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How to find your way in the brand-new world of adulthood

By: emily becker

For so many, graduation marks the start of real adulthood. Whether you’re moving out for college, moving to a new city, or starting a new job, circumstances are about to change and life will be a whole lot different without your high school BFF by your side.
 
Adulthood brings fundamental challenges that shape us into more independent, responsible, adaptive people. While these challenges may seem daunting, they are vital to who we become and grow us exponentially. So how do we embrace these challenges practically?

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

“The real world” is different from high school. College classes may be more challenging. You will have new classmates, and if you’re moving to a new city, your family may not be nearby. 
 
Don’t let these challenges keep you from embracing the season you’re in or trying new things. So many times in the Bible, a preoccupation with the past stopped God’s people from seeing His provision in the present. Israel was dreaming of Egypt as God was raining down bread from heaven (Numbers 12). Religious leaders fought to keep the law intact while the Messiah walked among them (Mark 12). 
 
God tells His people, “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19, MSG). 
 
God is doing something new in you, too. So step out of your comfort zone. Join a club or sport you’ve never tried. Invite a new friend out to lunch with you. Embrace the world around you. It’ll take time to adjust, but it’ll be worth the work you put into taking on this new adventure.

Ask Questions 

It’s OK to not have all the answers. No one does. Being in a new place or a new season gives us opportunity to ask those around us what, and how, and why. 
 
Proverbs tells us to seek advice from lots of people (Proverbs 15:22 and Proverbs 11:14). The idea is that there’s wisdom in seeking advice instead of relying on our own knowledge or gut feeling. The more points of view and experiences you can draw on, the better. 
 
Ask your employer how you can improve or strengthen a skill. Ask your professor which classes you should be taking. Ask your dorm leader the best way to build community. Most likely, you’re probably asking a question they once asked. 
 
The people around you who have been in your shoes want to guide you. Take this as an opportunity to learn, ask for help, and even ask them to be your mentors. You don’t have to figure it out on your own. 
 
Letting others into our lives sharpens us mentally and spiritually. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). So be sharpened. And remember, there’s a lot you can teach others, too!

Be Present. Get Involved.

Making friends might never be as easy as it was in elementary through high school. You grew up with your classmates and saw them every day for years. You walked to their houses and had dinner with their families. You rode the bus together until you were old enough to drive together. You may never get friends handed to you in the same capacity again.
 
Community may not come as easily, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important. God exists in community, and the early church was marked by its strong community. Acts 2:46 says, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts...” 
 
You don’t have to enter adulthood alone. Your peers are in the same position as you. They get it. If you’re feeling scared or intimidated, odds are they are, too. Instead of hiding behind your phone or laptop, reach out to those around you. 
 
Living in a dorm is a great way to get to know people. Grab dinner with the guys or girls on your hall, or make a study date with your roommates. You may have different backgrounds, but that’s not a bad thing. We can learn more from people who are not like us. 
 
Beyond your roommates, classmates, and coworkers, find a church to get involved in. Some of the greatest friendships are formed in small groups led by spiritual leaders who want to invest in you. If you continue to be active in your faith, it’ll be easier to come along others on your journey to adulthood. 
 
Becoming an adult may be hard, but it’s inevitable. The way you accept it is what shapes you the most, and if you embrace it with arms wide open, you’ll have fun and you’ll flourish.
 

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