My 1500-miles-away daughter said to me recently: “You should write a post about me. And about how school is hard. And about how adulting is hard.” And my first thought was, “Oh, sweets, it gets so much harder.”
I kept that to myself, but she’ll read this. So, I’m sorry, Lizzie. As far as I can tell, adulting never gets truly easy. There are stretches when it’s smooth sailing. But you probably won’t ever feel “finished” growing up. I’m still struggling to figure out who I am and where I’m going, to some extent. I think everyone is. (Or, wait, is that just me? Maybe you guys have it all figured out! Shit.) So embrace that feeling of “what the fuck am I doing?” because it might always be with you. But you can still find lots of happy and lots of fun while you search for what you want.
To illustrate the ups and downs and ups again that plague all of us, but maybe especially 19-year-old college freshmen, I give you some texts from Lizzie. Many of these are actual texts, others are close to actual texts but I didn’t scroll back to find the exact wording, and I’ve also culled some of her thoughts from our FaceTime conversations. And yes, she’s given me permission to share all this stuff because, she says, “It’s just life.”
Note: when I asked Lizzie’s best friend if she wanted me to use a different name to protect her privacy, she said to refer to her as Celine Dion. That makes the reading of this awkward at times. Just remember that Liz is not actually best friends with Celine Dion and you’ll be fine.
So, texts from a college freshman in a land far, far away (spanning a timeframe from August through today):
–I love it here!
–I am having so much fun.
–My classes are really hard. Everybody knows more than I do.
–I am drinking wine and eating cheese with a cheese knife because I am fancy.
–I’m not sure I like my classes
–I hate my classes. I don’t want to go to school any more.
–Adulting is hard. My friends convinced me to take an exercise class. (Editor’s note: ??)
–I’m sitting on the quad having a sunset picnic with my friends. They have the prettiest sunsets here.
–I have no friends.
–I love my friends. I’m so glad I met them.
–I should never have chosen to study music. I will never pay off my student loans. (Editor’s note: NO, I did not reply that we gently suggested this 47 times when she decided on a vocal performance major at an out of state school. But it was hard.)
–I suck at music.
–Theory is really hard. I got a 38 on my last test. If I fail all my classes, will I get kicked out?
–I don’t want to do anything.
–I went to all my classes today. (Editor’s note: Wait, what?)
–I have no motivation.
–No, I’m not depressed.
–I’ve literally been studing for my theory mid-term for two weeks. It doesn’t make sense.
–I’m not depressed, I just feel like the worst person in the world.
–I’m not depressed, I just don’t want to get out of bed. But I don’t feel sad.
–I talked to the doctor. Turns out I’m depressed. Who knew?
–The doctor asked if I had any fears. I told him “space.” He asked if I was also afraid of the ocean. I said no. He said, “Why not? It’s just as unexplored as space.” Then he tried to convince me to be scared of oceans as well as space.
–I’m still studying for my theory mid-term. I’m going to fail so hard.
–Turns out I got an 88 on my theory mid-term.
–I can’t be grown-up. I’m, like, five.
–How long does it take for this medication to kick in?
–I need to change my major.
–I need to drop out.
–Why are you ignoring my FaceTime call? My teacher said I could FaceTime you during class. (Editor’s note: ??)
–Should I buy these shoes? They’re $3
–Everyone is taking down their Halloween decorations and decorating their doors for Christmas. It’s very festive. I’m going to the Dollar Store to buy decorations.
–Well, I’m not going to say I was depressed, per se…
–People were always saying how when they go home for the holidays, they can’t wait to get back to school. And I was like, Really? I would just want to stay home. But now I get it. I will want to come back here.
–I had so much fun in choir today!
–Is it okay that I text you so much? Am I annoying?
–Hey, it’s me. The light of your life.
–Hey it’s been an hour just making sure you still love me
–I feel ignored
–I told my friend today that I’m the funniest person I know. She thought that was strange.
–I got both your sense of humor and Dad’s sense of humor, so I’m funnier than you both.
–I need to change my major to music ed.
–I need to change my major to music industry.
–Celine Dion and I are going to drop out of college and open a themed-coffee shop.
–You’re not hilarious but you are entertaining. That’s why I text you so much.
