How to grow up

What do we do when the thing we’ve looked forward to for so long becomes a source of anxiety? Seniors, this one is for you.


Evanthia Stirou

One day you’re in pre-school and the next you’re graduating. Where does the time go, and how do we cope with its passage?

Caroline Gans, Editor in Chief

For the majority of my life, I was absolutely enchanted by the idea of growing up. Whenever things would get hard, I would just remind myself that soon enough I would be leaving all my troubles behind to go out on my own. Ironically, the thing that’s the hardest for me now is the very thing that used to bring me comfort.

I am scared of growing up. 

But who isn’t, right? 

Growing up is such a common fear that you’d think there would be some type of cure for it- perhaps a pill or maybe some sort of topical ointment. We all know that not to be the case, though. One of the only things that none of us can prevent in this life is the unending forward march of time, and with that comes growing older. Whether you like it or not, time keeps moving. 

For me, though, it’s not so much the getting older that scares me; it’s the inevitable life transition that comes with adulthood. In less than a year, my life will look completely different than it does right now. 

In some ways, this is the most free I’ll ever be. I can choose to go anywhere for college; I can choose to embark on any career path I want. In this next year, I will be faced with decisions that will shape my life forever, and as much as that’s scary, it’s also incredibly freeing.

It seems that the one thing I can’t do, though, is choose to keep things the way they are. As my childhood draws to a close, I have been forced to confront the realization that in just a few months, I will never be able to return home again. I will never be able to go back to the house that I have spent seventeen years in and call it my home; it will always be my “childhood house.” I will never be able to see the friends I have now and just think of them as my friends, they’ll henceforth be known as my “high school friends.” The life I’m living now, the life that is all I have known for seventeen whole years, will never be my reality again.

How can I even be expected to process that? How can any of us be expected to process that? 

I’ve thought about it a lot, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this is one of those things that is just going to be hard, no matter how you slice it. Rather than trying to overcome this inevitable problem, maybe it’s better to just accept it for what it is and see if any good can come of it.

With great uncertainty comes great opportunity. When you look at the situation like that, using a growth mindset instead of a fixed one seems to be an apt choice. Suddenly, this problem becomes an opportunity to make your life whatever you want it to be. Why not look at the unknown with hope rather than fear? Why not channel your nervous energy into determination to make your life the best you can possibly make it?

Change is a scary thing, but it’s also a deeply needed one. Without change, we could never hope to make any progress. 

Look around. Every adult you see has gone through this period of their lives and lived to tell the tale. Your parents, your teachers, perhaps even your older siblings or cousins. They were all faced with the same choices you are facing now, and they came through them. If they made any mistakes, learn from them. If they faced the challenge flawlessly, use them as a mentor. Whatever the case, you aren’t alone in this. 

It’s easy to feel like everyone around you has it all figured out, but that is not the case. I sure don’t. I have no idea where I’ll be in a year, and I have even less of a notion of what I’ll be doing there. I do know this, though: in a year, my life will be different, but I’ll still be me. I’ve faced challenges and periods of uncertainty before, and I’ve come through. This time won’t be any different, for me or for any of us.