The End of Kid-Adulthood: a Senior Reflection

By JULIA KLEE, Copy Editor 

The experience I received at the University of Michigan-Dearborn was, by no means, how I imagined my college experience when I was growing up. Hollywood imagines these insane portrayals of college life, making it hard not to believe that a true college experience should be some combination of the storylines behind movies like American Pie and Legally Blonde. As a graduating senior, my experiences in college have not been too far from something you could turn into either a Lifetime movie or comedy film, depending on the perspective you choose. The special thing about the experiences students at UM-Dearborn collect, is that they all happen in ‘real’ environments; not in a strange, middle-of-nowhere, college student-filled bubble of a town.

Going to a commuter campus means that this strange invisible barrier between college life, your professional life, and your family does not exist. You can’t compartmentalize. At a commuter school, you live and work in communities with people who aren’t in college, aren’t from your background and aren’t your age- something that students at other universities don’t always experience.       

I feel like I’ve lived multiple lives since starting here as a freshman. I volunteered at a horse barn where the handicapped can horseback ride, worked at H&M at the mall, at Tim Hortons, as a baseball umpire, wedding coordinator, fashion show director, racing team manager, in transmission sales at BorgWarner, corporate communications at ZF, infotainment & connectivity systems sales at Continental Automotive, retail lubricant sales at Shell Oil Company, technical literature at Volkswagen, and of course, as copy editor at the Michigan Journal. I lost all three of the grandparents I grew up spending evenings and vacations with. I’ve been all over the place, but I was always busy doing something. I don’t know what compelled me to pack so much into four years, but I’m glad I have managed to get through travelling in so many circles.

In a couple of weeks, I will graduate from UM-Dearborn’s Honors College with my B.A. in Communications and Business Studies, and a minor in German. After wrapping up my current internship with Volkswagen, I will move to New Jersey to take part in a rotational graduate sales development program with BP.  I plan on going to school for my MBA within the next five years, once I have an idea of where I’ll be living, more permanently.

I am blessed to have parents who have been life-long educators. They have always challenged myself and my siblings to learn a little bit about every subject, every type of music, every type of rock and mineral (perks of having a dad who studied geology), and every language (perks of having a mom who speaks Arabic). They always challenge us to learn continuously. We are all interested in completely different things and possess different skill sets, but we are probably closer with each other than our closest friends.

I’ve learned that best friends can come in all ages. A boy I babysit has asked me for years, “If you’re in college, does that mean you’re an adult?” Maybe I was in denial, but I’ve always told him, “. . . well, kind of.” He then labelled me as a ‘kid-adult.’ However, a few weeks ago he told me that he thinks I’m “probably basically an adult now, because when you’re done with college, that means you’re an adult.” Thankfully, after all the craziness of these past four years, that idea is exciting. He has also asked me if I was going to party after my last day of school, which I had to tell him, “of course.” Graduation is a wonderful reason to celebrate.