20something profile: Kevin
No one wants to be that old guy in the room, especially the classroom. Just recently, I transferred to the University of Rochester to finish my bachelor’s degree. At almost twenty-seven, I’m certain the majority of my fellow students thought me the professor as I walked in. (Trimmed beard, dress shirt, super handsome—I can’t blame them).
I began my college career the same time my high-school friends were finishing theirs. I was twenty-four and surrounded by eighteen-and-nineteen-year-olds (and thanks to a dual enrollment high school program, sixteen-and-seventeen-year-olds).
In my first few weeks of freshman year, I reeked of insecurity. “Out of place” is a phrase that fits well, but a better one is “Out of shape.” My brain was sluggish, my legs were tired (so much walking), and I hadn’t completed the square since high school.
Yes. My attitude could’ve been better. In fact, it got worse. The “If only’s” hooked my lip like a shiny lure of insecurity, comparing my predicament to others, blaming them all day long.
“If only I had their money.”
“If only I didn’t have to work a job.”
“If only I had a younger brain”… untainted by the Limp Bizkit craze of the late ‘90s.
Eventually, two important things clicked for me during freshman year. 1. Comparing myself to others was a waste of time. 2. (And if I wanted to be a dick about it) I could run circles around these kids in the classroom and in life.
Sure, they were hip. But I was an experienced experiencer of experience.
In my “wasted” years after high-school, I traveled the world and made music and got married. I interned and ran businesses and had fun. I did a lot. But honestly, one experience stayed with me more than all others — the ugliest experience I have — and it fuels my college career even today: minimum wage with no way out.
Minimum wage with a 50 cent raise after a year (and no way out). Talk about motivation. Suddenly, the Charlie Brown teachers spoke to me as clear as day.
Angst to Awkward to Adult
To become successful adults, we must accept the past as well as the present (one cannot exist without the other). From there we move forward, into success, or the adulthood limelight, or whatever you want to call it. So awkward, this adulthood stuff.
Here are my immutable laws. They’ve gotten me this far. Feel free to use them.
1. Accept the path you’ve been placed on
2. Recognize the path you most desire
3. Take whatever steps you need to take to get there
4. Accept responsibility for the missteps as you go
NOTICE: Never part of the equation is comparison. “If only’s” are a trap in the basement of adulthood failure (It rubs the lotion on its skin!).
I plan on graduating in 2015 with my undergraduate in entrepreneurship and creative writing. If I can handle it, I may continue and get a master’s somewhere. We’ll see.
When I finally (re)enter the job market, I know I’ll have nothing to be afraid of. I may be a little older than the “average college grad,” but that won’t stop me. It really doesn’t matter. Most social pressure is just bullshit we get from TV anyways. What matters is that you make the best with what you’ve been given, that you find the path you most desire, and that you go for it.
Don’t be fooled, my friends. EVERYTHING is up to you.