This archived article was written by: Caitlin Wright
One of the biggest reality checks I received since high school ended and I moved away from home is the swift and shocking change that occurs. You don’t even see it coming and then all of a sudden with no warning, everything that you thought was rooted strongly beneath your feet is gone. Change doesn’t ask questions or for permission to throw you off balance. It just happens.
I noticed in my life that sometimes it’s hard to keep everything in balance. It’s hard to spend adequate time with friends, make sure I stay in contact with the family and spend quality moments with my significant other. Also, I have to go to class, do homework, study and stay involved with extracurricular activities all at the same time. It’s exhausting and takes work. This is the first reality check that hit me in the head, like the basketball during P.E back in seventh grade.
Responsibility, something that had never been very prevalent in my “childhood,” was now the center. I was abruptly faced with bills, fees and my apartment that I was in charge of. It was an exhilarating terror that I approached every new morning, not knowing what would come of it.
The next thing that hit me powerfully was living away from home. It was really hard at first not having my parents to remind me to do homework, be home on time and be at school. I was faced with so much freedom, that I didn’t know what to do with myself. A whole new world had been opened up right before me and it caught me by surprise. I was no longer required to do anything, really. I had to make my own choices because I had reached adulthood and no one was going to make them for me. Not going to class and getting in the habit of missing was one of my biggest mistakes. Of course, how else are we to learn if we don’t make our mistakes first? It did end up taking me an entire semester to learn that going to bed at 3 a.m. every morning and getting up for work at 7 a.m. was a really bad routine.
Reality check number three was definitely a hard one. My mom is a great cook, and I really miss it now that I’m not at home anymore. Now I have to fend for myself, which is a scary thought. I admit that my mom did her best to teach me, but I have decided that after all the slaughtered and failed attempts, cooking just isn’t my thing.
Some people cook, some play piano and some craft. I can’t do any of these. If a shirt in my closet rips, that is the end of that shirt. There will be no repairs made. When my roomies don’t cook dinner and all the Ramen Noodles are gone, it’s either the cardboard box the Ramen Noodles came in or go hungry. I am crippled by my own ignorance and inability to create anything non-poisonous and/or crafty. I should have paid more attention to my mother.
The last reality check I received, and this one with a little bit more soberness, is everything that my parents did for me. I took for granted everything they taught me and made me do when I was at home, because it never applied to me. Now it does, in all that I do. I may not be able to cook, but I can clean and that’s all thanks to my mom. Having had roommates in the past that didn’t believe in personal hygiene or cleanliness of any sort, made me appreciate that she taught me how to clean up after myself and others, if necessary. My parents taught me how to budget money and if they hadn’t, I would never have enough. I would always be short on my bills and other things that are of great importance.
Growing up was a huge change for me. I don’t really feel like I eased into because it just happened. But I was ready for it because of what my parents did for me and taught me. I am surviving and I continue to survive, even if it is on ripped clothing and cardboard boxes. At least my apartment is clean. It is obvious to me all the things that happens in a moment’s notice. I guess it keeps me on my toes, always ready for a new day and whatever might come with it.