Remember what it was like to be a kid? At that time, being an adult meant being free. But now that the pressures of adulthood are just around the corner, people in college realize that there is much more to adulting than independence. While independence can be fun, it can also be stressful.
Senior visual communications major Jenna Rasmussen is graduating from Seattle Pacific University this spring. Rasmussen feels that she has the skill set for post-grad life, but she is also going to miss the simplicities of being on campus.
“People who are living on campus are moving at the same pace,” Rasmussen said. “A lot of people who move off campus recognize the disconnect and are able to separate school and social life.”
Rasmussen explained that due to SPU’s small community, it feels like a bubble. Nearly everything a person can need is on campus: Gwinn Commons, residence halls, Health Services and the Office of Safety and Security. Everything is only a few steps away.
“It’s going to be hard to leave the bubble because I have been in the bubble for so long. Once I leave SPU, I basically don’t have the same support,” Rasmussen said.
Others do not even have to graduate at least for another year, but fear of the future and the unknown still lingers over them. Junior business administration major Victoria Thornton often finds herself picturing her life post-graduation.
“I am definitely not as educated on it as I should be, because I have been living on campus for three years, but I imagine finding an apartment in a non-sketchy part of Seattle that has good access to public transportation, and has reasonable rent prices,” Thornton said. “Currently it is a minor concern in my mind because I still have the option to live on campus next year. But after I graduate, who knows?”
Adulting comes at different stages for everyone. Junior classics major Grace Peterson is making plans to get married in the fall and begin a new stage of her life, which will require certain levels of stability.
“I think a huge part of adulting is trying to find a healthy balance between school, work and home life,” Peterson said.
Peterson is currently applying for jobs for next year and looking for apartments in the Seattle area. Her searches create some potential financial stressors.
As liberating as it sounds to have an apartment, it does indeed have a downside: bills, bills and more bills. Unfortunately, freedom comes with a price, and it can be wildly expensive.
“I’ve never really had to pay for insurance on my own,” Peterson said. “I’m just trying to find a job that pays well enough, one that will be reasonable to work through school and be able to pay for the apartment and pet food.”
Senior and computer science major Marcela Soares Silveira does not have any concrete plans yet for the future, but has been applying for jobs. Life after college can have exciting possibilities, but after living on a college campus for four years, it is hard to let go.
“It’s nice to have all your friends living close by,” Silveira said. “I’ll just miss all the nearby support.”
Besides housing, marriage and employment, keeping track of important documents such as birth certificates and W-2 forms can also present an adulting struggle, especially for international students.
Junior international business major Tod Yansomboon is in the process of arranging an internship abroad in the Czech Republic. However, Yansomboon is an international student from Thailand, so he has to go through a longer process than U.S. citizens.
“Since I do not have a US passport, it is a requirement for me to get criminal records from the United States and Thailand,” Yansomboon said. “ I also have to fly to the Czech Embassy in Los Angeles to just get the visa. Since I’m not a U.S. citizen, I have to show up in-person to get it. It’s just frustrating because I don’t want to spend that money.”
It is not easy for an adult, and it is different for everyone. But even though it is hard, life will work itself out. Just because life post-graduation is unpredictable, it does not mean that it will not be any less fulfilling.
At any stage, life presents different challenges, but undiscovered blessings present themselves as well. Life after graduation may be unpredictable. It may be difficult, or even scary. Adulting means learning and advocating for oneself, and years of college will come in handy during those moments of uncertainty.