I don’t feel like an adult. I have no idea how to pay bills, the few recipes I know require a microwave, and sometimes, during an especially slow class, I catch myself daydreaming about throwing a Frisbee.
I live in a dorm with around 300 other boys. They call us “men.” After 18 years of living with my parents, I am a freshman in college, officially transitioning into adulthood. How strange.
A few weeks ago, I saw a sign directed to “students with spouses” and did a double take. Perhaps the majority of those students are in a graduate program and are five or more years older than me, but it still seemed crazy to me.
All my life, “grown-ups” stayed in their world and I stayed in mine, but now I’m in the hazy atmosphere in between. I’m done living as a child, but I’m not ready to live completely on my own. My life is one of a pseudo-adult; I pretend I have independence and ignore the countless safety nets that lie just below me in case of a fall.
|Catholic Herald Family has invited Jacob Scobey-Polacheck, son of columnist Annemarie Scobey-Polacheck, to offer his perspective on family life alongside that of his mom. Jacob is a freshman at the University of Notre Dame.
Read Annemarie’s column, “Mom cries while creation shouts for joy.”
In theory, college should be a dramatic change, but the transition really could not have gone much more smoothly. By no means am I ready to get married, but if adulthood is anything like college, I think I could get used to it.
One of my favorite parts of my experience so far is going to Mass. Whether it is a small gathering in a dorm or two-thirds of the school together in the basketball arena, the students who go to Mass here do so because they really want to, and the energy and interest in what is going on is tangible.
The singing is loud, the responses are strong, and the traditional, cordial handshake during the sign of peace is replaced with hugs. College Masses boast a deeply Christian spirit that few parishes can match.
The other things I like about being a college student are little things all across the board. I appreciate not needing to wake up early every morning and having everything I need within walking/biking distance.
The library is one of my favorite places on campus. With a dozen floors of study areas of all kinds, I can find exactly what will work best for me any given day. The resources are incredible: from basketball courts to state-of-the-art labs, I know that anything I could wish for is available. Finally, it is incredible to be taught by professors who are experts in their field of study. Having people so knowledgeable sharing information inspires me to try to soak in as much of it as I possibly can.
Despite everything that is great about life here, I still miss many parts of my life back home, and I now realize I took for granted many of the things that I no longer have.
I miss homemade dinners, comfortable furniture and my shower. I miss my dog Zola happily greeting me after a hard day of classes with blissful ignorance of quantum mechanics and resonance structures.
And most of all, the people. I miss seeing my siblings every day or asking my parents for advice with whatever indecision I am facing at the time. I never fully appreciated how nice it is to be surrounded by people who love and understand me.
A month into college, I’m still learning names and even the people I see every day I don’t know very well. If only the stage of small talk and introductions could be skipped.
No, I’m not an adult yet. And I’m not really a kid either. I’m hovering in the gray area of young adulthood in a brand new environment with brand new people.
If I can relish in the fun parts, like dorm Masses and Ultimate Frisbee, and acknowledge and accept the things that I miss, I’m sure college will be a fantastic experience.
Full adulthood will come in time, whether I’m ready for it or not. Hopefully, it doesn’t come too soon.
(Jacob, a freshman at the University of Notre Dame, is the eldest of the four Scobey-Polacheck children.) Jacob Scobey-Polacheck
Jacob Scobey-Polacheck, Wheels in Motion