Editorial Notebook

Student re-evaluates adulthood after RPI

Winter semester—I mean spring semester—is coming to an end. That means I’m almost a senior. That means I’m almost ready to jump into adulthood, or get pushed in. No more calling myself a student. What does that even mean?

I’ve lived my entire life as a student—striving for better grades, applying for admission to one school and then another, working all morning in class and then all night at home. Being a student has been almost the entirety of my being, and now I’m a year away from losing that label. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but I love being a student. It’s what I know. It’s what I’ve been working on for 21 years. Now I have to start over?

I’m not complaining. I chose to not pursue graduate school—mainly because I’m too tired—but I did it out of my own free will. I realize now that I didn’t stop to think about what my decision meant. I like change, but this is a big change. I guess what I’m trying to figure out is, what does being an adult mean?

If being an adult has to do with maturity—I’m definitely more mature than I was three years ago. If it has to do with responsibility, I’ve taken some of that on. I’ve heard many young adults say that they don’t even know what being an adult means. I’ve heard that no one knows what they’re doing. Everyone pretends. Well, that’s reassuring. So, is adulthood simply a definition set by society? Is it set by law? Is it set by financial responsibility?

After asking these questions and venturing into articles online, I’m sorry to say that I have come back with nothing. Ultimately, it seems like adulthood is defined by the individual. If that’s the case, I’ll define it by the end of my term serving as a student. My college graduation shall mark the last day I serve as a student and the first day I serve as an adult. 

My next question is, will I be happy with my progress, or is there anything I should do before graduating? I wish I could say I have crazy ideas in mind, or something illegal—breaking the law is always exciting, right? Unfortunately, nothing like that. My biggest hope is to not lose steam. Senioritis hit me real hard in high school, and I can’t afford that in college. My schedule next year looks quite packed, which is actually good news. My laziness is triggered by any hint of slacking off. With a full schedule, I shouldn’t have an opportunity to get triggered. So, this seems promising. In addition to that, I’ve found that using weekends to relax adds balance.

I’m excited to see what’s to come next year. I hope I can make the most of it and graduate as a more functioning member of society. Plus, I look forward to prancing around campus with dignity, always being able to boast, “I’m a senior.”