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College life and the Freedom of Adulthood

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Transitioning from a world where you have to take permission to drink water from your own bottle to a world where you are expected to have your opinions on human rights and privileged classes, your first year of college can be pretty overwhelming even without the tremendous pressure of assignments and deadlines. Due to online classes, many of us are still not used to the freedom that we receive by stepping through the gates of our college on the first day. We still fear many things which should no longer be a bother but fail to recognize things that actually matter. Simply put: how do we begin to be young adults and utilize this newly-found freedom of adulthood?

College life puts us in the spotlight; it is as if we are in a game show but we don’t know the rules. While high school teachers would assign us partners for the project, professors in college don’t even give us basic guidelines for the next presentation. We are supposed to find our own paths- pick our own topics, do our own research and figure out our own views. Navigating this freedom can actually be pretty fun. Not only this, but the freedom of adulthood and college life comes in different shapes and forms.

Forming Political Opinions 

When you were in school, uncles and aunties shooed away your political views from the conversations on coffee tables but now, everyone expects you to be up-to-date with the political events around the globe. Now is the time for you to finally take a stand! The paths of politics are open for you: left, right, center and many more. College offers you the right to form political groups and even contest elections. You are an adult now and you have become an important citizen of the nation. It is the youth that protests, that faces the lathis of policing groups, that forces politicians to form important policies. This political freedom is significant to your identity and now is the time to do your research and take a stand.

Choosing Your Society

As you grow up, your mother is no longer there to tell you whom you should hang out with (well, for some of us). Entering college gives you the freedom to choose your own friends. While this might not sound very unique but for some people, who have been living with severe prejudices within their families, it is an important part of adulthood. For many queer people, this is the chance for them to finally show off their true rainbow colours with their friends. 

Financial Independence

An important part of college life is maintaining your budget. In India, not all of us get pocket money in high school but in college, you have to look after your conveyance charges, lunch money, stationery and course book budget and the occasional visits to the nearby cafés. Many college students also decide to move out of their parents’ house and take up a part-time job. College, therefore, ensures that you now learn to take care of your own money- be it investing in mutual funds or buying a PS5 for your nineteenth birthday.

Choosing Your Own Path 

In the end, it all comes down to this: you now have to choose your own path. Be it deciding what paper to pick up next semester or what jobs to apply for or what to have for lunch- you make your own future plans. College life ensures that you feel mature enough to make your own decisions and take up the responsibility for what you do.

That is how we come to the consequences of this freedom that college life offers you. When you make your own decisions, you have to be ready to face the consequences yourself. Now, the shield of childhood is gone and no parent is going to come and help you out of the situation you formed for yourself. Therefore, the possibility of making wrong decisions looms darkly over college life. 

But that doesn’t make adulthood all that bad. If you know how to correctly utilize the freedom you have been given, college life can turn out to be pretty peachy. At this risk of sounding like a quintessential parent, here are some tips you can follow:

  1. Remember to weigh in your choices and try to make the right decisions.
  2. Understand what you want from life and create a plan (and a bunch of backup plans as well).
  3. Recognize the privilege that you have in terms of your gender, class, caste, etc. and try to understand the positions of others.
  4. Have fun in life but do not jeopardize your future and the lives of others.

Adulthood comes with freedom but this freedom can turn into a nightmare of choices, opinions, and decisions you do not want to make. However, that shouldn’t make you undermine the fun part of freedom. You are finally living life the way you dreamt of it! There are many good things awaiting you- friendships, romance, career, and a happily ever after. It’s all about maintaining a balance. So go out there and be an adult!

Yashica

Delhi South '22

Yashica (she/her) is an undergraduate based in Delhi, India. A student of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, she is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. Her poetry has been published by Sapphic Writers, The Red Megaphone, AsianZine, and The Write Order. She is also the coordinator of the creative writing society of her college. While she briefly worked as a content writer, she usually finds herself writing about the grotesque realities of the human psyche and society. Her work ranges from horror fiction to confessional poetry. She also writes about Dalit issues and her experiences as a member of the queer community.
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