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For someone who has had the mind of an adult and the maturity of an adult since practically the age of five, growing up has presented me with some major shocks. I am realizing that growing up and being an adult have many different facets.

So what adulthood have I just entered? The “live alone” realm. I have always lived in university or family/friends accommodations up until I moved into July. Now, while I do have a roommate, I am on my own. I am in charge of making sure rent gets paid, there are groceries in my fridge, the bathroom gets cleaned or the screen door gets fixed. I’ve done some of these things before – the groceries, the bathroom and the screen door. But others are completely new and this “live alone” realm has one of the biggest aspects of adulthood: money.

I am on a tight budget this semester until I find a job. I have to budget rent for a two-bedroom in the DC Metro area, getting around and all that entails, feeding myself, keeping the apartment in shape and graduate school. It’s a shocking realization when you can’t make your full credit card payment for the first time. When you are waiting for the Federal government to process your loans so you know you’ll have enough money to cover utilities and rent. (Note: I am not completely broke and I have an amazing support system in place if things go terribly wrong.) 

That kind of tight budget, even if I have a back-up plan and a support system, involves a different kind of thinking. Things that I wouldn’t think about normally (juice, going to a movie, a few shirts), become conscious. I weigh the benefits of getting a newspaper subscription in terms of coupon pay-outs. I think about whether it is better to use said coupon or go generic. I tell myself that I’ll read that magazine at the library because I shouldn’t be frivolous and spend the $7 for it on the stand. 

Today, I went to the grocery store and used my reusable bags for the 5 cents per bag discount I get. I came home and split the package of chicken breasts into freezer bags for perfect portions. I thought about where I was going to buy gas and whether I should take the bus to the metro station on Tuesday and save myself about $3 for parking. And that’s when it hit me – I am an adult. I’ve got rent, a car, a newspaper subscription and coupons clipped. I think this financial, live-alone part of becoming an adult is the most scary part of all of this.

For everyone else, what was the most scary part of becoming an adult?