I am a first-generation college student who identifies as a Latinx woman (Indian, Dominican, and Puerto Rican) though my mother would feverishly tell you I’m more Dominican than anything else. My hometown is Lawrence, Massachusetts, made of a predominantly Hispanic community and Washington D.C. is nothing like any place I’ve been to. Metro buses swarm the industrious city: if you look right you’ll see a woman in designer shoes fashionably strutting her way down Fair street without a care in the world, yet look left and you’ll see a man of small stature gripping a coffee mug for dear life and walking on his heels at the speed of light attempting to catch a Metro bus (maybe he was late for his 9 am board meeting).
I realized instead of planning out when to move C.elegans worms for the third fertility assay of the week in my Holy Cross lab, I’d now be creating a schedule for my entire day at the Federation of American Scientists including when to review the congressional calendars and when to work on different projects simultaneously. Instead of noting where an experiment went wrong in my lab notebook, I was taking notes on Chairman Nadler’s input during the judiciary hearing from the House; the parallels between my Holy Cross life and new job life were slowly intersecting.
Being an adult was something in my reach, but never in my grasp. I drove to D.C. with my parents, got dropped off at my luxurious apartment, and an eerie feeling appeared taking the form of my face, staring back at me. Is this adulthood? After all, I was the owner of a brand new, limited edition Metro pass and it had my name printed right on it (not really). I did groceries too, at my nearest Whole Foods (which was alright, I really miss Market Basket though). In hindsight, doing groceries and taking the Metro does not make you an adult. Sorry if that’s a bit disappointing. With my two months’ experience of working a corporate job, I can tell you that even you reading this blog right now possess all the capabilities to harness the act of being an “adult.” Yes, the act of being an adult. There is no age when one feels grown. There is no amount you can spend on your groceries to prove you are an adult and there is no amount of times you can ride the Metro to prove it either.
Rather, it is the choices you make and the confidence you have within every breath you take. Being an adult is learning how to carry yourself with composure, forgiveness, and strength. It is helpful to be more open-minded and to grace others with your nurturing presence. Be someone who never comments on what they already know, but on what you want to keep learning. If you aren’t good at it now, you’ll be great at it later. Everyone around you is doing what you are doing: just trying to figure it out. Attempt to harness your own energy and begin thinking about how you want to make your mark on today’s world!