Adapted from a blogpost I orginally wrote for the Student Leader Collective, a project that I was a part of from Swiftkick HQ.
Adult. Real Person. Them. Grown up.
All words that I have heard fellow student leaders use to refer to what life is like after graduation. As if that shiny diploma suddenly bestows adult powers upon us in which we become responsible, functional members of society. As if we aren’t already are.
Now I admit, I, too, have referred to myself as not-a-real-person, and as a child. Heck, I probably did that today. But the bills I paid today tell me otherwise. But it can still feel like I’m just pretending at time. (NB: Read Francette‘s blogpost on Imposter Syndrome. It speaks so much truth.)
I think that the reason that students (and of course student leaders) refer to people who have graduated and have “big kid jobs” is because we often feel like we’re not contributing to society. It’s hard to feel like you’re being an active participant in society when your big question every weekend is what TV show are you going to marathon though on Netflix… again.
But we’re discounting ourselves. We’re not letting our work and achievement receive the kudos that it deserves.
Sure, during the school year we may not be getting up to head to our 40-hours-a-week job that has very clear value and purpose to it. But when we finally roll out of bed, we’re studying, writing papers, sitting in class, working on group projects. And most of us have at least one job… maybe more. And then volunteering on top of that. We’re in meetings, we’re advocating for student rights, we’re leading, we’re learning, we’re teaching and we’re growing.
We may not know what we want our “real person jobs” to be, or even necessarily exactly how to get there. But as student leaders we know that we want to help our peers, foster connections and participate in personal, professional and community development. Research shows that millennials have a clear of idea of the workplace culture, care about corporate social responsibility and want to do meaningful work. We know what we out of life. And that’s a pretty grown-up, if you ask me.
So next time you go to say you’re not a real person yet because you don’t know what purpose you’re serving society, just remember all you do for your community, your personal development, and realize that it can make all the difference. Also, I made myself business cards. That’s like super grown-up.