This growing up thing is scary.

So. At the moment I’m a 20 year old college student, currently living at home when not at university and recieving pretty heavy financial support from my parents. It hit me a couple days ago - in a year, I’m planning to move out into my own place. Rented, and living with a friend (or possibly more than one depending how things work out), but it will still be a home entirely independent of my family. A year after that I need to start fully supporting myself financially. I’m sure my parents would help out if I ended up in a complete disaster, but barring that I will at that point have, effectively, complete legal and financial independence from my family, I will have finished university and won’t yet have started a graduate program. I’ll be effectively on my own, out in the ‘real world’.

This was a very scary thought for me.

In particular it rammed home a rather major problem - I don’t really know how to deal with this sort of thing at all. I mean, I’m sure I can figure it out over the next two years (with help and advice from others), but as it stands I really have very little clue how to go about it. My entire life so far I’ve pretty much taken things as they came, and it’s all worked out well. I’m one of those irritating people who was able to get through school with very little work, got into a top university with little more than a term’s worth of mild panic, and for the past two years have come 5th in my year with a level of work that, while not entirely minimal, can hardly be described as diligent (Typically missing about 1/3 of my lectures, although all the written work was completed and handed in). This is starting to change as the course becomes harder, but not as much as it in all fairness should.

My point is that so far everything has been more or less easy for me. I have of course had problems - I was fairly geeky at school, and always had trouble socialising for example. This has changed as I’ve matured at university (or at least I think I have. Maybe I’ve just found new ways to be immature), and I think I’ve turned into a better rounded individual and I’ve spent the past two years more or less coming to terms with and rounding off the problems that I’ve had. Then the realisation of what’s coming hit me, and all sorts of new problems start to arise and I realise that things are no longer going to be easy.

I’m not complaining really, or at least I don’t mean to. My point is just that, for one of the first times in my life, I don’t know what to do. I only have a very vague idea of how one goes about this ‘real life’ thing.

I’ve had a grand total of two jobs so far - a work experience arranged by school and a brief standard office assistant (slightly above making coffee, but not much) job over one summer. I’ve got a job tutoring students coming up that I got through a friend that’s starting a company. This will help pay the bills over the next year, and will be a generally useful thing when I need to make some extra cash for the foreseeable future, but isn’t enough for a full time job (unless the business really takes off). I’m also writing a book at the moment, which if it’s published and does well (yeah right) will probably help make a bit of extra cash. When it comes down to it though, I simply have no idea how to go about looking for a full time job.

House hunting is another issue. I’ve done a bit of browsing on the web to get some idea of what’s available, but I really don’t know enough to make an informed decision - I only know the barest details of how one goes about arranging things, etc.

Then there are all the hundreds of other things which I have so little idea about that I don’t even know where to start, or don’t even know that it’s something I have to consider. Insurance is one I suppose. I’m sure there are many others I don’t even know about.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed all of a sudden, and I’d appreciate hearing from others to know that I’m not alone in this. Related stories, advice, whatever you think is appropriate.


P.S. Apologies if the above is typo-riddled and/or incoherent. I’ve been averaging 5 hours of sleep a night for the past week, so I’m not at my most lucid right now.

Re: Growing up.

Don’t do it!

I mean, you can be financially responsible and buy a house and such; but I just don’t see the benefit in becoming all serious and shit.

I am Peter Pan!

You learn by doing. That, I realize, seems simplistic. But it’s pretty much the plan I’ve used.

Everybody has to rent a place, buy a car, get a job, pay bills, etc. for the first time. You wade on into it, and you make mistakes. Huge screwups, even. And you learn from your experiences.

Life is, I think, a little bit easier to cope with once you’ve knocked down a screwup or so. You learn from them. The first thing you learn is how not to screwup at that particular endeavor. The second thing you learn is that screwups are part of everybody’s life, and you get past them.

Happy screwin’ up!

Really, good luck with it all.

Ser…i…ous… ::checks dictionary::

Nope. I still don’t understand. :slight_smile:

I’m not trying to leap straight into full grown-up ultra mature, serious attitude towards everything. In fact, ideally I intend to never ever reach that stage. Fun and a relaxed attitude towards things are, and always shall be, good things. That’s not the problem. I’m just trying to set about achieving independence and responsiblity for my finances and other aspects of my life. A happy medium between the two really.

Oh, and for the record, not likely to be buying a house for a very very long time. I will, unfortunately, be renting for the foreseeable future.

On buying a house.

I’ve been in the same apartment since I moved away from home. (Yes, I know; I’m boring.) Since I am now buying a house, it has occured to me that my mortgage would be half-paid by now! :eek:

My best fiend bought a three-bedroom house on a quarter-acre for $60,000 (obviously not here!). He put about $10,000 into it. It was just appraised for $96,000 which is what I’m paying for it. So he’s making $26,000 on the deal.

Granted, you probably won’t be able to get the credit without a good job, a 20% downpayment, and a good credit history, and you are unlikely to find a house that will appreciate so much in such a short time; but it’s something to think about.

BTW: My house payment will be about 70% of what I pay for my apartment.

Since you already know you really should get insurance, let me just add that you should keep up a proper administration of stuff. In other words, don’t throw away official looking documents and/or letters. They may come in handy some day in the future. If you can’t be bothered to really study them, at least keep them in an old shoe box.

Same applies to financial statements from your bank etc., and bills that prove you have paid stuff.

Other than that, just get a full-time job. You’ll be so tired that you won’t have time to worry about anything else. :smiley:

It was just as scary 34 yrs. ago as it is today.

