Guys, I’m Growing Up

It’s been a weird week. On Tuesday night I flew out to New York to do an interview on Wednesday for a summer internship and then flew back Wednesday night. I was gone for less than 24 hours. The company called Friday morning and extended me an offer, so it looks like I’ll be living in New York this summer.

So why is this weird? A few reasons. First of all, my family does not travel often and U of M is a 45 minute drive from my home, so I’ve traveled places with friends, but I’ve never by myself. I flew into LaGuardia alone. Then I got a cab alone. I sat in the backseat looking out of the windows trying to figure out where the hell I was and praying that we did not get in an accident because I am convinced we must have been on the autobahn (I know all of the East Coast kids are laughing right now).

But to understand why this is so weird, I have to go back three years. It’s the summer before freshman year and I just found out that I cannot attend U of M’s summer orientation with my close group of high school friends. The date that they all picked does not work for me, so I’m going to have to go alone. I freak out. I can’t go to Ann Arbor without Kamille, Dan or Rocky. I’ve only been there a handful of times. Who am I going to talk to? Who am I going to hang out with when we have breaks?

My parents and I frequently joke about this moment. I’ve come a long way since then, obviously. But as I was racing back to LaGuardia to make my returning flight after my interview, I realized I could have never done this three years ago. Or two. Or one. I was afraid to go alone, but I made myself do it. Three years ago, I could barely get myself to go to Ann Arbor alone. This week I voluntarily traveled to New York and back in one day……..and I got a job.

Guys, I’m growing up.

How have you grown since you’ve gotten here? What are you doing that you could have never imagined doing a few years back?

5 thoughts to “Guys, I’m Growing Up”

  1. Christine,

    I love this post because I’ve had similar experiences recently. In high school and even my earlier college years I hated doing things alone. I had a very distinct turning point, though. When I was in Maine for the New England Literature Program this summer, I had to spend a LOT of time alone – I even stayed on an island alone for 24 hours. These are things that I never would have imagined myself doing before I went, but I think that because I had an excuse to do it, I wanted to. Had I not had this opportunity in such a safe and healthy environment, though, I don’t think I would have felt as willing to do it. A lot of cause for me being alone a lot had to do with the fact that we didn’t have technology while we were there, so we couldn’t simply text our friends to see where they were. Once you actually have to get up and walk all around camp in order to find someone, then you realize you might actually accept your solitude a bit more. This whole experience taught me that I really do enjoy being alone sometimes, and I’ve carried that back with me to Ann Arbor (thankfully). What I’m curious about, however, is if and when I might have had this realization had I not had the NELP experience, where solitude is almost forced upon you. Additionally, how has your experience changed your personality, if at all? I personally find myself a little more introverted than I used to be, not constantly trying to make plans or be busy all the time with friends. I do the things that I want to do, whether or not anyone wants to join me, but I didn’t used to be like that. I’m very thankful for my NELP experience to initiate my appreciation for solitude, but I wonder how long it would have taken me otherwise…

  2. Also! I was just in Chicago this weekend and that’s when I realized I was growing up as well. I realized that I’m at the age where when I visit somewhere, I have to imagine myself living there and decide whether or not I would enjoy it. I can’t go anywhere just to go there anymore, I feel, because everywhere now is a potential place to live after graduation! Scary.

  3. First of all, congratulations Christine on landing the job! I hope you have a wonderful time in New York this summer.

    Secondly, I can relate to you and Paige when it comes to the growing independence found in college. I think I’ve always been a pretty independent person and comfortable with that alone time because I was raised as an only child. At the same time, college has definitely afforded me more and more opportunities to test that independence and self-reliance. I recognize it in little things. My freshman year in the dorms, it was doing laundry, making doctor’s appointments for myself, managing money, and navigating city buses. Now that I’ve moved into an apartment, I have felt my independence grow even more. I make weekly trips to the grocery store, search and apply for internships, and travel around the state on my own. Strangely, my biggest “independent moment” similar to your NY trip was an interview in Ann Arbor. I had to get up early to shower and dress up in business-wear. I drove to the building, rode up to the 9th floor, and did the interview. Then, I stopped by the mall to pick up some makeup and grab Starbucks. I felt so weird clacking through the mall in a suit and heels! Who was I? Wasn’t that a grown up thing?

    As strange and scary as these moments can be (I couldn’t find basil in Trader Joe’s for at least 10 minutes), I am thrilled to find comfort in taking these steps to the bigger world. College is flying by and soon we’ll be out in the “real world!”

  4. Christine,

    I definitely can relate to your “growing up” thoughts. I look back to when I graduated from high school and thought that at 18 I was “SO OLD.” In reality, I was actually still a baby that had hardly experienced anything yet. Since college started and I came to U of M, I have grown up so much that the thought of my 18 year old self makes me laugh.

    I remember when I used to have to ask my parents if I could go somewhere, and now I just tell them. I just turned 21 and although it is great, two months later it still feels strange to be legal. I can’t possibly be 21 yet, right? I only waited for that birthday for at least 5 years. A similar experience to yours would be when I recently flew to Washington D.C. by myself and then got a cab from the airport to a hotel where I had a leadership seminar. I was all alone, and I survived.

    Graduating form college used to seem eons away, but it is just next year for me. Maybe this strange feeling I have about being grown up will go away, but then again it is a part of life. Congrats on your internship!

    Kate

  5. Christine,

    Good for you! Look at you, growing up and being alone, while not being lonely with yourself because you are yourself which requires someone like you to be there with YOU. (sorry about that, I typed it just the way I said it). Any who you should listen to Daley-Alone Together, great song that I think will go perfectly with you adult non-blues. I like this post. I see myself understanding every little detail, and even wondering back to my early phases of college life, or even yesterday when I realized I was growing up. I’ve changed completely honestly. I’ve cut my hair all off, even as short as Rihanna’s and have even considered a nose ring (my mom talked me out of it), I live off campus in a one-bedroom apartment and commute everyday to the U. I even have my own coffee machine (I stole it from my parent’s basement with the thoughts that it was their house-warming gift to me). Aside from a journal of new adult like things, I even turned 21 last thursday and surprisingly do feel a year older. I even got my new license in the mail; I’m legit! I guess with growing up comes crazy responsibilities of adult life but I’ve got tricks: move to a small city, find a favorite coffee spot, buy a little puppy, and stare into the abyss while you find what comes next in life. These are my quoted plans, feel free to use them at your leisure. Nice blog and congrats on the new job!

    -Kalynn

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