I want to try adulting

But I can’t even set up a doctor’s appointment! This married letter writer wants to become more independent. 

Start with that college degree, says our elder.


Dear EWC

Hello, I hope you are having a good day. I need advice about 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 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

Thanks for contacting us. I’ll try to help.

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.

Have I got it right that you’re presently enrolled in college? If that’s correct, stay there. You and your husband need to find out what benefits the army will provide you as a military dependent. I think that he will be entitled to about $370 per month in housing allowance that can go towards your living expenses. You’ll also be entitled to medical benefits and, possibly, others as well. That’s something you and he need to check out, and get started as soon as you can.

You are going to have to tell your parents. Ain’t no way around that. They’re going to find out, sooner or later – probably sooner – and, trust me on this, it will be much, much better learning it from you than from other sources. One of the characteristics of an adult is the capability to face, and tell others, difficult truths. Now is the time to start. 

If the college you’re now enrolled in will give you the degree you’re looking for I suggest you stay there until you complete it. That won’t be easy to do. You’ll feel very pressured to follow your husband. It’s tempting, I know, but you’ll pay a price for doing so. The posts he’ll be stationed at, and transferred between, may not have nearby colleges that offer the programs you’ll need. While some courses may be available online, the pandemic, hopefully, will not last forever and at some point you’ll have to take in person courses. I really can’t emphasize that enough. If you want to realize your dreams of independence and a career to be proud of you need to get that degree and the longer you put it off, the more difficult it will be.

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. Your parents, relatives, friends, and teachers will help – both as good and bad examples to follow – but ultimately, it’s up to you. 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.

Article #: 463003
Category: Marriage

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *