There are a lot of rituals of transition that we experience through our lives, and while some may be more influential than others, there are some that I think are the more important to those living in the United States. Puberty, getting a driver’s license, graduating from high school, getting into college/a technical program, turning 21, graduating college/entering the work force getting married, buying a house, having kids, and retiring are the ones that strike me as most important. A lot of these transitions happen early in our lives, mostly by the time we turn 30 (give or take, depending on the person and their lifestyle) and then we just float along until retirement or having grandkids. I think most of them are celebrated generally well, besides puberty. Puberty is often pushed under the rug and only talked about at certain times with certain people, when it really should be celebrated just as prominently as the others!
In hindsight, I feel like I’ve gone through quite a few rituals of transition myself but didn’t think much of them in the moment or didn’t get too excited. When I was younger and going through puberty I don’t ever remember being embarrassed by it. I’ve always been very lucky in my life to have a lot of strong female presences and I’d probably give them the credit for my comfortability. I did start to develop earlier than most girls I went to school with, but I have always been taught to embrace my body and love every part of it! Looking back, I think I had a better experience than most. Another ritual of transition influenced me very strongly was getting my driver’s license when I turned 16. I know this one isn’t necessarily a “ritual”, but it definitely has transitional impacts. I remember the feeling of freedom and independence when I was able to transport myself to and from places without depending on a parent. This was relieving more than anything for me, because through most of my life I have been pretty independent. Getting a driver’s license is a start to independence for a lot of teens in this way. The ritual of transitioning from college student to college graduate and taking the steps to get married, buy a house, and have kids is where I think I will have the most excitement and enthusiasm, even though it’s intimidating right now. I know that in the big picture they are all good in nature and will be fun, but it kind of stresses me out to know that sooner, rather than later, I’m going to have to take another very big leap in life and just adjust through the process.
Up to this point in my college experience I have felt some sense of belonging-liminality-belonging, but not entirely. My first year at MSU I lived in the dorms, still went home at least once a month, and had few responsibilities other than school and working maybe once a week. I was very much still in the end stages of the first belonging and beginning of liminality because I was trying to transition and find where I fit here at a university while still depending on my mom for things. Now, going into my 4th year, I am very much leaning toward the end of the second belonging and think I kind of missed sitting in the liminality stage for too long. I am 100% responsible for all of my bills, rent, food, gas, and “fun” money. I work part-time while going to school full-time, and I have continuously become more and more independent than I was before. I think I am starting to really blend into the adult world and understand what it means to be more of an individual, rather than a reliant college student. Some implicit messages that I have seen while in college about how a student should behave are that women shouldn’t be “too promiscuous” or party too much, because they’ll get a label of being easy or other disrespectful slurs, women who don’t party are “stuck up” or “boring”, and that men should always display their top dominance and masculinity. Some explicit messages that I have seen while in college about how a student should behave are that women should always act with a defensive attitude to ward off male predators, women who aren’t immediately friendly or talkative are “rude”, “mean”, or “smug”, and that women and men, both, should be spending every waking second applying themselves to their education, internships, jobs, and while staying socially, financially, emotionally, and physically fit.