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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

As someone who turned 18 a short six months ago, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. But here are my tips on how to act like an adult while also secretly calling your mom every night. 

Believe me when I say I’ve experienced a great deal of struggle being at Berkeley now for a bit. Paired with not being able to go home every weekend or call my mom every second of every day, I’ve had to rely on myself a lot and, in a way, age 20 years, so if you see a 38-year-old in an 18-year-old’s body on campus, don’t say anything.

And with that comes the big responsibility of taking care of yourself, instead of your parents semi-doing that for you. And so for all my fellow students who may also be experiencing some big adult struggles, here are a couple of things I’ve found to really help me, at least seem like an adult, even if I still eat Froot Loops for breakfast. 

invest in some business clothes

I’m sure we were all scrolling for hours on end watching YouTube videos to figure out what to bring to college, and I’m sure we all saw business formal clothes and assumed it was just for the business majors. Well, you’d be wrong. As someone with a major that definitely doesn’t involve dressing up extra nice for anything, I figured a suit was the last thing I’d need on my list, but I quickly learned otherwise. Turns out that if you want to be super involved in prestigious clubs or are interviewing for practically anything, those suits play a big role in whether or not you land a position. Wearing business formal attire can show your interviewer that you know what you’re signing up for, are prepared to handle big responsibilities, and, in general, look presentable. And so when the time comes to be interviewed, it’s better to show up in formal attire, rather than a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. 

transportation is key

If you don’t know the city too well or don’t own a car this is my No. 1 tip to make sure you aren’t totally setting yourself up to fail. Plus, you’ll feel a lot better and more mature knowing you aren’t going in the opposite direction of your location, which I’m guilty of. If you haven’t already, I’d make sure to know which buses you’re going to commonly use, such as the ones that take you from your home to your classes, the gym, or any restaurants you like. Right now you may be thinking, ‘Well I can just walk everywhere and get steps in and blah blah blah’ but, in reality, two months from now, your feet are going to be deadly sore, you’ll be living on three hours of sleep, and that bus ride will be your power nap before you do eight hours of homework. Not to mention, Berkeley students get free bus transportation, (i.e. you paid for it but ‘girl math’ means it’s free if you can’t remember paying for it) so take advantage of your bus pass and explore the city or just skip the 20-minute walks to an off-campus class. 

know yourself

Definitely easier said than done, but if your emotions or feelings aren’t happy or have sunshine and rainbows next to them in descriptions — that’s okay, just like it’s okay to have off days. Knowing that you’re not doing okay one day is the reality of being an adult in the world and, in any case it’s better to just be sad, angry, or off, as opposed to masking it with superficial happiness. In the end, holding back all these pent-up emotions is just going to make midterm or final seasons extra difficult, because everything will be out on the table. If need be, just take a day to yourself, have a cry, call your parent(s), or do anything that’ll make you feel better so that the next day or week you go back to the best version of yourself instead of the version you want to be.

It’s okay to have off days

be prepared for sneezing season

As someone from SoCal, coming here I immediately got a cold, full-on stuffy nose, and headaches that lasted my first two weeks here. With that being said, as much as I wanted to call my mom to make me some soup and let me skip school to nap all day, I couldn’t. Number one because she’s six hours away in Los Angeles, and number two I already paid my tuition for the semester so I’d be wasting money. And so I had to become my own self-inflicted doctor and take care of myself. Luckily my parents were thinking ahead of me and made sure I brought enough DayQuil and ibuprofen that could last me 20 years. Likewise, although I was dying on the inside, I still had to make sure my body was fed, so, in other words, even though I wanted to sleep all day, I forced myself out of bed to eat dining hall soup and hot foods to help cure myself. And as much as I wanted to skip the whole first week of school, I really couldn’t, so I had to become my mom and force myself to get dressed and attend my 8 a.m.’s. All in all, my key tip to being an adult, or teen adult, is to take care of yourself and make sure you’re not making yourself worse if you’re sick, which is easier to do than you might think. Although staying in bed all day may seem like the best option at the moment, it’s just a quick solution that’ll lead to bigger problems when you fall behind in class, have stomach aches because you’re hungry, or just stay sick for even longer than intended. Know your limits, but also know that DayQuil exists and that you’re your own responsibility when it comes to staying healthy

Monica Luna Miguel

UC Berkeley '27

Monica is a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley, intending to major in Architecture and Political Science and minor in Journalism. She is currently a writer for the Berkeley chapter and enjoys writing about her college and personal experiences. Monica has experience in writing for newspapers and magazines. After graduating she hopes to pursue a masters degree in Architecture. She also hopes to work for an editorial team in some of today's most popular newspapers as well as speak about the politics behind today's world. Coming from the city of Los Angeles she loves going to concerts and listening to music. Monica also has a strong passion for literature and reading all the classics and new up and coming authors. She also has a bit of an obsession with video editing.