Coming into college, I imagined freshman year as the fifth year of high school. While in some respects maybe that has a grain of truth, I’ve found that it really isn’t like high school at all. In high school I was intensely aware of my dependency on my parents. I don’t mean that now in college I’m free and make my own rules and eat ice cream for breakfast and all that jazz, and I also don’t mean that I’m not financially independent and don’t need my parents. In this first year of college, I have signed myself up for a work study position, arranged appointments for therapy by myself, traveled between Boston, New York, Delaware, and Philadelphia, and soon I will embark on an adventure to figure out the T in Boston.
Growing up in a suburb I felt like a car was always the main form of transportation even when I took the bus or train to New York, but now living at college with no access to a car I have explored the endless opportunities afforded by public transportation. Megabus, Amtrak, and Dart have shown me the possibilities of travel on a budget and travel in a pinch. As I bought my Megabus ticket for spring break to Boston South Station, I realized how possible travel is. In some way, traveling by myself or with friends to different cities or staying in my friend’s college dorms has really made me feel like I’m experiencing the beginnings of adult adventures.
Checking with my insurance company and researching different psychologists in the area and emailing and calling has really made me appreciate the support my parents give me and also the strides I’m making for myself. If I could have had my parents do this for me, I know a year ago I would have opted for that, but now having done it myself I’m proud to be making decisions like this for myself. Making doctor’s appointments and checking with my insurance and verifying appointment times might seem like one small step into adulthood, but it felt like a pretty substantial leap for myself.
As I sat at my little desk in the mailroom at Willard Hall, I actually felt pretty proud of myself for seeking out and getting a work study position. It felt good to have worked for something and to have succeeded. Work study, as a distinct college position, made me feel more a part of UD in some way. Obviously making some money is a nice change and much needed, but the satisfaction comes from looking at all of the emails I sent in trying to make this happen.
I didn’t realize that I would feel more adult as I made more decisions by myself for my own well-being. Whereas in high school I knew I was lucky enough to have parents who helped me make decisions, this relationship has changed. Now I will call my parents to tell them of the decisions I’ve made for myself, and I guess this isn’t really a jump into adulthood or a sudden change into an independent person, but it does feel like a change from the norm in high school. I didn’t expect to feel so different from myself a year ago, and I don’t in many ways, but it’s the small strides that sets the person I was a year ago apart from me now. Admittedly, I’m only a freshman and have a long way to go, but I’m proud of the steps into adulthood I’ve experienced so far.