Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Growing up

Every kid is supposed to want to grow up, right? You're considered a bit odd if you try to hang on to your youth for too long. But if this is so, then why is it that adults are constantly reminiscing with a sigh, "oh, to be in college again" or "enjoy being young while you still can" or "one day, you'll have to work at least eight hours a day every day with only a few vacation days plus a family and then you'll know what it's like."

Is this supposed to make me want to grow up? I'm not following. When I hear people say things like, "once you get to the working world...well, let's just say, enjoy your time at Stern while you still can," I put up a thick brick wall to all this growing up business. If I'm going to end up with an attitude like that, forget it. If life is going to cease being fun and enjoyable, then what am I gaining by moving on to "the real world?" What is so appealing about this "real world," anyway? I don't want to look back and wish I was myself at a different stage of life, I don't want to get bored with myself, I don't want to feel jaded, and I definitely don't want to stop being in control of my own life.

That is how I see life after Stern. A complete loss of control. True, I have to follow the rules of Stern now, but being a student is still living on my terms. I choose my classes, I choose what paper topics I want to write on, I choose to go to class (or, er, not to go), I choose the environment of people I want to be around, and no one is bossing me around. I don't want to go from being a relatively carefree student to suddenly having to spend my days doing whatever it is someone else tells me to do and not get any breaks and never be able to skip out and day after day after day doing the same thing over and over and over and seeing the same people again and again and again, and being cooped up inside if it's a nice day and never again experiencing that wonderful, amazing, incomparable feeling of going to school and finding out your teacher canceled class and that you actually have the whole afternoon free and you go on adventures with your friends for the rest of the day and declare it the best day ever in your mind. Will I have "best days ever" once I leave college?

True, I'm probably completely over generalizing about what my future could be, but right now, all I imagine it as is what I was doing for one of my internships this summer - sitting at a desk allllll day long and constantly worrying about if I'm allowed to stay out an extra five minutes for my lunch break because I met a friend or if I'm allowed to be sick one day or if I'm allowed to leave early one day or if I'm allowed to answer my phone and always feeling like I'm not allowed to do anything unless I'm told to do it because I'm in a job and I'm on someone else's time and I have responsibilities to people other than myself. And this bleak image of the future is not helped at all by people telling me to enjoy my time in college while I can because I'll never be able to do these things again.

If kids are supposed to want to grow up, then where are all the people saying, "Man, I just love getting up and going to work in the morning! It's the most fun I've had in years!" or "Ha! You think this is living? Just wait until you get out of college, the real world is a blast!" because I can't seem to find them.


Moshe said...

Excellent post.
I love school for this very reason. Yes, to a certain degree my classes have been predetermined but if I choose to skip class (almost daily) I can. School is fun...I cannot disagree with that.
But I do disagree, if only a bit, about your view of the 'real world.' The first summer I was out in the real world was perhaps the most enjoyable of my life. I had to wake up at 5 in the mornings and I loved it. I didn't get home until after 9:00 and I loved it. I had a great time.
I think the trick for you, and for most people, is to find something that you love. Find an area about which you are passionate and pursue it with all you've got. If in your 'real world' you are doing something you love and something you would do even if someone was not staring over your shoulder and forcing you to do will have "best days ever" even past college.
I guarantee it.
That being said, enjoy where you are now. Always enjoy your present and don't focus too much on the future (it'll be the topic of my next post).

SuperRaizy said...

I've always hated when adults tell kids "just wait until you're in the real world!" What a stupid expression. College is the real world; so is high school, and even kindergarten. Your childhood is just as important as your adulthood will be; they're both equally important parts of your life.
I can promise you that the years to come will hold many new, as yet undiscovered, joys for you.