The Journey to Adulthood

Growing up and becoming an adult is sort of like somebody throwing you in the deep end of a swimming pool when you barely know how to swim. We go from having somebody to make every single important decision for us, to suddenly having to make them all for ourselves. I don’t know about you, but for me there is a sense of panic and urgency when I hear the word adult. Like my whole life should have been planned out from that moment that I turned 18.

When I left university without completing my degree, I put a lot of pressure on myself to get the perfect career and the perfect life. I felt completely lost and intimidated but I realised that it’s okay to feel like that and that most people do when they graduate or leave education. I think that I forgot I’m still only 21. Like a woman said to me last week ‘you’re still only a baby.’

I personally feel like there is no moment in our lives where we will ever feel like a true adult. We’re all still young at heart growing with responsibility, experiences and knowledge. We will always need somebody to look after us. That’s it. The only true aspect about being an adult is the pressure that we put on ourselves to be the perfect portrayal of one. So if you’re feeling intimidated about your life after university, here are just a few reminders to bring you some comfort.

Not many people know what they want to do as a career or find the perfect job straight away.

So you’ve spent 3 to 4 years studying your degree and all of a sudden it’s all over. It’s easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself and to think that you need to get that ‘big break’ straight after leaving. In reality, that doesn’t usually happen. A lot of people come out of education and don’t fall into the perfect job. Despite having a degree, it can still be difficult deciding what job you actually want to do. There is no shame in that. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you find yourself still experimenting with different jobs. It can be a grueling process but you will eventually find the right thing for you. Nothing will fall into your lap, go out and search for it. Don’t give yourself a time limit.

There isn’t a specific age that you need to own your own place or be in a relationship by.

If you’re one of the many people that has to move back into the family home after university or never left in the first place, it can feel like you aren’t ever going to get anywhere. It’s actually really normal to live at home until you’re quite a bit older. It’s expensive to maintain a household when your main focus has been education. There is also no right or wrong time to meet ‘the one’, so if you’re not in a relationship right now, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never get there. There is always time. Have hope that everything will happen when it’s meant to.

It’s okay to ask for help with decisions.

Just because we start growing up, it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden we’re invincible and don’t need anybody to lean on now and again. Don’t forget to ask for help or a second opinion if you need it. It can be daunting and scary making decisions but don’t worry about making the wrong choice and messing up. Have faith and follow your gut.

Forget about everybody else’s life.

I’m so guilty of Facebook stalking other people my age. It’s so easy to look at that person from your year groups page and beat yourself up. You ask yourself questions like ‘why aren’t I earning as much money as them?’ or ‘why am I not living in a place as nice as theirs?’ But do you know what? Forget it. Don’t waste your time and energy comparing your life to somebody elses. It’s your journey, nobody else’s.

It’s okay to be immature and do silly things.

There isn’t a rule that says you can’t do certain things anymore because you’re a certain age. Go and eat 5 tubs of ice cream and watch kids cartoons. Go to the park and swing as high as you can on the swings. Paint by numbers. Do whatever you want. If it brings you a bit of silliness, fun and makes you happy then enjoy it. Never lose your sense of humour or imagination.

And most importantly, 

Nobody really knows how to be an actual adult. They’re all just winging it.

By Starr Sawyer