We all know the cliche saying that college “expands a person’s horizons,” but there is truth in the idea that the life lessons derived from living without one’s parents are more valuable than anything one can learn in a classroom.
The ability to manage small, everyday crises marks the true transition into adulthood. Adulthood is not only about learning outside the classroom or simply living independently, but it’s also about the ability to handle the everyday crises alongside one’s main duties as a student or employee. Dealing with problems like paying your own phone bill while juggling either schoolwork or office life defines the real world more than completing homework assignments or writing essays.
School assignments may confine you to a certain set of methods, but in the real world you must think outside the box to solve problems. I am not an engineering major, but I once developed a contraption using a hook, duct tape and a pool-cleaning tool to fish keys 12 feet out of a sewer on a dark Friday night. This success helped me develop confidence in navigating the real world.
I am certain I will use my advertising knowledge to reach future clients, but I am much prouder that I have managed to unclog a toilet, trap and dispose of rats, and create a makeshift bandage for my roommate’s wound.
Whether these challenges end in independent learning or bawling on the phone begging someone for help, “living independently” goes beyond just having your own place. These daily challenges provide something more educational than a multiple choice test where there will always be a right or wrong answer. Unpredictable and unannounced, daily challenges test your flexibility, and without one correct answer, they test your creativity. With determination and ingenuity, you can prevent these challenges from leaving you a disheveled mess.
After all, even billionaires once plunged their own toilet.
Alyssa Jacobson is a senior majoring in advertising and political science.