Over the last few years, I have often joked that if adulthood were a video game, I was on level one and playing on easy mode. I lived with my family throughout college, so I didn’t have to worry about paying rent, learn how to resolve conflicts with a roommate, or go through many of the other growing pains associated with leaving home. I’ve spent my whole life in my comfort zone with friends whose backgrounds and experiences are very much like mine. After graduating, I knew I still had a lot of growing up to do. So, I left for a city I’d never visited to live with eight people I’d never met.
There was a path to independence back in the midwest that wouldn’t have been such a shock to my system. I was interning for a company that likely would have hired me on as a full-time employee. I could have saved up, moved into my own apartment, and weaned myself off my parents’ support. But in my gut, I knew that path lead to complacency.
I wanted to join Life Together because I often felt overwhelmed by all that’s going wrong in the world. I didn’t want to disengage because I couldn’t solve everything. I wrote in my application that I needed to feel like I was doing some sort of measurable good. When I pictured staying in St. Louis, I saw myself putting that off, telling myself I’d get involved after I was settled in my new job, after I moved, and so on. Meanwhile, I’d slip back into my comfort zone and that spark in me might burn out.
When I pictured a year in Boston, however, I saw myself utilizing my communication skills at a nonprofit that provides underserved neighborhoods with vital health services. I saw myself building relationships with other fellows, learning how to become a better ally to the LGTBQ+ community and people of color, and probably being challenged in ways I couldn’t imagine. I’ve never been great at leaning into discomfort, so I needed to take the leap before I lost my nerve. I knew it meant the difference between growing and remaining stagnant.
Allison Lewis was raised in Granite City, Illinois, a small town 20 minutes outside of St. Louis. She’s a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville who likes to spend her free time reading, going to concerts, and walking to the nearest coffee shop.