Contrary to what people may say, growing up is a scary thing. Yes, it’s thrilling and exciting and encouraging to know that there are so many opportunities awaiting us, but that doesn’t make it any less scary. To know that every single decision we make affects our life one way or another is powerful yet daunting at the same time. Even though us, young adults, know that we have so many resources to access and people to talk to when we are feeling overwhelmed with just life, in general, I know that a lot of us don’t really take advantage of them. Instead we tend to bottle things inside, pretend that we aren’t REALLY going through it, and continue to push ourselves until we feel as if we’ve reached the finish line.
Sometimes we feel alone in our struggle for success, academic achievements, and pursuing job satisfaction, but TRUST ME, you’re not. It’s safe to say that just about EVERYONE, including the people around you who seem to be keeping up a solid front of how well their lives are going, are also confused and a little bit lost. But, I think that’s okay as long as we acknowledge it and accept the fact that we are constantly changing and change is uncomfortable, but it’s necessary in order to grow and achieve the life that we want (or are at least pleased with) rather than pretend it’s not happening at all, or that “it’s not that deep.”
I reached out to a few young adults that I know that are all in different walks of life to begin this series. Some of the participants are current university students in different programs, some are from bigger, metropolitan cities dealing with life in the big city, and some are not currently enrolled in University at all. Regardless of what their walk of life looks like, we are all undergoing a shift in maturity, responsibilities, and purpose. I wanted to ask them honestly about their views on life, what stresses them out about adulthood, and what they do to relieve this stress (if anything at all).
I am creating this series to inform other young adults that they aren’t alone in their confusion. I’m hoping that YOU are able to relate to some of the responses to these questions even if you aren’t open about it. I really hope that people like YOU are able to relate and understand that you aren't alone in this thing called "growing up” because at the end of the day, adults are just…. children with more responsibilities. Here is this week's response:
RESPONSE #1 – This is from the perspective of a CURRENT York University Student
1. Tell me about yourself.
I’m currently studying in Toronto in the biology program, but I’ll be switching into psychology because I truly feel that I have a passion for listening and guiding others on their right path. I love being other people’s supporters and helping others in their times of need. I also feel that mental illness is an upcoming epidemic in our generation and future generations, so it is a topic that should be less taboo to society.
I love music, art, anything to express emotions and creativity. I feel that music and art can speak for those when words can’t. Music sparks people’s feelings with just one note where paragraphs probably could never. Art can depict emotions and feelings without having real life objects in the art. I love how art is subjective to every person; whatever outcome a person takes from the painting could be totally different from the person standing next to them. Sometimes art can even tell a person how the artist was feeling while they were creating it, what mental state they were at, what was going on in their head. Art is so powerful, and I feel that most people underestimate the information that can be pulled from it and how it can be useful. Art can be an outlet for someone dealing with depression, or a way to express their love for someone.
2. What about University/college/adulthood (in general) stresses you out? Write in detail.
EVERYTHING. University is a scam. A systematic CULT that makes you pay thousands of dollars for 4 months of stress and anxiety. University tells you to be active within the school with extracurriculars and a job and make friends and join council, but also to keep up with your massive work load and get ahead with reading and never miss class because they’ll cover a whole unit in one day and expect you to read the rest on your own. They’ll give you 50 different ways for you to study the content, but will schedule them all at the same time so good luck trying to attend any of them. University places a social status on someone within society as someone who is “educated” and “intellectually capable” because they received a piece of paper with their name on it yet it means nothing because that same person used SparkNotes and Quizlet for all of their midterms and assignments. University and College are no different in work load, and University students are not the superior to those in the work force or enrolled in college. University, from my experience, is a total scam and if it were possible to obtain a stable job with good benefits without a degree, I would not be here.
3. How do you handle that stress (if at all)? What recommendations would you give to someone dealing with stressors regarding coming-of-age/growing up?
I’ve been dealing with anxiety and depression for most of my life. I’ve seen therapist after therapist and then finally went on medication, but recently decided to stop. I didn’t like how the medication had control over my emotions, so I decided that I would try battling my demons on my own. I feel that mental health can greatly stem from your physical health. If you aren’t releasing toxins, not treating your body right, not feeding it the right nutrients, then you’re bound to run into problems. Deciding to be active was my first outlet to coping with stress. I would run during all times of the year, and nights before exams because the stress was too much. The endorphins that you feel after a great workout cannot be topped by any pharmaceutical drug.
An important thing I also had to learn was to not bottle it up. A reoccurring thought when I thought about venting to people was that I didn’t want their judgement or their pity. I didn’t want them to grow tired of hearing me complain either. Canada has SO many helplines and sources for reaching out in times of need, so reaching out to Kids Helpline, or the Crisis Text line, even calling my personal therapist helped me get through dark thoughts and overwhelming stress. Sometimes it might be hard to express how one feels, but it helps to just start talking.
Another coping mechanism is CBT: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Sometimes it might be frustrating to feel the same way over and over again and not know how to fix it. I know this feeling all too well. But, in order to find the source of the problem one must be willing to back track through their feelings and find out the situation that TRIGGERED these overwhelming feelings. CBT touches on the things the person sees or experiences, the feelings they felt in response to them, the thoughts that proceeded afterwards, etc. This way, the person can see what their triggers are and how they can overcome these feelings the next time this situation occurs. This was a great way for me to deal with stressful situations and avoid anxiety attacks. Our brain is so powerful: to the point where it can sometimes be too much for us to handle, so organizing your thoughts and feelings is a great way for a person to deal with anxiety and stress.
THANK YOU FOR READING!
That concludes this week's post in this ongoing series about WHAT DOES ADULTHOOD MEAN TO YOU. Thank you to the person who made this submission and if you are interested in seeing more posts like this from other young adults undergoing the same shift in their life, stay tuned!
If you are interested in sending a submission and being featured in this ADULTHOOD series, you can email SouthSonder@gmail.com answering the same questions listed above. You can also choose to remain anonymous if you would like!