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Note: I wrote this article after my first 18 days of life at the University of Alabama. I will now be a sophomore at the same school, but thought these observations could be very valuable to the incoming Classes of 2022.
"Adulting" is a term often used to describe completing a task like laundry, vacuuming, or cooking a meal (though, arguably, these tasks should probably be familiar to us even before reaching age 18), though the word carries a silly connotation and is typically associated with 'those darned millennials,' I think it's a perfect way to describe what I've been doing, or at least trying to do, in the last few weeks. Turns out, being a college student doesn't simply entail going to class and sleeping until noon on weekends. Even though I already knew how to do my own laundry, make a simple meal, and use a mop, moving away from mom and dad apparently requires a lot more responsibility on my part than just remembering to change the toilet paper. First of all, overseeing my own eating habits, and specifically, my own grocery shopping, has been a bit of a shock to my diet and my wallet. Of course, in our technological age, I haven't been without the reminder to eat well, and thanks to the genius innovation that is FaceTime, I've also not been deprived of the daily inquiries, "Is your room clean?" and "Did you make your bed?"
Besides the everyday housekeeping responsibilities that, unfortunately, but inevitably, fall upon us when we begin to live on our own, even more of a striking alteration in my life is my newfound ability to, quite frankly, pretty much do whatever I want without having to ask permission from anyone. This new development is both exciting and terrifying, and at the risk of sounding too cliche, it's true that "with great power comes great responsibility." Especially being that I've migrated from a state of under 900,000 people to a town in fairly close proximity to several major cities (at least, major from my perspective), it is a very strange feeling to spontaneously buy tickets to a concert in Birmingham or pick up and take a day trip to Atlanta just because, without any consultation required on my part whatsoever. (Side note: "Hey I'm going to Atlanta on Saturday," is an extremely strange sentence to come from a mouth accustomed to asking, "Can I go to Sioux Falls on Saturday? Yes, I'll be careful...") So far, I've found that asking myself how likely a particular action would be to get me disowned or cut off is a pretty good determinant of whether something is a good or bad idea, if I'm really on the fence. I'm starting to get used to being able to make plans and decisions independently and to being solely responsible for my choices, and I hope that time will teach me what my limits and values are even more than I currently understand them, and that with the passage of that time I'll begin to understand what the best decisions for me tend to be.
Fortunately, along with the pesky responsibilities and burden of no longer being able to use “Sorry, my mom said no,” to get out of situations comes the excitement of living somewhere brand new, the opportunity for new experiences, and the immense joy of forging friendships with people you can’t believe you lived a whole eighteen years without knowing; because how could anyone laugh so hard with someone they’ve only known for two weeks? I can already say with a certain degree of confidence that in these past 18 days at the University of Alabama, I’ve been the happiest I have ever been, and though I know there will undoubtedly be trials and tribulations in the future, I’m pretty excited about this whole “adulting” thing.