Leaving the Nest
As I write this, I am sitting on the couch at home, watching television on a nice flat screen, 20 feet from a kitchen with a refrigerator that is loaded with more food than I can afford. I also just spent the past 30 minutes packing up a whole bunch of food to take up north with me (free groceries! I am never above mooching) while the rest of my family is packing up for a trip to Boston to watch the Sox/Yankees series. Yay for them.
About to go into my senior year of college, I decided to stay away from home for the summer since I already had a job, had to get an internship as part of a requirement for my major, and wanted some real life experience. The real life experience I ended up getting, wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be.
My job pays enough to get by. I can afford food and rent and pretty much get by each month, if barely. That’s all well and good. That is how life gets; you have to spend a little time working at the bottom, especially since I still have a year of school left and a life of playing sports had pretty much left my resume a little sparse. But a job only pays when you show up to it and my parents, mainly my mom, wanted me to come home as often as possible (it’s a six-hour drive to get home for me). This didn’t help my financial situation very much, but I was still making it through the month and able to see my family on occasion.
It wasn’t until I ended up driving my mom’s car instead of my own, because it’s a Prius and I would get much better gas mileage, that I really hit financial straights. I ended up hitting a pole, denting the bumper. Paying $700 to fix it, a week after paying my $1,200 rent, was a little rough and a huge reality check. My parents weren’t always going to be able to be there to support me for every mistake I made, there were some that I needed to fix (or just pay to have fixed) myself.
I finally realized that my real life experience wasn’t making money, living by myself, or having a job, but understanding the responsibility of being on my own. The mistakes I made had to be fixed by me. It is tough, and I know my parents will be there to help if I really do fail, but I also think they are letting me make so many mistakes because they believe I won’t fail. Only time will tell, but I have my fingers crossed.
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By Michelle Schroeder,
College student writer