By Julia Shebek
My name is Julia Camille Shebek, and this is a problem.
Julia Camille Shebek is a really fantastic name. My parents nailed it. The problem is, I haven’t exactly hit the target they gave me with that name—that target being maturity.
Just take a moment to imagine someone named Julia Camille Shebek. You may be imagining a brilliant scientist, or a queen, or someone who brings her three perfect children to her awards ceremonies to meet her good friend Meryl Streep. Now imagine a raccoon in a potato sack. I’m somewhere in between.
I can write a kickass essay on the role of gender-bending in Shakespeare’s comedies, but book smarts are not the same thing as practical street smarts. The truth is, street smarts matter more, because they’re visible to everyone all the time. Sure, an employer might like my GPA, but if I come in for a 10 a.m. job interview two minutes late with spaghetti stains on my dress, I’m not going to get the job.
I go to Cornell, but I also drink milkshakes for dinner. Adults are too responsible to make those choices. The only people who eat milkshakes for dinner are teenagers whose parents left them home alone for a night and cartoon characters with names like Slop or Ducky Crag.
In many ways, I’m basically a child, still lazy and completely unmotivated to take care of things like a normal adult would, filling real tasks with temporary solutions. For example, earlier this week, a terrifying demon-bug showed up in my room, and after whacking it with a shoe, I decided I was too busy to clean up its tiny lifeless corpse. Instead, I used the shoe to point out to myself where the dead bug was. That way, I could find it later when I was more inclined to be productive and clean its many legs off of my floor.
What I’m doing now is filler, a replacement for what I should be doing.
When I drink a milkshake for dinner, it’s a substitute for an actual meal. When I artfully arrange my shoe, it’s a replacement for real cleaning. All of my procrastination and laziness is nothing more than stalling before the inevitable day when I finally live up to my name and come up with the solution to an easily fixable problem.
At 19, you’re supposed to be able to fend for yourself, and I cannot. I expected college to be a big transformative journey where, by graduation, I would know how to pay taxes and have a long-term relationship. Yet here I stand.
But at the moment when I realize that Cheeto casserole and milkshakes are not acceptable substitutes for dinner, everything will change. As soon as I realize that my life would be much better if I stop using temporary solutions, Child Me will be swallowed up by the sheer glorious power of my maturity. At long last, Adult Me—the real Julia Camille Shebek—will finally prevail.