I’ll Only Consider Myself an Adult When I Make My Own Doctor Appointments
Written By Marissa Nadeau
When we were in middle school, we couldn’t wait to get to high school. When we got to high school, we counted down the days until graduation so we could leave the town we’ve spent our entire lives in and start college. We were in college and felt like we were truly starting our lives and all of a sudden it’s senior year and then graduation and… now what? For the past 18 years of our lives, we’ve spent the majority of our days in school, and all of a sudden it’s over and nothing could really prepare us for the next step.
I graduated from NYU last May and the month afterwards was a whirlwind: the field I’m in really requires a higher degree but I did not want to go back to school - I didn’t know life without school and wanted to see what that was like. Our generation has had this idea ingrained in our minds that we have to finish our education as fast as we can because if we need a Masters then a Doctorate we can get that as soon as possible and then hopefully become successful at a young age. What we didn’t realize is how fast everything was passing us by and before we knew it, we’re 21/22, unsure how to integrate into the world of bills and taxes and budgeting that for some of us we immediately jump into graduate school because being in a classroom environment is all we know.
This fall, I’ll be starting my Masters after over a year of working and living in NYC. I’ve had two different jobs completely unrelated to what I got my BA in, and really struggled for the first 6 months, thinking that I was wasting my time and money. But honestly? I’ve learned more about myself and how to live outside of my comfort zone this past year than I did during my 4 years in college.
I moved from the East Village to East Harlem - a 99 block jump uptown. My senior year I had an apartment with two of my close friends so I understood bills and deadlines, but I had help from my parents. Working crazy hours every week to make it to the end of the month to see if I’ll have made enough money to cover my half of the rent is a super fun game I like to play. A lot of the time I get asked questions about budgeting but truthfully I don’t have a ton of tips or tricks; I don’t think that I’ll really figure that out until I get a salaried job. My hours vary every week depending on what I’m given so based on that, I know how much I need at the end of the month and from there I can see how much I can spend on groceries and then miscellaneous things such as a coffee or going out to dinner or buying tickets for Kinky Boots.
I’ve had moments these past few months where I’ll talk to my roommate or co-workers about how I miss learning: I feel like my brain hasn’t been stimulated in a very long time and that I’m at a plateau in my life. And then one night, a classic wine and Netflix night, my roommate looked at me and said even though I feel like I haven’t learned anything, I was wrong; I have learned how to deal with so many different types of people, what my limits are in terms of the amount of hours I put into work, and how to juggle work, social, and personal time. How I didn’t realize that boggled my mind but I think I had this film over my eyes, the thought that had been ingrained into my mind since I was a kid, that I wasn’t progressing with my career in a quick manner so I was failing. But that’s not the case and no matter how much you talk about it, you can’t understand it until you go through it yourself.
So I’m here to tell you that taking a break is okay. And it’s also okay to have days where you feel like you’re not doing enough. I’ve had plenty of those but looking back, those are the days that pushed me to get out and fix whatever was bothering me. The adjustment process is weird but you will get into a groove, even if you feel like you’re making it up as you go along. Surround yourself with people and things that make you happy and, as Jordin Sparks once sang, just take one step at a time (there’s no need to rush).