A recent brush with fate and the theme “Coming of Age” had led me to contemplate the journeys of those about to end a chapter of their lives, and where they are headed. College stands as the bridge between the road that has been and the bigger world yet to come—the final call that insists you grow up and take life more seriously.
Some of us have been reprimanded for either acting way beyond our ages, or for failing to grow up and act our age. Learning does not end in high school or college, and neither does maturity.
Growing up means being on your own, and having to stand on your own two feet most of the time.
Growing up itself is a long and somewhat painful process. It is inevitable that you feel anxious, when the people who have watched you and helped you grow start to let you go. They are not letting you be, not completely; they are merely allowing you to test your wings. Think of it as not only removing your bike’s training wheels, but learning to bike around on your own as well.
People don’t rush to your side as often as before—they look from a distance as you stand, bruised from your fall. Not that they don’t care, but they want you to learn to stand and walk on your own.
The seemingly surreal gift of being able to make your own decisions is now at hand, along with taking the responsibility or taking the blame. It is the phase where we are obliged to become rational.
For those who have lived their lives inside a bubble from childhood, entering the world after college is more than just disturbing to think about—it’s terrifying. All of a sudden, there are no academic walls and daily acquaintances to bounce back to. For those who have been set free earlier than the others, adapting may be a smoother road to take.
The real world is entirely different from the world wrapped within the school walls—unguarded, less restrictions, less rules, a picture of freedom. Freedom, however, is not absolute. Freedom is a choice, and knowing the right thing to do at its own time.
Giving up the fairytale books, dolls, robots and game consoles does not define growth in mind and becoming a more mature individual, fit and wise enough to take on the real world. Sometimes, it means still being a kid at heart, while taking the chance to march to the beat of your own, better, grown-up drum.
Growing up does not mean becoming an entirely different person or leaving your teen-self behind, but growing better from that person, “upgrading” yourself—and becoming a more improved version of you.