My middle name is Cristian (yes, no H.) When I was a senior in college, there was a prerequisite course for graduating. I don’t remember what it was called, but it was basically Life 101. The university I attended was mostly for rich kids. That didn’t include me. I was just super smart and got a good scholarship. And I worked two jobs so I could buy a bagel now and then. The school was over an hour from even a medium sized city and it was not a secret that wealthy people sent their kids there to be watched over and to see that they didn’t get into too much trouble. (As you might expect, that only sort of worked.) But what it did do was create a lot of kids who were sheltered from the real world. Hence the need for Life 101. The class was basically to prepare us for “adulting.”
The teacher I had for Life 101 was kinda quirky. He was nice enough, but right off the bat he decided my first name didn’t suit me. So he asked me (in front of the whole class) what my middle name was. I said “Cristian.” His response was “Huh. Yeah. That suits you way better than Rad. I’m going to call you Cris.”
So for the entire semester he called me Cris. I mean… how weird is that?
Anyway, one day I was walking through campus and I heard someone yelling from rather far away. I paid no attention to it. Two students came running up behind me and touched me on the shoulder and said “Cris, are you okay? We’ve been yelling your name for minutes! Do you feel alright?” I just said “sorry” and told them that I was lost in thought. I remember it was near the end of the school year and I barely knew the students and didn’t see the point in explaining that I’m not used to answering to Cris.
That being said, one of the pieces of advice that Mr. Name Changer gave us in the class was to take it easy as we fully entered adulthood. He told us to try to only make one major change at a time. “Don’t leave college and go get a job, move to a new city, and get married all at once.” he advised. “Adult life is harder than you think it is. Give yourself time to adjust to your life in small pieces, not in huge chunks.”
I sincerely do not remember much more about that class than that one bit of advice (and my unanticipated name change.) But something about the advice really stuck with me. I can even remember what the room was like and where I was sitting when he said it. And that the professor was sort of half sitting/leaning against the front of his desk as he spoke.
Of course, I think for most students in the class the whole point of college was to get a job. Which I did. But true to his counsel, I went back to Knoxville to begin adulting and a real, long term relationship was still years away for me.
Decades later, I still think that his advice was sound. I’ve taught classes where people would get to the end of the course and be so excited and freshly empowered that they would tell me that they were going to quit their jobs, get a divorce, and move to Hawaii. “Woh there, friend” I’d reply. “First of all, I think you need to think all of that through and secondly, maybe you should just do one of those at a time. Think of yourself as the Knight of Earth (Coins) and make a well thought out plan.”
I do take life in pieces, but I am almost always multi-tasking. If you were to call me on the phone, you would hear noises in the background because I’m either unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry, or reorganizing the pantry. It’s the only way I can get everything done. I also think it’s possible to do just one big thing at a time but to do that one big thing too fast – without having been adequately prepared.
So I’m curious, what is your best piece of advice for Life 101?
By the way, we’re still having our Summer Sale over at Rad School. Courses have been marked down to $11, $22, $33, and other really low prices. This is your chance to get some fun stuff to do during the dog days of summer! You can check it out here!
With you on the journey,
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