So it’s been 4 months since I’ve graduated college. I feel like less of an adult than I was then. Or at least less of a struggling adult since I was constantly working my ass off with very little sleep but had the security of relying on dangerously high student loans that I am now faced with paying off. I did not have to worry about qualifying for an apartment or being able to pay rent on time. Having to earn your own bread does something to a person.
It’s not that I was a lazy kid before. I used to kill myself working two jobs, going to school full time, doing intense research, studying, going to the gym, and trying to get into graduate school. My days started at 5:30am, and sometimes I didn’t get home from work until 1 am. I burnt myself out. I had no balance in my life, and I always whined about it, which surely annoyed my friends whom I rarely saw. But I was “successful,” even though I never felt that I was, and I never felt smart. I was a Classics major who graduated in 3.5 years with a 3.93 overall GPA, 4.0 major GPA, and 4 honor societies. I studied at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, and I was accepted into the American Academy for Classical Studies in Athens which was a program normally for graduate students and professors. Everything was set. I was going to graduate early, apply to PhD programs, and ship myself somewhere across the country to spend the rest of my 20s studying and continuing to kill myself over what I apparently “loved.”
But during the summer before my final semester, I choked. I was sitting in a cafe trying to come up with a research topic for one of my two senior seminars for that upcoming semester. All of a sudden I started crying in the middle of the cafe. That happens a lot by the way. I’m a crier. No shame (okay yes shame, and I am terrified of it). I thought I sucked at research, and I was tired of driving myself crazy over something I wasn’t even sure if I loved. I still don’t know exactly why or how I ended up on the path to becoming a Classics Professor. It just kind of felt like it was calling me. But I have some deep insecurity issues I need to fix before I can handle 6-8 years of a PhD program which I don’t think that I’m good enough to deserve or be in.
So then I decided to become a Professional Ballroom and Latin Dance instructor instead… I know. From Classical Studies to Ballroom dance is quite a big leap. But dancing has been a passion of mine since I was little. I wanted to be a dance instructor when I was in high school. But then I quit. Went to college. Became involved in the Ballroom dance club at my university, saying I’d never become super committed to dance again. Then started taking private lesson. Then competing. And now I am a Ballroom instructor instead of a grad student. So that’s how that happened.
I received a lot of concerns and condescension from people after that decision. And nobody believes that this is my full time job now, or they think I am just doing this for a year and then going to graduate school. Who knows. Maybe one day I will end up back in school. But if you had to tell me in a year I’d be back in that torturous hell hole, I might be tempted to jab a pen in my eye. I always pretended to be this super ambitious person, and now people think I am crazy for taking the “easy way out” or going for a less ambitious job. I laugh at people who think my job is easy. But they can think and say what they want. I am happier now than I was 4 months ago, and all I care about now is working on my clientele, becoming a better instructor and dancer, finding a place to live and being able to support myself, and also learning how to have a social life and enjoy being 22. And if you think those aren’t noble goals then fuck you. I don’t know where I am going to be in 5 to 10 years. A year ago I could tell you that, but now I know deciding or predicting where your life will end up in 5 to 10 years is bullshit. Things change so much in a year, hell even in a day, so why the fuck are you trying to predict 10 years from now? I am focusing on being better and happier now. Because I’ve whined about being miserable most of my life. So I am changing what I am not happy with and trying to make a better life for myself.
That, my friends, is fucking adulting.