In just a few weeks, I will be back in school (again) at Roosevelt University in Chicago. I am enrolled in their Masters of Business Administration program, aiming to graduate in about two years. I will likely live at my parents’ house for most of that time frame, and I will get by on low pay from two low-wage, part-time jobs, as well as whatever money I can make from these haphazard writings I put together.
In the past, all of that would have scared me. The idea of being amongst those millions of Millennials who are living with their parents used to abhor me. The lack of stimulation that sometimes comes with “do-nothing” minimum wage jobs would have freaked me out. In fact, in early 2013, I left American University’s Masters of Political Science program for these reasons.
And here I am, at the start of 2015, jumping back into school yet again, managing a hockey rink and a study center, living with my parents, and fully confident that I will get through this masters program.
How do I know that? Well, in addition to working full-time at a major non-profit for a year, attending American (albeit briefly), and writing as much as I possibly could, the two years since I finished my undergraduate degree has been a period of uncommon introspection.
To put it simply, I worked on myself. Through much effort, I grew uncommonly close with my mom and my sister. I found what talents I have. More importantly, I found out what talents I have that I enjoy.
I’ve stayed true to myself and my principles. I dabbled in a lot of talents I knew I had but never made time for: painting and distance running even came into play.
I have been blessed to experience many beautiful moments recently: running through cornfields in rural Wisconsin as part of the Ragnar Relay series, watching the sunrise on Election Day 2012, participating in my sister’s wedding just this past weekend.
And I’ve made mistakes, too. I owed a fair amount of money to a university from which I never received one credit. I broke a lease on an apartment, and I watched my possessions float around during a flood in another one.
But this is what your 20’s is about. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes– the best moments in my life have come directly as a result of what other people would call “mistakes.” I have plenty of friends who made diligent decisions with their college degrees, with their living situations, with every aspects of their lives. They’ll be set up financially forever, and that’s good for them.
But for those of you who are like me, those of you who learn not by the book but by getting your hands on your goals, by learning while doing, a million “mistakes” will befall you. And that’s what should happen.
Because, while we may be returning to school in droves to earn degrees in the classroom, for most of us Millennials, the world was, is, and always will be our classroom, and we will never cease being students.