Nothing makes you realise that you have no idea how to ‘be an adult’ more than your first day at uni.

I started the morning cocky as all hell, thinking I was going to breeze through the day and that it would be an amazing start to a new phase of my life- one away from all the shit of high school.

But that feeling faded pretty quick once I got there and I realised I was on my own.

Why wasn’t there roll call to start the day and where was somebody to tell me where to go? I fumbled over a campus map and eventually found my first lecture, where I entered very late and obviously sweaty.

Being late to the party meant I had no idea what the lecturer was on about and there was no guidance on what info was useful and what wasn’t.

I left the lecture hall with an empty Word document and started a two hour break before the tute.

Of course, in my brash confidence of the morning I neglected to plan for this part of the day and I was left hungry and alone until I thought to check out the campus food court.

All of my high school friends at the uni had classes or other plans already so I ate alone.

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My tute wasn’t much better, and I spent most of the class trying to keep up with all the new information.

Of course, I did get better at doing the whole uni thing as I got more experience- even the next day went relatively smoothly- but it was that moment when I realised I wasn’t ready to be an adult.

I did well at school because I knew how to achieve goals that were laid out in front of me and I had great friends because we did the same things at lunch time every day but in the outside world it was all different.

There wasn’t that support there and I had no lessons from school to draw upon that would help me with this new setting.

It was the same down the track at my new job, and especially when I moved out of home for the first time.

Everyone just expects you to have your shit together when your reach certain milestones in life, but there was nobody there to actually teach me that stuff.

Why did I spend my high school days learning about fucking parabolas and hyperbole when I didn’t know how do my taxes or sort out a bank account?

How useful was it that I could recite the laws of Mendelian genetics when I couldn’t find answers to more important questions on my own?

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Eventually I learned to get my shit together- or at least vaguely- but it all came down to exposure.

I realised that all my friends were going through the same things but we were too embarrassed to talk about it.

We were working with what we had (and we had very little from school) so we had to get it on our own.

Leaving high school and diving head first in the ‘real world’ challenged me; I fucked up plenty of times and made an ass of myself frequently but that’s okay.

I learned the only way I could and so will you.

jo trans @emmapatersson

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