers you have been trying to finish for three days now.

They don't tell you how difficult the transition will be.

They especially don't tell you how hard it is to live with someone.

The best of friends can live together and then grow to hate each other.

Complete strangers will move in and never speak.

You'll find friends that are simply just your "writing friend" or "band friend".

Many of the labels from high school can sometimes stick around.

If you're not out drinking or clubbing, then people think you don't have a life.

College is great, but don't think that it will be easy.

You have to make things easy in order for things to happen.

You can't just go around doing whatever and expect things to work out.

It takes time and it takes commitment to succeed in life, and in college.

The best way to deal with it all, find someone!

Find someone that you can get coffee with and watch sports with.

Find someone to eat dinner and lunch with.

Find someone to study religion and math before the next test.

Find someone!

Find your someone, a friend or someone special, to help you make it through everything that life throws at you.

If I had that someone I might have been better off my first year.

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