Why Adulting isn’t as Scary as Your Looming Student Loans

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Adulting: Verb; To Adult

This summer I bought my first car. 100 percent on my own. I have a car title to prove it. If that’s not an alternative definition to adulting, I don’t know what is.

I was never that girl in high school whose parents bought her a brand new Michael Kors watch every year or a BMW the day she turned 16. Even though I consider myself privileged, there’s a difference between being privileged and having things handed to you. That’s called being spoiled. I, for one, am not spoiled.

Still, whenever I tell people that I’m an only child they immediately ask, “Oh, so are you spoiled?” For some reason, being called spoiled always got under my skin (and still does). Just like when people called Marty McFly “Chicken” in Back to the Future, being called “spoiled” pushes my buttons and makes my stomach tie into knots. Sure, my aunts and uncles “spoiled” me on Christmas and my birthday and yeah, I didn’t have to share my toys with any siblings or fight for my parents’ attention, but spoiledI don’t think so.

Buying my own car this summer made me realize how expensive life and growing up costs. Who knew dropping $40 on gas would barely last an entire week? Not me. Or, that buying the tags for your car would cost over $200? RIP to my bank account. See ya Starbucks, hello budgets. Maybe being spoiled isn’t such a bad thing after all…

Growing up, or “adulting” as the cool kids call it, is every college students’ worst nightmare. Why? Because college students hate responsibility and thinking farther than what flavor of Ramen Noodles we’re going to eat for dinner that night. We all dread adulting as if it’s the worst thing that could ever happen to us. Even though thinking about my looming college loans causes me severe anxiety and working a part-time job to pay for things (like that new car) really sucks, both feel strangely rewarding. No, I don’t enjoy feeling stressed out and poor, but sometimes when I think about what I’ve accomplished and responsibilities I can now semi-successfully take on, I think, “Wow, I’m a grown up. The world isn’t ending.” Trust me, that’s a reassuring feeling.

Growing up feels scary. Entering the unknown of taking on more academic and personal responsibilities doesn’t compare to carefree elementary school days. But the little things like paying for you own gas, Spotify Premium, groceries or E-ZPass can seem kind of fun–Fun in a weird, unconventional way. Similarly to the satisfaction you feel after cleaning your messy dorm room and finding those extra earphones you thought you left at home.

No one can deny that adulting is hard. And I’m here to say adulting isn’t the worst thing in the world either. When I hop into my car and drive down the highway blasting my Spotify Premium because I spontaneously decided I want to take a trip into D.C., I’m not fretting over the money I spent on my gas or tags. Instead, I’m thinking about how happy I am that I no longer need to ask for a ride before I go somewhere. I can drive myself, be myself and dependent on myself. Once you get over your fear of adulting, you recognize the freedom and satisfaction in growing up.

Sophomore at the University of Maryland double majoring in English and communications. Favorite things include Jesus and avocados.

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