How to Adult in 4 Simple Steps

Apparently, turning 18 does not magically mean you’re an adult. In fact, this did not happen when I turned 19 either. I was thrown into adult life essentially blindfolded entering my first semester at college last fall. For the first time, my mom was not just down the hall, she was seven states away. This kind of revelation forces you to learn how to fend for yourself, or as some may call it, "adulting". The art of adulting is a truly beautiful and complicated talent that seems rather unachievable. A year and a half of living on my own and I’d like to say I’ve perfected it. While I absolutely have not, I can make really good pasta and do my own laundry, so that has to count for something. With all the obstacles that growing up comes with, here are some tips to remember that make the process a little easier.

1. Manage your schedule.

The worst part about adulting is that there are actually things you have to do now. And unfortunately, there are a lot of them. As a student, you have class, homework, a job, extracurricular activities, hobbies, and a social life to fit in a 24 hour day. Add sleeping, eating, and bathing to the mix, and it all just seems like entirely too much to handle. You grow older and basically don’t have a choice but to learn how to deal with it. The best way to address this new and exciting stage of your life is with eagerness. In order to handle all the things we adults must do in a day, we must learn to manage our time efficiently! A planner, agenda, or calendar is a great tool for organizing your life. This way you can see and manage just how much time you need to allocate to certain activities and feel accomplished when you can say you’ve done it! Plus, investing in some colored pens and color-coding your plans is fun all on its own.

2. Think of your future.

It is all too easy to forgo boring responsibilities for more fun alternatives. On any day of the week, going out with your girlfriends sounds way more appealing than studying for your calculus exam. But one by one, these choices add up. While you should never give up enjoying yourself, especially in this stage of life, it is important to balance hard work and fun. If you constantly choose the more pleasurable choice over the one that contributes to your other responsibilities, you may be risking the success of your future. Being an adult is not necessarily about always choosing the boring choice over the fun choice, but is about knowing when the right time to have fun is.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Growing up is hard. It is incredible and full of beautiful and amazing experiences, but it is hard. It is important to remember that not all of us grow at the same pace. We all have been raised in different environments with different values and different influences. Therefore, it only makes sense that we grow up and learn to adult differently. Does someone look like they’re doing better than you? Good for them. Does someone appear to be slacking in certain aspects? Wish them well. We all grow at different paces and there’s nothing wrong with that.

4. Be proud of yourself.

You’ve never grown up before, how are you supposed to know how to do it? Taking it all step by step and celebrating your achievements is a crucial part of the process. If you complete all the tasks on your to do list, celebrate. If you manage to finish a project before the day that it’s due, celebrate. Did you manage to eat a healthy meal when all you wanted was McDonald’s? Celebrate! One accomplishment leads to another and before you know it, you’re adulting. All in all, the most important part of growing up is enjoying it, and the rest will come when the time is right.