how to be an adult

To be perfectly honest, I don't feel much older than I did when I was 18.  Sure, I've had a lot of experiences since then, and I'm not the same person I was when I was 18, but I don't really feel any older.  And for a long time, I didn't feel at all like an adult either.

A few things contribute to this effect.  One is my physical appearance.  When I was 23, I was mistaken for an unaccompanied minor at an airport.  At a recent multi-school event, an administrator from another school asked me what grade I'm in.  The chronic acne helps, I think.

I'm also in better shape now than I was at age 18.  I actually feel like I have more energy now, and there's generally a lot more laughter in my life since I started running three years ago.

Another big contributor is the fact that I'm an educated white woman.  There aren't a lot of avenues closed to me, and I have the sense that a lot of awesome things lie ahead of me.  If I weren't so privileged or felt like I had many fewer options, the years would weigh heavier on my shoulders.

So until recently, despite having a masters degree and a career I love, I still felt childlike.  I've only recently discovered the key to being an adult, and it's awesome.

You see, when I was young, I got the idea that school gave you the training and information you would need to be an adult and thrive in the adult world.   To be a child meant to receive information, and to be an adult meant to use that information, but I never really felt like I had all the information I needed.  I completely missed the point of education -- to learn how to learn.

I recently realized that I know how to learn anything I need to know.  I am completely confident that, as long as there aren't people purposely obfuscating the truth, I can figure out where to find information, learn skills, or get in touch with people who can help me do whatever I need to do.  It's an awesome feeling, and a pretty powerful one.  It's a feeling I want all my students to have, too.

If our students are going to have the confidence to learn anything they need to know, we need to make sure they learn and go to school in a place where they aren't shamed for not knowing things already, or for not figuring it out fast enough.  Whether your classroom door says history, math, or science, help them figure out how to get whatever it is they need to be successful.  What awesome adults they'll become.

a picture of me, sitting on the couch in sweatpants 
and playing video games with my cat.  
Not what I think of when I think of a grown-up person.  

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