Ways I've Grown Up After Starting College
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Student Life

18 Ways I Decided To 'Grow Up' This Summer

The summer after my first year of college was a chance for me to really recognize what #adulting is.


After spending my first year of college nearly four hours away from home, I have cultivated a new type of independence but also became wary of areas where I still need to grow. Generally speaking, I was more sheltered prior to college and received a shock from all of the new responsibilities I had in my first year. As I continue to approach my second year, I am using my summer as a period of 'growing up' and weaning myself from living as a needy high school student.

So here's to 18 ways I chose to grow up during the summer of '18:

1. I talked to strangers--even rude ones.

This "accomplishment" is simply a side effect of working in customer service, but it is also a taste of the real world. Life is dealing with people--the kind, the mean, the rich, the poor, the polite, the rude.

2. I trusted myself to make phone calls.

Learning to make phone calls is important, and for years I remember either (1) working with my mom to formulate a script of exactly what I was going to say on the phone or (2) just having my mom do it. Since I'm older and have to make even more phone calls than before, I learned to trust myself that I can handle these conversations. Through this process, I have gained confidence.

3. I deleted my goshdarn Finsta.

Using social media to create drama is immature, unnecessary, and is meant for a melodramatic high school student, not someone searching for an internship and career.

4. I disciplined myself to practice a skill that was frustrating for me.

Last semester, I struggled in a computer science class that docked my GPA more than I would have liked. This summer, I used the time to prevent this struggle from happening again. Practice! Practice! Practice!

5. I maximized time I spent with my family.

While I used to think that I was too old to spend time with my family (especially my parents), I am now too old to think that way. My family won't be here forever, so I have to make the most of my time with them.

6. I gave people the space they deserve.

I used to have a bad habit of clinging to every situation I've had with every person I know and repeatedly contacting people to try to "repair things." This summer has demonstrated how it is healthy to give other people their space so I can start fresh with everybody.

7. I made eye contact with people who intimidate me.

This sounds like a pretty basic and easy skill, but, for some people (including me), it was very difficult. But to carry myself like an adult (because, heck, I am one), I needed to suck it up. And I did.

8. I recognized and accepted who my false friends were.

It took me way too long to discover that I had some people for prolonged periods of time who never really were friends. Coming to terms with the artificiality of these friendships signified that I have 'grown up,' and I will continue to grow and move past them.

9. I chose to forgive.

Forgiveness is hard because I dwell on situations and how others had made me feel. Yet, this summer has given me a chance to let go of my grudges, give second chances, and ultimately be the mature one.

10. I unplugged when going out to dinner.

When my family wants to go to a restaurant, I leave my phone in the car when we go in (and, by the way, I use the most data of anyone in my family). I value the importance of face-to-face conversations, which therefore means my phone is away.

11. I asked for criticism and accepted it.

Handling criticism can be difficult, but I've learned to appreciate those who give me constructive advice. The only way I can improve myself is by learning where my shortcomings are. So a huge thank you to all of the people who were brutally honest with me!

12. I learned how to manage my own money.

I am now at the age where I need to learn how to support myself without the help of my parents. By working most days of the week and making my own money, I have discovered how to save and spend my money to support myself (and decided I won't spend $200 on Penn State spirit wear anymore).

13. I noted all my mistakes from this past year and how I'll fix them.

Because, after all, isn't it better to make mistakes and grow from them than to not make mistakes at all?

14. I planned and hosted parties completely on my own.

I always loved to host friends, but I am now fully capable of being the hostess who makes and pays for all of the food, chooses the music, cleans, decorates, and arranges the type of get-together.

15. I advocated for myself when faced with situations that were unfair.

Was it a terrifying experience to call the administration of my college to ask about why I was told my scholarship was not renewed? Yes. Was it worth it? Considering there was a mistake and I now have my scholarship again, I would say yes.

16. I gave up luxuries for more important things.

Story time: many people at my college spend their second years in large apartments with all of their friends, tons of space, and decorations. I chose to stay on campus and accept a single room with a bunch of other girls to make more friends. While no, I won't have the "luxuries" of living elsewhere, I am branching out while staying in a tight space.

17. I started birth control.

No, not for the conventional reason women take it but hey, this is definitely part of the transition into adulthood.

18. Most importantly, I made the decision to never sacrifice my personality for anything.

I realized that many of the mistakes I've made were times when I compromised who I was. The moral of all the situations is that my personality is worth showing, not hiding, not changing, not sacrificing for the sake of fitting in.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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