But I Don’t Want to Grow Up

By Jordan McNeil

Well, hello again YSU. Thought you were rid of me? I warned you it wouldn’t be that easy. I may have left here in the spring with a diploma in my hands, but I am back and I’m here to stay — for another three years, anyway.

I have been hired back at The Jambar as one of the part-time columnists this year. That means you’ll be hearing from me weekly to discuss topics that are important to me — the sometimes daunting world of writing and publishing, farming and agriculture in our modern-day society, working on my MFA, just how adorable baby goats are and anything else that draws my interest as I make my way through my first year of graduate school.

I decided in December to continue on with this whole schooling thing — this time to get my master’s in creative writing. Part of the reason I made this decision was that I wanted to spend some quality time with my writing, honing my skills and maybe finally finishing a novel manuscript. But another part, possibly the biggest part, was that I didn’t feel ready to grow up.

My original plan for after graduation was to find a publishing job and move to a big city. As I progressed through undergrad, that idea appeared less and less appealing. I still want to work in publishing, I still want to move to a big city, but the thought of doing it now, at 22 years old, is frightening. I may have been a legal adult for four years, but I still feel like a kid.

I’ve spent 77 percent of my life in school — that’s right, I did the math. Seventeen years of having nothing to worry about except writing assignments, math problems and science tests. All of these seem to be easier to deal with than, say, rent, utility bills, insurance or feeding myself regularly. Even while I was “living on my own” during undergrad, I wasn’t really. My room and board was taken care of, my meals were prepared by the dining services — the only really new adult responsibility I added was doing my own laundry, which is pretty small in the grand scheme of things.

It’s a scary thought, growing up and moving away from what you’ve known your whole life. Home with my parents feels safe; away on my own feels less-than-safe. I know I’ll have to do so eventually, even if I’ve been humoring the idea of living under my parents’ roof until retirement age. I hate to say that I’m afraid of change, but I take relief in the fact that I’m not alone in this feeling.

So for now, I’ll commiserate with my peers on social media over looking for an adultier adult because we don’t remember we’re really adults; I’ll focus on my writing, complete some manuscripts, get some things published; and I’ll work on growing up, ease myself into it with some grocery shopping, owning a car and out-of-town summer internships. I’ve got three more years to figure this all out.

And if I don’t, there’s always PhD programs, right?