Oh dang! We’re adults now

And it seems some of us forgot to read the job description.

Will Nelson, Columnist

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Coming into this week, I was overwhelmed with ideas for topics to write about, what with the recent Trump rally and protest, the impending Nov. 5 elections, and the Inclusive Excellence follow-up.

Instead, I’m writing about something I believe encompasses all of these topics; being an adult. 

I used to work at my hometown’s city hall, streaming council meetings to local cable access, so for a long time, I have been exposed to adults solving problems among themselves in a political environment. I always looked up to those council members as models of civility and diplomacy, but even on my first days of college, I saw students having conversations that would make the council meetings look like kindergartners arguing over a juice box during snack time.

I was so startled to see people my age acting with more maturity than my adult mentors that I completely forgot one crucial fact: they were, in fact, adults.  

Since then, my awe in my peers’ wisdom and sophistication has only grown. 

Watching them in discussion with faculty about diversity issues has been particularly impressive. Our generation of Hamline students has been truly blessed with some fantastic public speakers. I’ve watched, starstruck, as my friends take on a myriad of problems both in and outside of the classroom with dignity and savoir faire secondly only to John F Kennedy. 

Adulting goes beyond that too! We’re all out here using credit cards, visiting banks, grocery shopping, exercising civil liberties and living independently. It seems like yesterday, my biggest concern was stuttering when I talked to my crush on the school bus. Now I’m voting and paying taxes.

We’re doing it, folks! We’re adults!

For those of you thinking this is just a pat-on-the-back article, however, I sincerely apologize. 

Sometimes people forget that they’re adults now, and the vestiges of their adolescence pokes through, like an ill-matched t-shirt over the neck of a sweater. I know that many of us have already blown through our declining balance on Starbucks. Another example that springs readily to mind is the gentleman on my floor who hasn’t quite figured out how to flush the toilet (you know who you are). 

But sometimes the consequences are worse than a foul-smelling bathroom. Instances of a few certain students using racially and sexually insensitive language have proliferated in the past few weeks. Not only is this language hurtful and immature, its indicative of intransigence to change. 

When incidents like this occur, it is the responsibility of the administration to respond appropriately, and whether or not they are doing this adequately is subject to debate. But at the end of the day, it’s the students who are causing the problem, and it’s the students who must fix it. So step out of the high school locker rooms, gang, it’s time to grow up.

I realized something else in my reflections; nothing has really changed from adolescence. The only thing that separates students from admin is a few years of experience.

It’s strange, now that we’re in the dawn of adulthood, I’m starting to understand there really is no cathartic coming-of-age moment. There is no mystic journey at the end of which lies a full understanding of all responsibilities and duties as an adult. They’re just as clueless as we are.

We may be new to the game, but telling that to a referee in a soccer game isn’t going to get you out of a red card. Perhaps soccer isn’t a good analogy, because soccer players actually know how to play soccer. Being an adult, like Monopoly, is a game that most of us make up as we go.

This isn’t to discredit adults in your life. This is a call for us to take up our responsibilities because the medicine ball of adulthood just dropped onto our laps, it’s a lot heavier than it looks.

In my subtitle, I mentioned a job description for adulthood, but it doesn’t exist. Everyone is just faking it. But please, for the sake of our future, make it a good fake.

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