I don’t consider myself to be “grown.” I still get financial help from my parents, I’m still a college undergrad who doesn’t know exactly what I want to do in life, and I’m still working a retail job.
But I’ve lived on my own since I was 18 and moved across the country from California to New York, so I’ve had to figure some shit out on my own. I didn’t have any other choice.
I can do my taxes, I know a little about what’s going on in the world, and I guess I’m good at making things work. You could say I’m pretty much just faking it ‘til I make it.
I don’t know how or why this makes me the life guru in all of my friend groups. I’m never the oldest, I’m not a doctor, I’m not in the least bit the most sex-perienced, and I’ve never been in a serious relationship – yet whenever my friends need to make significant life choices, I am always the first person they come to.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s flattering to me that people actually trust me enough to come to me for things like this. I love giving advice and teaching people what our public school system education should have, but didn’t.
It’s just that, honestly, I am not qualified.
I am a 21-year old girl living off of snacks and Seamless in a studio basement in Brooklyn… WHY ARE YOUR LIFE DECISIONS IN MY HANDS?!
I’ve helped people sign up for medical insurance, do paperwork for their job applications, I even set up accountancy workshops in a Panera on 36th St. to help people do their own taxes. All of this just in the last year.
I’m happy to help my friends because these are things that everybody should know. I actually wish I had someone to help me step-by-step instead of having to Google everything as it comes. It actually upsets me that we aren’t prepared to know how to do all of this as soon as we graduate from high school. I mean, how was I supposed to go from doing trigonometry and learning earth science to knowing what a 1040 is and needing it to be filed before April 18?
Then, there are my friends that come to me for sex and relationship advice. From a 21-year old girl who has never had a boyfriend and lost her virginity at 20-years old… you’re better off reading an article from Cosmo. I am not your girl.
It gets even worse when they come to me with medical issues. You have no idea how many symptoms I’ve checked and Google Images I’ve looked through for other people because they didn’t use protection during sex or they found something weird on their body.
I do care enough for them to help and assure them that they do not have lip cancer, but I’m not a medical professional. Just because I am the only one in my circle with a gynecologist, it does not make me yours by association. I’ve helped so many girls with pregnancy and/or STD scares that I started doing research because I was thinking about actually becoming a gynecologist. (But 12 years of school for it? No, thank you.)
I – and I suppose my friends, as well – consider myself a pretty cautious and grounded person, so I can see why people do come to me for advice. And if I care about you, I will do my best to help (otherwise, I will have no patience at all). I guess this is why I love sharing my experiences with other people – because I know that writing about what I’ve gone through might help someone else.
But, on the other hand, there are also doctors, magazines and Google that could probably answer your questions much more effectively.