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Lessons in adulting

She’s newly married and just starting college. He’s off to join the Army. 

Our elder offers a few ideas to help this newlywed become an independent adult.

Dear EWC:

Hello, I hope you are having a good day. I need advice with my marriage. I decided to marry my high school sweetheart and move out with him after graduation. I’m currently beginning college and he is leaving to join the army. I’m worried about myself. I feel like I should be able to be independent but at the same time I’m afraid to do anything without him nearby. I mean I’m excited to try adulting on my own but during these times of COVID I can’t even get a license. That and my family doesn’t know anything, they think I’m living with my roommate, which I made up, because if they found out about what I did they would greatly disapprove. SO I feel very alone and I don’t have much support, heck I can’t even set up a doctor’s appointment, I was never taught how and even when I tried doing it by myself and looking into how to set one up I got confused. I have great dreams. I want to get my education in a way to proceed into my environmental science career while being independent and working hard. What advice would you give me into what it means to become independent, an adult?

Ketchman replies:

I think the most important thing you could do, at this point in your life, is to get that college degree and do whatever it’s going to take to get there. There likely won’t be an easier time than now. Once you get started in your marriage, life, especially military life, starts getting in the way. There will be probable changes of station, long separations due to deployments, and, maybe, children. Once those factors come into being it will still be possible to get a college degree; but it will be considerably more difficult.

The reason a degree is so important is because it’s so critical to enabling your independence. Without a college degree or some sort of post high school job training it becomes rather difficult to find any work other than low paid unskilled labor that puts you at the mercy of your employer. You can, and should, do better than that.

There are no schools that teach you how to be an adult. There probably should be – a lot of us, including myself, would have had smoother lives had we attended one. Experience is all we have to teach us the ropes. You’ll get there and, like everyone else, you’ll make a few mistakes along the way. While you can’t control your future you can do things that can help tip it in the direction you’d like it to go. Getting qualified for an interesting and meaningful career is one of the most effective ones. 

Whether you become a stay at home mom or embark upon a career, the very fact that you’ll have the capability to live an independent, self supporting life not dependent on anyone else for financial support is enormously liberating. I hope you find that to be so.

Marriage 

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