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Luis Bahena

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Being a 23-year-old college student who also happens to work full time doesn’t necessarily scream “grown up” but neither does a 32-year-old college student with a part time job.

What’s my point? It’s that being a student while employed, whether part time or full time, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a responsible grown up yet. I’ve come to realize that it’s the little things that tend to bring you to that level.

Responsibility. It sucks, but oh how crucial it is when it comes to making decisions. And lately, I find myself making the right ones, but of course, at the cost of something else.

Like minutes ago, when I was debating whether I should get me a bag of Doritos or a bottle of water with my remaining dollar. Indulge in a pleasure or make the right decision? I went with the water, only because I know that as hungry as I am now, I do have food at home, but water I do not.

It’s the simple stuff such as these little options that I get every so often that make me realize what being a responsible person is all about. Forget the bills and going to work, any one person can tell you those are not so much as responsibilities as they are necessities, especially in this economy.

I’m talking about the simple choices that one makes on a daily basis. Like, not taking that big bag of chips or box of cookies because you know that bread, peanut butter and jelly will last you longer than junk food.

Or not going out on the weekend because you’re down to like about $65 for the rest of the week. And we all know a boy’s got to eat!

It’s choices such as these that make me realize how far I’ve come. It’s like there’s no one point where I can say that I grew up. It just sort of happened. No longer is going out as much of a priority as having my refrigerator stocked, my bills paid in a timely manner and my rent check sent out before the first of the month.

As the semester began, I found myself having to drop a class because the book was too expensive. Not only that, but we needed to start using it that first week. I wasn’t going to be able to purchase the book until the following Friday! By then I would’ve of already been two chapters behind.

In retrospect, dropping the class was a pretty good idea considering all the students crashing the course. Which is unbelievable. I’ve never seen as many as 10 crashers for one class.

This budget crisis has really hit City College hard. So many classes were cut, yet the enrollment is at it’s highest it’s ever been.

Luckily for me, I enrolled in my classes as early as I could to guarantee myself a seat. Of course, trying to go to school almost full time came at a cost.

I came to the point where I made the choice of giving up dating and cutting back on going out to really start focusing on school. Is that such a big thing to give up? I guess it depends on whom you ask.

Personally, I prefer to better myself and work towards something I can really be proud of. Hopefully it will give me financial security as well, but that’s kind of the goal in the end anyway.

Yes, I’ve cut back some things out of my life. I’ve set my priorities straight. No longer will I be going out all weekend long or searching for the next possible romantic conquest. But I’m ok with that.

Looking at the big picture, I much rather have a stable career, be debt free, have my car paid and be living in a good home, all by the time I’m 30.

Sure, I’m pretty sure I won’t follow this path the whole way through, but knowing is half the battle. As long as I know what I’m doing, where I’m going and what I want, the rest should fall into place.

No one has ever said that growing up is easy. But, it doesn’t have to be that hard either. It’s hard to remain optimistic when things are going to shit (i.e. the economy). But as long as we’re responsible about the choices we make, perhaps the road left to travel won’t be so hard.

I myself know I’ll be facing a few challenges along the way. Luckily for me, I’m pretty competitive. And I like a good challenge!

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