“Real world” brings more responsibilities than freedom



Instead of moving home, this summer I got an apartment.  I decided it was time to live off campus on my own in the “big, bad world” with rent.  I worked almost every day once finals were over and now I work six nights a week. I soon realized that I was pretending to be an adult.  

During the summer a few things happened that made me realize I am still a child.

In the few short months of living by myself, I learned that cleaning should be done more often than once every spring.  I gave names to the dust bunnies under my couch before I swept them away and threw a couple dishes into the garbage because they were in my sink for so long, and I really didn’t want to wash them.  

Soon I figured out that cleaning needs to happen at least once a week so no one comes over and realizes that I am actually a mess and barely surviving.  

Rent was another thing.  I had to start putting my paychecks toward bills and groceries rather than going out or shopping online.  My money didn’t last long because it was going towards “adult” expenses and I was left with pocket change.  

The other day I bought renters insurance.   Growing up I used to have nightmares about monsters.  Now I have nightmares about my apartment burning down and my insurance not covering it.  

Because I no longer live on campus I made the decision to not get a meal plan.  Because I chose to do this and because I’m broke my diet has drastically changed from eating mediocre veggies and sandwiches to calling a granola bar with a side of vitamin gummies dinner.  Since I am not a real adult, I went and bought a box of Gushers to keep myself from eating my whole bottle of melatonin gummies like fruit snacks.

Going to the store on my own gives me anxiety.  I walk through the aisles with my list feeling self-conscious thinking that the “professional adults” in the store are judging me and wondering why my mom left me alone to wander aimlessly without supervision.  I go to the check-out to buy my things and realize my groceries consist only of bottled tea, fruit snacks, breakfast bars, vitamins and toilet paper.

When I get home to put my groceries away, I open the fridge and see that all I have in there are condiments—useless condiments that I can not and will not use because I didn’t buy anything for them to go on.  

Growing up is rough.  I have actual responsibilities I need to fulfill.  I need to take care of myself because my parents are not around to do so. Thinking about graduating and going out into the “real world” is absolutely terrifying.  

Instead of waking up early on Saturday morning to pour a bowl of cereal and watch cartoons in my pajamas, I am waking up at the crack of dawn to go to work and make money that goes toward rent.  

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I can finally do things on my own without asking for my parents’ permission. But sometimes I wish I were still a naive little kid where the only stress in life was trying to figure out how to make my Barbies get along with each other.


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Katelyn is a junior English and journalism major from Sioux Falls, S.D.    



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