The Most Important Thing I’ve Learned About Adulting

I, newly 18 and eager to own this brand new, sparkly “adult” title bestowed upon me, started occasionally bringing a cup of coffee from 7-Eleven to class. It was the cheapest portable cup of coffee I could find near campus.

When I caught a view of myself in a mirror, I smiled. I looked like I had my life together, like I was up-to-date on all my doctor’s appointments and wore matching socks. There was only one problem: the coffee was disgusting.

I tried to fix the coffee with milk and sugar but it was still a mess, a sludge of sweetness with a thick, underlying aftertaste of bitter, straight-from-the-Earth-in-a-bad-way coffee.

It took dozens of half-drunken 7-Eleven coffees thrown in the trash to start bringing bottles of juice instead, something infinitely more palatable. But, I never stopped wanting to be that person, the adult adult.

American society called me an adult at 18 but gave me exactly 0% of the information that is necessary to be a successful adult. I’ve always felt like I was playing catch-up with the adult I was supposed to embody.

I had many, many questions.

Like, how do you advocate for yourself during a doctor’s appointment, when your parents have always looked out for you? There’s a very disorienting power struggle within the patient/doctor relationship that has often left me feeling like I couldn’t speak up for myself, or worse, like no one would listen to me.

What is the right way to write an interview-securing resume, especially in today’s technological age where robots often disqualify you before your resume ever meets a human?

And, most importantly, what is the right proportion of cream, sugar, and coffee to make it not taste disgusting?

They don’t teach you any of that in public school. The Pythagorean theorem, yes. Resumes, no. And yet, they push you out at the end of senior year, and send you off with no more than a cheery “Good luck!”, branding…

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