–Celine Dion and I are going to travel the world and work and do online college. We’re looking up jobs that two girls can do abroad.
–No, not THAT kind of job!
–I miss the mountains. They say they have mountains here but they’re hills.
–I need to change my tampon or else
–Yes, I’m eating my vegetables. I eat grapes.
–Well sometimes when I have a sandwich, there’s lettuce on it.
–I would like to get married and have a husband and a house and a job. And a cat.
–I look really cute today.
–I would like to be a cat.
–How do you survive being so far away from your friends? I literally don’t get it. It’s the worst thing in the world. Celine Dion is literally my soul mate.
–No, I can’t marry her cuz I want sexual chemistry in my relationship and the amount that Celine Dion and I don’t have that is a lot.
–I SHAVED MY LEGS
–I just learned something awful. You can’t become a gondolier unless someone passes it down to you or your ancestors were gondoliers.
–Stop giving me money. Take it back.
–I’m taking 18 credits next semester and it’s like the easiest schedule ever.
–Nevermind, I’m taking 21 and it’s less easy.
–I’ve been enjoying my singing class lately.
–Sometimes guys sound like Kermit the Frog when they sing.
–No, Mom, being judgemental is okay as long as you say “I hate to be judgemental, that was terrible of me” after.
–Yeah, using your child as a designated driver to pick you up when you go out is a thing. Celine Dion’s stepdad pays me for it. It’s great. Also sometimes he pays me even when I don’t drive just because he thinks I’m funny.
–So basically I’ve had paid comedy gigs.
–Daisy the Great performs in New York a lot and I wanna go see them.
–H’m. I was kinda thinking me and Celine Dion.
–But yeah! I mean you’re welcome to come too.
–I was forced to go to an improv show last weekend. It wasn’t good. But the audience was all drunk so that was funny.
–I burned my tongue today. And I jumped in the middle of music theory and I didn’t know why it was still so hot and Jed was like “take the top off and blow on it!” But I was too embarrassed that I didn’t think of that to give him the satisfaction of doing it.
–No you’re not at the age where you’re old enough to be eccentric and cute yet. You need to be a grandma first.
–Bra is woo (Editor’s note: WTF?)
–Ew I just smelled my feet and it was bad.
–Will you put a branch on Sophie’s head for Christmas?
–Are you and Dad both picking me up at the airport?
–Let me rephrase. I can’t wait for you and Dad to both pick me up at the airport.
–I need a husband right now.
–You really aren’t responding to me huh
–Mamaaaaaa (Editor’s note: for fuck’s sake!)
–There you are. Hi! Tell dad hi!
–I miss Celine Dion so fucking much.
–I was sitting on the quad and it was getting dark and I was listening to a true crime podcast and a squirrel dropped a nut on me and I about shit my pants.
–It took me 4 hours to do my theory homework. Look at this question on my theory study guide: Add the first species counterpoint below the following Cantus Firmus. What the actual fuck?
–It’s supposed to snow today!
–I feel like I just went to college because society expects it of me and I don’t know what I want to do.
–I get to see Celine Dion in two weeks (Note: remember, folks, this is best-friend Celine Dion, not Celine Dion in concert…)
–Yes, Mom, I’m excited to see you too
–I took a test in theory and I literally did not understand a single bit of it. It was like it was in a foreign language. So I wrote on the bottom of the page, “I don’t know any of the answers so I drew a picture for you instead,” with an arrow to the back of the page. And on the back, I drew a picture of polar bears on the ground with penguins and seals and an igloo, and in the air I drew Santa in his sleigh. And he didn’t give me any points for creativity or anything. Not even a single sympathy point. And when he saw me, he said, “Lizzie, maybe we should talk about this.”
–Look at these really long hairs on my stomach
–I just have to finish learning this song and then I can read and go hang out with my friends. It’s great.
Yup, that’s life: ups and downs, confusion and questions, having a great time, having a miserable time, and having to buy your own shampoo and tampons and queso dip and such. I’ll leave you with these deep thoughts which she said to me today: “I’m having these really intense dreams where I’m trying to figure stuff out. They’re not bad, they’re just really vivid. It’s freaking me out. It makes me question if everything is a simulation.”
Food for thought, am I right?
Have fun ’til next time,