Without my Mommy

You know what doesn’t make sense?

Choosing a major at 18.

We all think we are big, bad adults when we turn 18, but the truth is I didn’t know shit when I was 18.

How can a

hormonally unstable

18-year-old individual declare what she is going to do for the rest of her life? As a recent high school graduate, you will be working in your chosen career much longer than you’ve even been alive thus far.

Tell

me

how

that

makes

sense.

But it happens. We graduate high school and immediately have to adult. Decide what you’re doing with your life, or else you’re a bum.

Has anyone else noticed that?

The kids who start college with an “undeclared” major, or announce to friends and family they are “undecided” are stereotyped as bums or slackers or as indecisive.

Maybe they are the ones who are #adulting better.

Maybe they are more calculating about this life thing.

I didn’t want to be that guy. That “undeclared” or “undecided” guy. So, I decided. Because I thought that was the “adult” thing to do.

Decide.

Now.

At eighteen.

Because,

#adulting.

I wanted to write.

I didn’t know what, but I wanted to.

Maybe children books, or romance stories. Maybe even news articles or magazine editorials.             Something.

For me, part of #adulting must mean listening to your parents when they ask, “But what kind of job are you going to get with a Creative Writing degree?”

At first, I chose Grand Valley State University. Because my grandmother was sick, and that inspired me to become a Radiation Therapist.

But then, I changed my mind.

Go figure.

I moved to Education.                                 Which also didn’t pan out in the end.

Had I initially decided upon education, I would have ended up attending a completely different school. Aquinas. But there I was, at GVSU.

Again, how different would I be now?

Not that there’s anything wrong with GVSU. I didn’t mind it at all. I commuted.

In fact, after the mess of what was my Freshmen year, I was hardly on campus at all.

Yes. Freshmen year was a mess. Let’s ponder scheduling a moment.

I was 18, attending my first college orientation, and shoved into a large computer lab with other confused adolescents… without my mommy.

Not.

Cool.

#adulting.

I was just happy to figure out how to register for classes. No one told me there was a strategy behind choosing which classes to take when and where. And so, I ended up commuting to campus daily. And working almost every evening back home at KFC.

#busy.

Freshmen 15? You mean Freshmen -15.

Anyway.

I settled on an English major.

All it took was 3 weeks of a horrid English class dissecting “classic” texts and reading poems while asking questions like, “Why do you think the author describes this rocking chair as blue?”

“BECAUSE THE CHAIR WAS FUCKING BLUE!”

I dropped my English major and picked up the complete opposite.

Spanish.

I didn’t stick with Spanish Education (with a minor in psych solely because it was the teachable minor with the least amount of credits) because I had at long last discovered what I was meant to do for the rest of my life. I stuck it out because #adulting. That’s just what you do.

I wasted a lot of tears on my education and put in a lot of sweat studying and striving to do well.

Most college kids have one desire: just get it done.

Or party.

I just wanted to be done already.

Make money.

Get married.

Make babies.

Preferably in that order.

But what about getting more than ¾ through your degree and deciding you hate it? Like, really hate it.

What is #adulting? Do you suck it up buttercup and finish, get your big girl job, then go back to school later to try something different?

Or do you walk, call it quits, and search for your real passion?

One of those I call adulting. The other I call brave. (I might also call it stupid. But that doesn’t make it any less brave).

Me? I would finish. Get a real career then maybe explore other options later.  But perhaps listening to your gut is more #adulting than I give it credit for. Like I said, matter of opinion.

I’ve been there. My undergraduate degree is in education. And I hated it. I knew I hated it when I started my student teaching. “Child” me wanted to walk. “Adult” me knew I had to push through and start a real career.

So I did. I couldn’t waste it all.

I told myself the hatred toward my student teaching experience was situational. Breaking down the barriers my students at that inner city high school had built proved difficult, especially with a host teacher who didn’t even present me with so much as a hammer for a teaching tool. (Give me an Amen if you student taught for a dude who only hosted student teachers to get out of doing any work.)

My student crowds of over thirty were less than enthused to be taking Spanish, or, in many cases, already spoke Spanish and were bored out of their minds. And on top of that, many were uninterested in forming a relationship with the instructor. With me.

I quickly learned teachers must be a puzzle master… and I historically struggle bus with puzzles. Seeing those students was a secret mission in itself… How could I possibly capture the attention of those students with whom I share little in common? How can I earn their respect and in turn build a relationship with them and help them succeed? Skill. That’s how. Practice and skill.

But I was made to feel I had no such skill. The teacher I worked with (…for…) was horrid. He continuously signed up to host student teachers specifically so that he did not have to do work. There was no noble passing down of knowledge happening there. Nothing.

So I lied to myself. I lied and told myself I would really shine in a different scholarly environment. I lied big and I lied loud, and I lied hard.

This lie to myself got me through, got me my degree, got me a subbing job, and eventually got me my first teaching job. It got me places. But it was an adult lie.

It took me about 4 months of teaching high school assholes to realize how much I had lied to myself.

I wasn’t prepared to be a teacher, despite my education. A 23-year-old woman fresh out of college simply cannot successfully control a room of hormonal Gen Z high school students who have no real desire to learn a foreign language.

And if you can, you’re my hero.

It just wasn’t

for me.

Back then, I felt like a large part of being an adult meant being respected, not just by those younger than you, but by your colleagues and superiors. Teaching gave me no feeling of respect. I didn’t feel appreciated.

I didn’t feel anything.

Not to discourage anyone from the profession of teaching. Like I said, it just wasn’t

Me

Like I had hoped it would be.

I didn’t quit. I adulted, stuck it out, and I started my master’s degree.

Master’s in Strategic Communication Management.

Best. Decision. Of. My. Life.

Going back to school after you’ve started your big girl job because you want more for yourself and are prepared to put in all the time and effort? #adulting.

Shout out to all you hardworking ladies and fellas who are working, learning, and supporting all at once. You’re my heroes. Keep showing ’em how it’s done.

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