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Is This What It Feels Like To Become an Adult?

It feels weird to call myself an adult as a 19-year-old, especially when there are others my age who own their own places to live, work full-time jobs, and are able to fully support themselves. However, given that I’m only two months away from turning 20, I feel like that label is starting to fit me more. My teens are coming to an end and “adult life” is beginning. With this life comes bills — sadly — and learning how to live on my own and be my own person.

Moving into my first apartment, even though it’s just a college apartment, hasn’t been as big of an adjustment as I expected it to be. It’s probably since I already lived on campus last year in my dorm, but the difference now is I have monthly bills to pay, my own car with me, and a place to call my own without any hall mates to share a shower with or dining halls to wait in line for my food. Now, I make my own food, drive myself places, coordinate driving and parking time instead of just walking, and I clean my own place. I truly never realized how much work it took to have everything looking nice — especially after living at home with a mom there who did so many things for me that I now have to do for myself.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that I feel like I’m evolving. I’m starting to figure out what I actually like instead of following trends or what’s popular. That’s really all you worry about as a teen. Do I still look at Pinterest for inspiration? Absolutely. I just make sure to add my own touch to things instead of copying what I see. This comes with learning how to not care about what other people think, which is a lesson that takes time. There are so many lessons that you’re told while growing up that you never really learn until you go through them yourself: don’t care what others think about you, do things for yourself, love yourself first, and a million others.

I still find it strange to call myself an adult. I feel like I haven’t earned that title yet or worked hard enough for it, but when will it be enough? I worked this entire summer to be able to pay off my tuition. While I’m very grateful my parents help me with my monthly bills, was my tuition not enough? Is maintaining my place of living not enough? Is learning to take care of myself by myself not enough? I feel like these are all things we question as we grow into those roles. Maybe, I’ll feel adult enough when I’m living life supporting myself and working a full-time job like the people I previously described — who knows. Everyone is doing their own thing on their own path just like I’m on mine. We’re all learning our own lessons at our own pace and when it’s the right time for us to learn them.

Even writing this, I feel like I’m not adult enough to write about becoming an adult. All I know is I’m on my journey to becoming one. I’m finding my place in this world and making sure I enjoy my time here. The time we wished for as kids is coming. Even if we want to go back, we can’t, so drink your coffee while walking down the city street, dress up just to run errands, go out to that bougie restaurant with your friends, and do whatever it is that makes you feel like an adult. The time is coming, so you have to get used to it. Once you have that title, there’s no going back.

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Alejandra Jimenez

Virginia Tech '24

Alejandra Jimenez is a sophomore at Virginia Tech studying Computational Modeling & Data Analytics. She has a passion for shopping, tv shows, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.
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