Caroline Moss is an author and host of the podcast "Gee Thanks, Just Bought It," which helps people find the products they need to make life easier, better and more productive. Now with this column, "Asking for a Friend," she's helping people with the advice they need to make life easier, better and more productive. To submit a question, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am 22 and am graduating college (virtually) in a month. Like most people my age in college, I missed out on a lot over the last year, including all the things I was looking forward to about being a senior. Now I feel like all of a sudden I am supposed to be an adult.
Any tips on shaking the "new year, new me" vibe of heading back into the world post-pandemic? I saw a tweet that was like, “This is like the day before high school starts and you realize you forgot to get hot and get a new personality” (I’m paraphrasing). But I really am starting to feel like there’s pressure to be a new person when this is all said and done.
First of all, congratulations! Graduating from college is such a major accomplishment, not to mention doing it during this crazy year. You have overcome an incredible amount of adversity in the last year and I do hope you are not discounting that as you approach such a major milestone.
It absolutely sucks that you’re likely missing out on some of the important closure that comes with graduating from college. I can clearly remember packing my car up the day after college graduation and driving away from Amherst, Massachusetts, and back to my parents’ house. I remember wondering what kind of adult life I was going to lead, and more importantly, I was wondering when that adult life would feel like it officially started. (Turns out, not for a while.)
You are at this major turning point in your life. I get that there is mounting pressure to “return to the world” with the gusto you’d have on New Year’s Day.
But what is actually happening in your case, is that you're returning to the world while starting a new chapter. Most of us, myself included, are not. My life is exactly the same as it was in February 2020 except for the fact that I am intimately familiar with the four rooms of my home in a way I was not prepared to be (nor did I want to be).
You are truly starting your adult life! That is very exciting (and scary!).
I get the pressure to want to reinvent yourself, but it isn’t something that happens overnight. And it’s also not something you can pre-empt (and it's why New Year’s resolutions have to be made each year ... it’s hard!). Instead, you’re going to be doing a lot of growing and a lot of evolving into the adult you are going to be. This is not something you have to figure out before “the end of the pandemic,” but rather something you are going to be figuring out for the next five, 10, 15 years.
Trust me, it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.
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