Olivia McLachlan
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Freedom at Least

Gen Z, Live and on Campus

So you’re moving away for school. You’re anxious, to say the least. But you’ve been thinking about your own apartment (well… dorm) since you applied way back in November but it was always just a fun thought; something you entertained while still having some doubts about whether you’d even be accepted into the far-away-college. Now, however, you know exactly what’s happening, sort of. You know what to expect, kind of.

It started with graduation: you felt a sense of achievement. For the last 4+ years, you’ve been joking about “making it” through high school. Worrying about how to balance academics, extra-curriculars, family obligations, and a social life has taken the spotlight lately. But now, you realize, you did balance it all; you found your rhythm and made high school a little more fun. You fulfilled your goals and maybe even exceeded them. Hold onto that feeling. It will carry you through this next chapter, so to speak.

It’s already late August and you feel that typical #summertimesadness but not quite like all the other times. This is mixed with disbelief, pride, fear, excitement and a few other hard-to-place emotions. Hold onto this feeling also, because without it, you’ll never move forward. Rather than these feelings gnawing away at you, feed on them. Let them light your fire. This if your future and your present; you decide how it looks.

You will have an identity, a code, in your school. It might be what gets you food, it may grant you access to your dorm or it may just act as proof of who you are. In many ways, you can’t survive without that identity, printed on a plastic card. One of the main reasons being it knows who you are. Do you even know who are? Do you know what you want in life? What do you expect to get out of this educational experience? The card seems to know all that. Maybe it’s a good listener, too.

You have no idea how to budget. The reality of living on your own has started to sink in. How do mom and dad do this, you’ll wonder.

Well, remember what I said about finding your own rhythm in high school? Did you hold onto that? That’s okay. Here’s a refresher course.

You will end up spending too much at Tim’s and you may very well worry about where your next is coming at some point. But you’ll pick yourself up, figure out what you have to do, and do it. I need extra money, you’ll think. You will then fire up your resume and tell some white lies. I don’t get any of this, you’ll say while considering giving up. But you won’t give anything up except for that mindset. Next thing you know, you’re in your professor’s office asking them what this term from last week really means. All because it’s okay not to know.

You’ll come home to your family or meet up with your friends some time after those humbling moments and you’ll look like school has aged you already. There is so much more ahead of you, but for now you’re enjoying your time with loved ones, laughing about your similar lessons learned over the sounds of ellipticals or maybe iced coffee. It will be during one of these soon-to-be funny stories that you reflect on what you’ve already done and how much you still have left to do. Will I ever get a break? You know the answer to that.

Let’s change things up now and stay in the present. What are you doing? Eating avocado toast? Reading your new favourite book? Sitting uncomfortably in bed writing about university into the wee hours of the morning? Me neither. My summer’s been pretty average.

Aside from thinkin’ about stuff.

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Freedom at Least
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