It wasn’t until I visited my sister, a sophomore in college, that I realized how tiny college students look –adorable, baby-faced freshman who either grip my inner cougar or remind me of a 15-pound-less version of myself. There is a large crossover that a freshman feels after his or her first semester of college. That was us just a few years ago. We were most likely hauling backpacks the size of small children and donning our fresh Greek letters every chance we could. And now, still a freshman to the real world, I’m starting to feel that same crossover. Button-ups and blazers have replaced bid day tanks and spirit jerseys (long live the spirit jersey), and I feel like I know immensely more about the world than I did this time last year; however, I’m still finding myself in a constant state of debate.
I want to be taken seriously, professionally. Having made another career(ish) jump and move back to Minneapolis this past week, I decided I was over being the eternal intern. Cover letters were sent with the credo that I’m ready to commit to my next job because I owe it to the company and I owe it to myself. So here I am in every facet of my life – not just work – declaring that I am not that young. It’s okay for friends to get engaged because we’re not that young. It’s okay to apply as an associate instead of an intern because we’re not that young. And it’s okay to not tell your parents everything because we’re not that young.
But we’re also not that old.
As soon as some sort of responsibility or autonomy is doled out, I’ve found myself recoiling and wishing I were just a little bit younger — still a senior, still spending hours creating an away message, still calling and hanging up on the ~**cUtEsT**~ boys during a sleepover.
But in this reality, it’s just as easy to qualify the same statement with either phrase. Using, “Well I’m not that old,” when we need to defend ourselves and, “Well I’m not that young,” when we deserve more freedom. So potentially we could go one-on-one against middle school Miley and argue that we’re the ones with the best of both worlds. Or it just means we have more decisions to make. Obvi I prefer the former, but personally I’d be emotionally and professionally stuck with that sort of mentality. I think it’s okay for us to gravitate toward the younger, day drinking friendly version or older, “let me check my Outlook calendar” version of ourselves as long as we can still be defiant in the present, confused, awesome version that needs a life too.