Degree and the City
By: R. Daniella Alexander
“…I was asked if I was ready to be “an adult” and become a professional. Moments later, with a reassuring smile and sweaty palms from the nerves of being interviewed, I nodded “Of course!”–which was a lie.”
The other day in an interview, I was asked if I was ready to be “an adult” and become a professional. Moments later, with a reassuring smile and sweaty palms from the nerves of being interviewed, I nodded “Of course!”–which was a lie. Just yesterday, another person asked me the same question, “Are you ready to be an adult?” Looking at me with her raised eyebrows and expectant eyes, I said “Totally!”–another lie. Everywhere I turn now, people are asking me if I’m ready to graduate, ready to leave Marymount, and the ever-popular, ready to be an adult question. And every time they ask, I lie because it’s too daunting to even think about. When you’re a kid, all you want to do is grow up. Now that I’m on the presepus of being “grown”, I want nothing more than to ignore it. But here I am, getting asked that question Monday through Sunday. I realized, people can’t help but to ask this question to an almost graduated college student and almost, but not quite, adult, and I can’t help but to lie because the truth is, nothing terrifies me more–apart from falling into one of those open grates on the sidewalk and maybe papercuts. New meaning came to Brittney’s line “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman” from the iconic, coming-of-age film Crossroads. That line might have aged me but there’s truth to it; I’m at the edge of a cliff–on the top is childlike ambition mixed with naiveness and, very appropriately, at the bottom is this concept of “adulthood” and I’m getting thrown off, grasping at straws, hoping to avoid the disorienting drop. And then it hit me–are these people expecting me to answer truthfully or are they trying to subtly warn me of what’s to come? I began to wonder–are we ever really ready to be an adult or do we call ourselves adults just because we hit the age where we’re expected to know everything, have everything, and do everything effortlessly? Will my degree help me beyond the professional world? We pay thousands of dollars, a year, to get a degree that will help us in our careers, but can it magically teach me how to “adult”? Can it help with taxes or tell me what MSRP is? The answer to all of that is probably not. Yes, my degree will help me think critically and help me know the jargon of whatever industry I choose, but the rest of it–gulp–is up to me. What I do know for sure is that once we leave our bubble, the place where time stands still, otherwise known as Marymount, we’ll join all the other folks that pretend their way through life, degrees in hand. Maybe that’s what being an adult is–pretending you are one until the lie somehow melts into the truth. So I’ll hang my degree on the wall, succeed in work, and guess for everything else– just like the rest of the bumbling and fumbling people in the world.