My advice, for what it is worth, is don’t have kids right after marriage. Wait a couple, three, or four years.

  1. You need time to learn to live together.
  2. You need time to get financially established before having kids.

You mentioned, more than once, that you haven’t had to work very hard for your achievements.

The real world is very competitive. If you are not competitive, you may want to take some classes such as debate, etc. so you can learn to be competitive.

And remember this: WE all made it, so you can, too. :slight_smile:

Eh, you slog through the best you can and hope that things turn out okay. Try to see if you can slog through some of these big steps one at a time rather than getting overwhelmed by all these big decisions at once, perhaps that might make things easier.

And be prepared after a while to start thinking, “I’m tired of independence and responsibility. Can I move back home again for a while?”

Good luck!

Thanks everyone. It does make me feel better to here this. :slight_smile:

Some specific responses.

Nefertiti: Marriage is implausible for me - I don’t really have much interesting in dating, etc. Maybe eventually, but at the moment it’s really a distant future thing. Kids are even more implausible. I’d be a terrible parent. :slight_smile:

As to being competitive… You’re right. I’m not. It is something I need to work on. I’ll look into your suggestion about debate, but most of our debate societies seem to be very political oriented. Politics are something which I always feel I should in principle learn more about, but never really feel like doing (yeah yeah, I know - I could use this as a double opportunity. :slight_smile: )

Tusculan: ::sigh:: I was afraid of that. I’m terrible at keeping track of my paper trail. Oh well… I guess I’ll have to try.

Johnny L.A.: The 20% downpayment is a problem. Where I want to live has very nasty house prices, so that 20% will amount to a fair bit. I will bear that in mind though. Maybe if I can get together with some friends and buy a house together. The problem is that there are so few of them I’d be willing to live with…

Ringo: But… but… I don’t like screwing up. :slight_smile: Sure, I recognise that I’m going to do it, but I try to minimise them. That’s probably the source of a good half of all my worrying.

Thanks again to everyone.

Eep. The smileys are swarming my posts today. Sorry about that.

Its interesting to see the wide and varied attitudes that people have to growing up.

I’m 20, and personally, I can’t wait until I get my own place and move as far, far away from my parents as possible (I don’t mean that in a hugely negative way, just that I really like “being out there on my own”).

I’m going into 2nd year electrical engineering. Its exactly what I want to do. I have no questions about “what I want to do with my life”. I know what I want to do with my life - get paid to do science, use the money to travel (I love travelling) and engage in my geeky hobbies.

I’m quite content.

Keeping track of important papers is a MUST.

Buying a house with friends? Are you planning on living with them forever? So, what happens if one moves out? Do you buy him/her out?

Maybe, you could start out buying a small home? Build some equity and then move on to something bigger?

One of the things I tried to teach my children: Parents did not get where they are overnight and neither will you. It rarely works that way. In RL, one must work for what one wants…and one usually makes gains a little at a time.

Most college grads are not going to walk into a high paying, high prestige job. They have to work their way up the ladder along with everyone else.

Hiya! I’m 22 and in a similar boat, though I’ve been on my own (ish) for a couple of years now.

Papers- I got a big, blue, divided, fold out, box/folder thing. I throw everything in there in some semblance of an order (the folder tabs have labels) I then store it in my closet until mail comes again. Works fine.

Job getting - Very good for you, just do it.

Renting - Keep a copy of the contract. Your roomies may be great now, but they may suck later, have an escape plan. Always have a way out. Check out a bunch of different places before agreeing to any one of them. Test them, turn the water on and off, check the appliances, talk to previous renters about the landlord.

Life in general - Stay clean, keep real food around and cook sometimes. Live like a human being, not a college student. Frankly, none of it is hard, really. It takes practice, and its a learning experiance, but I’m sure you are capable of it. And then you also get all the really cool aspects, like being able to bring friends over and do a dinner party, like grown ups. Being able to stay up all night like you wanted to when you were little and not get introuble with anyone. Your mom was right, freedom does come with responsibility.

It can be really hard. I love being home, being with my family, and I went to college way far away from them. It wasn’t until this summer that I realised I had actually moved out, that I wasn’t just at my apartment until I could get home, but that my apartment was my home, and I go and visit my family. It wasn’t an instant move for me, it took four years, and a fair amount of heartache. But the good parts are really, really good. (And if I can do it, you can too, promise.)

If you want a peer, unrelated eye on anything, feel free to e-mail me.


Nefertiti: RE living with friends on a permanent basis… I don’t know. I’m not so fond of living on my own - even though I’m far less of a loner than I used to be, socialisation still is a bit difficult for me. It’s nice to live with people, as it provides a good level of daily contact. That being said, it was just an idea - I doubt any of my friends would really go for it; I just find it helps to have lots of ideas. That way, even if most of them are bad, you have lots of options to choose from. If it ever progressed to more than an idea it would need a lot of discussion.

Medea’s Child: Thankfully your Life in General advice isn’t something I have trouble with. :slight_smile: I’m very hygiene conscious, and while my room may be messy with papers it’s never dirty. I cook every other night at least, often every night - and when I don’t cook it’s usually because I’m reheating leftovers I’ve kept in the fridge from the previous night. I’ve done several dinner parties over the past few years which, while not being completely grown up due to the limited facilities (no big tables to eat off - usually plates balanced on laps), they’re generally proper affairs. I’ve managed to more of less avoid the typical college student life. (I do occasionally do the 'staying up ‘till all hours thing’ though).

Trigonal Planar: Well, I’m also looking forward to being independent and having a place (more or less) of my own. It’s just one of those things that, as well as really looking for to it, scares the hell out of me.