Dear almost adult Mika,
This summer, I was in adult limbo. In between adulthood and not-yet-adulthood. College graduation put me in the throes of financial independence, rent and insurance stress and a realization that, damn, I’m now lonesomely steering the boat that is life without the guidance of a larger entity. …Except I was still in a classroom for most of the week. Not reading theoretical literature from Freud or Schumpeter, and instead ingesting more practical knowledge, typing away on my text editor for 9+ hours a day and building technologies I never thought possible for me to create. Still… sitting in on lectures, exchanging ideas and learning in a slightly controlled, sometimes radical environment nonetheless. Limbo.
I have a laundry list of “Aha, now I’m actually an adult” moments. Moments that accumulate because of my being in denial that, despite the baby hair and pudgy cheeks and my stupid episodes that don’t quite reach adult standard, I’m no kid anymore.
I thought I was finally an adult when I moved out of my family’s home for college to live on my own. Then again when I spent my first paycheck from my on-campus job. Then again when I made an IRA savings account for my future retired self.
Next week, I add another item to the list. Next week, my summer limbo comes to an end as I start my first full-time job in a company I’ve long been waiting to join.
I’m excited. Very excited. This feels like the epitome of adulthood and the last time I’ll be adding an item to that list of mine. It’s a big step, one that will determine a lot of my future. And for that reason, I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to make sure I make the right moves, to make sure I don’t fck up. While I’m extremely excited, I’m a little bit scared. What if I mess everything up? What if everyone ends up disliking my work? What if I end up realizing that the place I thought I wanted to be in is not a good fit for me? The little kid inside of me is also worried that the childlike wonder and unfazed energy and excuse to make mistakes goes away.
And so, dear almost adult Mika, here’s a little reminder: Relax. Give yourself a break. You’re not as old as you make yourself seem. You’re growth minded enough to stay curious and willing to learn. You’re in an industry that accepts mistakes as long as they lead to better learnings. You’ve always been up for a challenge and here’s an exciting and new one.
And, you are not alone. If there’s anything else that your “summer limbo” provided (besides those free tech company snacks), it’s that bunch of smart and amazing peers and network of mentors. They’ll last a lifetime and they’re just a Slack message away! And you’ve got some pretty kickass coworkers to learn from. It’ll be a tough transition, but you’ll make it there – you always find a way.
Keep your head up and get ready for the ride. It’ll be a bumpy start, but you’ll make it through.