I've noticed lines across my forehead. And to my irritation, whenever I ask my friends if they notice them as well, I tend to get an affirmation. Don't they know how to lie? I'm only nineteen. I'm only a sophomore.
Wait -- I guess I'm a junior now.
The past two years went by in a blur. If I could talk to the twelve-year old me, or the fourteen-year old me, and especially the seventeen-year old me lugging boxes into my double in Lower Quad, I would ask myself if this is what I thought growing up would be like.
I'm not sure what I would say.
Blasting back to the present, all I know is that I'm half-way done with college. I bet most of the other 1200 or so juniors are also still grappling with the idea.
This means we're getting old (check lines on forehead, don't ask friends what they see). In two years, we'll be out of Penn. It's a bit early to think about this, but I can't help it. I'm experiencing what I imagine life beyond college will be like -- what it's going to be like as an adult.
I'm joining the subway commuters; I wear business casual everyday. I'm getting used to the eight-hour day.
Rather than viewing my internship as an introduction just to the magazine I'm working for, I find it an internship into the adult world.
It's exciting and it's new, but most of all, it's lonely. By this I'm not talking about my office or work, but the whole process of living in the city.
Locust Walk seems part of a different world entirely, and my roommates and I are trying to merge the two.
When I step out of my Hell's Kitchen apartment, I don't see familiar faces. Besides my roommates, there aren't that many other people our age in the neighborhood. There are children and adults, but no one in between.
When I sit in Sheep Meadow, I can't help but think of College Green. I miss just walking around and seeing familiar faces. And even if they're not familiar, I just miss seeing everyone around me my age.
My roommates and I have been pulling out all our networking skills, not for internship or job purposes, but simply for socializing. We're trying to recreate the college scene in the working world.
We're doing dinner and going clubbing with each other's friends, friends of friends, friends of friends from home -- pretty much anyone our age in the city.
This onslaught of new people, makes me feel a bit like a freshman again. We're trying to make a very large world smaller. I can't help but think of the cliche shoved before us time and again before we headed off to college, the whole big fish small pond, small fish big pond analogy. So I'm meeting new people and doing things with them that I normally do with good friends.
But I've noticed a difference. We're talking about two slightly different people here. This difference grew during the first half of my Penn years.
Although the college freshman met, and the adult freshman are meeting, different types of people, I now notice that a year and a half ago, I changed according to the people I was with. I was louder with loud people, quieter with quiet people. I could party or I could be contemplative. Most of all, I accepted their views and ideas. When I was with these different types of people, I really thought I was just like them, and I forgot about the other characteristics I had.
Looking back, I could see how young I was.
Because I still haven't reached any sort of absolute, I can't say that I've got it all figured out yet. I'm human, and just like a lot of you, I know that I can't help but change a little with different types of friends. But now I've come closer to finding out what I want, what I know is wrong, what I aspire. I have opinions, and rather strong ones, too. I don't just accept things as wholeheartedly as I did before.
And if this is what growing up is all about, I'm ready. I've been formed, completed this much. Imagine what's left.
So give me more lines -- lines representative of who I am. I'm ready.
Or give me two and half more months, and I'll be ready to dive into the last half of my Penn years. And after that, I look forward to embracing the rest of my life as an adult.
I'll be forever changing, but at least it won't be for, or because, of people anymore. I'll be changing because of all my experiences combined -- the process of growing up.
I ate brunch today with an old friend from home. Not at a Tribeca joint or a SoHo cafe, but in plain old diner a few blocks from my Hell's Kitchen apartment. But this diner could have been anywhere. We could have been in New York, or in our hometown of Bloomington, Minnesota. The decor was plain, and the server grumpy.
My friend, who knew me when I was twelve, fourteen, and seventeen right before I stepped on the plane to fly out East, looked at me and said that I seemed happy. He was talking to the girl he met in eighth grade -- the girl I wanted to talk to.
I was a bit taken aback by the comment because I wasn't expecting it. I never questioned whether or not I was happy.
But if growing up means I understand myself more and where I stand,then yes, he's correct. I am happy.Comments powered by Disqus
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