Editorial: It’s okay to ‘Adult’ at your own pace

Between becoming an adult and actually being one, there’s an awkward stage

By Christina Flores-Chan

Visuals by Jes Mason

My favourite outfit at the age of five, was my mother’s custom-tailored, navy Ralph Lauren suit. I remember sitting at the dining table every morning before school, munching on Cheerios and watching her come down the stairs in the outfit.

She’d grab her lunch bag and thermos—filled with black coffee—from the kitchen counter, with her sleek black hair swishing as she turned her head to say goodbye to my sister and I. I’d wave back as she rushed out the door, feet dangling from my chair because I wasn’t tall enough yet to touch the floor.

Sometimes on days off from school, my sister and I would meet my mother for lunch downtown. We’d wait for her at the park between the TD Centre in the Financial District. I remember how tall the buildings were, seemingly slicing through the clouds up into the sky. I’d watch the groups of suits walk by on their lunch break, chuckling together and using big words.

When my mother finally came down to meet us, she’d be in her best heels and trench coat, briefcase in one hand and coffee cup in the other. She looked so strong and powerful, like she could take on the world.

I wanted so badly to be like her. I dreamt of the day that it would be my turn to have a business lunch on Bay Street, buy myself designer workwear and own my own condo in one of those cloud-cutting high-rises. I told myself I would go to university downtown and by graduation, I’d have a full-time job, doing the “adulting” thing—taking important phone calls while strutting down the sidewalk with my own power suit, sleek hair and thermos.

What they don’t tell you is that between preparing to become an adult and actually being one, there’s an awkward middle stage.

I am living downtown, but somehow still show up late to class. I own a few suits but no ironing board. I spill my coffee at least once a week and the other day, my briefcase fell apart in the middle of Yonge-Dundas Square. I am in my fourth year of university, with one school term left until graduation and no prospects of a full-time job—yet. While I am incredibly fortunate to have grown up with the support and resources to help me achieve success, it turns out that I am not so good at the “adulting’’ thing.

Given the conversations I’ve had with friends and coworkers, however, the feeling of uncertainty of a stable, self-sufficient life post-graduation seems to be pretty common.

My peers have voiced their own concerns about “adulting,” be it juggling part-time jobs and classes to make monthly rent, feeling grossly unprepared for the workforce after two years of online schooling, or being so overwhelmed about an impending recession that it even creeps into their shower thoughts and nightmares.

The Adulting Issue explores the very real, very valid fears and anxieties of university students who feel unprepared to be thrown into the workforce after graduation, whether those worries stem from imposter syndrome, a lack of financial literacy, burnout or the instability of the Canadian economy. At the same time, The Eyeopener also highlights different resources and ways that might help them cope with “adulting”, both financially and emotionally.

My hope is that this issue instills positivity and confidence in students, while reminding them that they’re not only capable of achieving success in their own time, but that they’re also not in the journey alone.

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