One common complaint I often hear about grad school/med school/law school is that you don’t get out of school until your late twenties, and that you don’t get to start ‘real life’ until your thirties. And thirty years seems like an awfully long time. But what makes professional life ‘real life?’ Why are the years that you’re in school any less real, any less valuable or meaningful than those that follow? Is it the lack of financial independence? Or do our PhD’s, MD’s, and law degrees make us feel like real people?
Age is weird. I stopped feeling ‘young’ when I started to surpass teen celebrities in age – Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, all the regulars on the Disney channel and Nickelodeon. That doesn’t mean I feel old, just older than them. I’m not even to the quarter mark in the current average life expectancy. Perhaps it’s an unfair comparison of myself to these young stars’ success – I say unfair because I’ve chosen an obviously very different career path, one where almost no one is ‘successful’ by age 15.