University of California - Davis
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Nov 19 2016
by Teresa Tang

5 Moments When You Realize You Are an Adult in College

By Teresa Tang - Nov 19 2016

So, we are technically on our own since day 1 of dorm life, but we are not yet fully independent. From time to time your parents check in with you, not to mention those calls in the middle of the night asking your mom how to do laundry. There is still this sense of excitement and wonder of finally leaving home but sometimes it doesn’t feel too different because you are going home every weekend. But finally, as time goes by, little by little, you find yourself doing things that an actual adult would do. Here are 5 of the moments of realization:

1. When you are doing laundry.

You know the drill. It finally just feels so normal separating light and dark colors, checking pockets, and tossing clothes into the laundry machine. You know how the button works. You even know how to remove that wine stain on your favorite shirt from that party last night and you didn't even need to ask your mom about it. You realize you are a grown up.


2. When you cook like your mom.

You experienced a few times in the kitchen and made a few messes at the stove (you know who you are), but finally, you made something that tastes like what’s on the dinner table back at your house. You cry as you feast on the food you have been missing for months. It’s like an accomplishment; what’s more satisfying than when you cook food like your mom does? You know you are really able to be on your own when you can feed yourself well.


3. When you are sick.

The weather has been playing jokes on you and you got a cold. You wouldn’t tell your parents because you know they would drive 10 hours to your college and live in your dorm room until you recover. That’s embarrassing and you don’t want it to happen. So you start googling your symptoms and diagnosis yourself. You’ve read through WebMD and 10 different household ways to cure a cold. You start to drink more warm water, eat more healthfully, and regulate your sleep. It took a while for that cold to go but by the time it went, you realize you have taken good care of yourself without help from anyone. 


4. When you are claiming insurance money.

You crashed into somebody when you were rush-biking to class. You went to the hospital and didn’t have your insurance card with you. You paid out of pocket and it was way too expensive. Your mom is half angry half worried at you and she wouldn’t help you fill out the insurance forms to claim the money back. And now you are staring into your laptop with 10 tabs of the insurance website figuring out how this whole thing works. You eventually give up reading and gave the insurance company a call. The moment that lady from the insurance company picked up the phone you realize you’ve been adulting this whole time.

Ashburham Insurance

5. When you are signing a lease for next year’s housing.

Website after website, email after email, house tour after house tour, you and your roommates finally found “the apartment”. Today, you gather all your legal documents, and all of you head off to the apartment management office to sign the rent. As you listen to the manager list all the terms of the lease, date of rent, charges of utility are getting a sense of how the legal world works and are overwhelmed with all the information. After dozing off a little bit, it is finally your turn to sign the lease. You pick up your pen and sign your name in the most fancy way possible. You know this is the moment when YOU are responsible for what you do: When you are finally an adult.


Lead image: 20th Century Fox.

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Teresa Tang -

Teresa is a pharmaceutical chemistry major in UC Davis. The love of her life are sushi, dumplings and bacon. Find her on instagram @dotta238

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