It’s been about 1 week since I moved into my apartment in Isla Vista and over a year since I moved away for college. This past year has been one of the best of my life; I’ve met so many amazing people, experienced many firsts, and gained a sense of freedom that I’ve never had until leaving home. Moving away for college is fun and I know many people can agree on that. I can come home whenever I want, eat junk food without my mom guilt-tripping me and press snooze on my alarm clock until I realize I skipped half of my classes. This new freedom meant new responsibility, a duty I had never been held accountable for until I became “independent”.
Growing up, I had limited responsibilities. Being the baby of the family, I was never asked of things by my parents that my older sisters had to do. I didn’t have to babysit. I didn’t have to cook food. I didn’t have to apply for colleges first and fill out important papers. I immediately sought help from my parents and my sisters, who would end up doing everything for me. On top of that, I had protective parents who kept me from experiencing any hardships by handling any potential problem or difficulty. They would go out of their way to pick me up from school instead of telling me to take the bus home. They paid for all my expenses and discouraged me from getting a high school job. It was a great life. I didn’t have to worry about anything because I knew that I didn’t have to handle it.
When I finally moved away from home, I forgot to acknowledge the luxury of living with a family that I could depend on. It wasn’t until I was faced to do things on my own that I became incompetent, anxious and irresponsible. I didn’t know how to handle menial tasks like cleaning a moldy fridge, filling out my own FAFSA, scheduling my own doctor appointments and taking care of my self when I was sick. Normal tasks induced anxious and nervous feelings.
On top of my lack of wisdom and extreme anxiety, my indecisiveness continues to hinder my ability to become a responsible and self-efficient adult. All of my friends can attest to the fact that I am a very indecisive person. It takes me forever to decide where to eat, or what to wear. I’m honestly surprised I’m not undeclared. I panic and desperately seek consultation from my friends, sisters or mom to figure out how to solve my own problems. My indecisive nature is a result of following my parents’ guidance. There were limited moments of failure that prevented me from adapting to day-to-day challenges. As a result, growing up became that much harder for me.
No one ever talks about the challenges moving away from home can be for people like me. I didn't expect it to be hard. I didn't realize how lonely it can be sometimes to be there for yourself. I realized that my desire to be home wasn’t only because I wanted to eat at Sushi House or sleep in my comfortable bed; I yearned to be home because it’s the only place I can seek refugee from stressful situations that I would have to otherwise deal with on my own. I can go back into my old bubble of comfort, naivety, and irresponsibility. Unfortunately, college is only a taste of the problems I will face in the future, problems I know I have to face on my own. Paying for bills, house hunting, finding a job, doing well in school, watching over my health and adapting to change are inherent duties I didn’t realize were a part of being free and independent. So far, I’ve become accustomed to this routine. I became more aggressive, more motivated and hard working. I’ve become comfortable communicating how I feel and am no longer afraid to speak up for myself and other people when I believe it’s necessary. I learn more about myself everyday living on my own and dealing with new challenges. I’m still figuring out how to become less stressed in new situations and hope to someday make my own decisions without having to ask for other people’s advice. Until that day, you can expect me to be spamming your twitter feeds about my anxiety, asking my mom how to remove a stain while pacing around the store deciding between two brands of detergent.