02 Dec Adulting with Beth Molloy
Adulting is a really exciting process, it comes with many beautiful memories and experiences that shape us. Alongside that beauty, however, is stress, lots of it, and sometimes the line between the things that stress us and excite us can become blurred. This is something that played on my mind when I decided to interview Beth Molloy. “I really have to leave at quarter past five”, says Beth as she scanned through her email, “I have a job interview at six.” “That’s okay, that’s adulting in a nutshell right there” I reply. “So what do you want to know?”
Tiredness, responsibility, and pressure. What do these means for you in terms of you becoming an adult?
Beth Molloy: Well tiredness, responsibility, and pressure are definitely words I can relate to you. I think that in a way I enjoy being tired and under pressure. I work best probably under pressure, but at the moment I’m waiting to see if I’ve got an interview and that is really difficult because there’s not a lot I can to do, and I like to always be doing something and acting and organising but now I just have to wait and I’m finding that quite frustrating because I usually am always active and feel like there’s something I can do to progress a situation but at the moment I just have to hope that what I have done is enough. I find it quite frustrating, being in a sort of limbo. Responsibility, I enjoy being in a role of responsibility, I think I’m quite good at it, maybe. I’ve not really been an adult for very long and I’m not doing a very good job at it I would say, (she laughs), but it’s interesting because I do know what I want to do and I think that’s a luxury that not many people have. It must be really confusing not knowing what you want to do because then you can’t aim towards it.
What do you enjoy about being an adult?
BM: Being able to buy drinks and not feel like you’re going to get asked for your ID. I think with this year as well, applying to universities, and this week I’ve got a job interview and I have my driving test this week and a lot of sort of stressful things happening in my personal life as well. It’s interesting cause I do feel like since I’ve become an adult my life has become a lot more hectic but I’m not sure if that is to do with me becoming an adult or everything is just crashing down on me at the same time.
In terms of financial responsibility, how has that changed for you with becoming a young adult?
BM: It’s interesting that, because I think Bootham is very enclosed and it doesn’t really talk about money matters. Once I went to this Masterclass that was at UCL and it was about Bio-Chemical Engineering and everything they talked about had to do with costs and I hadn’t even considered that anything sort of research had a cost because of Bootham. Like money, it’s not something that people talk about here, and like finance is not really something that is talked about in any of the science subjects, and I didn’t realize that if you didn’t get money for something you couldn’t do it. So I don’t think Bootham prepares you for the real world in that sense. I just remembered something actually, one thing that really bothers me about becoming an adult- when my parents argue with me and I say something and they say ‘oh that’s really naive’ but I don’t think that my opinions will change when I’m an adult, I don’t think being an adult means that you can’t have strong opinions about stuff, because that seems to be what a lot of people think and I think when you’re young you are obviously angrier and enthusiastic and you feel a lot happier and sadder about stuff, but I think that that doesn’t have to go away and it is kind of sad when adults don’t really believe in things anymore. I don’t want to be someone like that. I want to be someone who cares about stuff. Not just care about their friends and their family, but also cares about political issues and social issues, and I don’t think that’s something the young have a monopoly on, I think that you should be able to care deeply about things and be old and shouldn’t be regarded as naive. That’s something that really bothers me actually, and I think I will, I hopefully won’t forget what it’s like to be young and care about stuff, cause I think that’ll be quite depressing.
In terms of events that have taken place this year, thing like Brexit and Trump, are you scared about becoming an adult in this new emerging world?
BM: Am I scared? Yeah. I think especially for scientific discovery it’s terrible and the things Donald Trump said about women, he said ‘The thing about women is you have to treat them like shit’ and that just makes my blood boil. I just think how can you vote for that man. But, evidently people do agree with him because they did vote for him and that’s what’s scary. The whole thing with him talking about women and saying it’s just locker room banter, I think probably to an extent that is the kind of conversation that people do have behind closed doors in locker rooms when there is a big group of guys and I think obviously you can’t generalize it with guys, there are lots go guys who were really offended that he would even say that about women, but evidently there are people who are not put off my that enough to not vote for him. That’s worrying and scary.
It really is.
BM: It obviously shows though that people aren’t happy with the way things are and it obviously believing in democracy you have to accept that, it’s a reaction. It makes you wonder what kind of world it will be when we are grown up.
It really does. Seeing it’s almost 5:15, I should probably let you so that you aren’t late for the job interview.
BM: That’s true.
Thank you so much for your time. Good with the job interview, driver’s test, I’m sure you’ll get the Cambridge interview.
BM: Thank you. Hopefully, fingers crossed. If you want we can do this again, when I have more time.
I’ll take you up on that, have to see how this all goes.
FOLLOW UP INTERVIEW (A week after)
So what do you enjoy about becoming an adult?
BM: I think I enjoy more freedom, the ability to kind of take charge of what you are doing in your life, it’s definitely good. I think being able to have more authority in the decisions you make, your parents not be able to make them for you. They can say to you ‘that’s not a good idea’ but actually if you think it is that’s where it stops. This week that has been something that been quite relevant for me, if everybody thinks something is a bad idea it doesn’t matter because it’s about you and if you think it is what you need to do then that’s what’s important. I think when you’re 10 or even 15 you have to listen to your parents and the people around you, teachers and all, but you have more freedom to negotiate that when you’re a young adult. So if you’re sure you know what you want then you’re able to actually do that and take steps to achieve what it is that you want, without people being able to tell you what to do.
You said that especially within this past week that’s been prevalent for you, what’s happen in this past week for you?
BM: This past week has been really stressful cause I had a job interview and an interview at Sheffield University for Bio-Chemistry. I was also waiting to see if I had an interview with Cambridge as well, so a lot was going on. But I think that it’s important to do all these things and it is exciting in a way, because like with the job and with university it’s looking towards the future. It all came at once which was very stressful for me but I did get the job, and I got an offer from Sheffield University and an interview at Cambridge! So it was quite a positive week, the only thing I would say went wrong was I did fail my driving test for the second time. (She laughs) But maybe at the moment that’s not the most important thing in my life. So, it was successful and it’s nice to know that all the handwork I put in did pay off with the offer and with the interview. Even with getting the job interview, though it’s not as scary and there’s definitely bigger things to worry about it’s still intimidating to go and speak to someone you don’t know about what credentials you have, to make yourself sound like somebody they would like to have work for them.
In that sense, I guess you could say that learning to sell yourself is something that comes with becoming a young adult?
BM: Yeah, it does. It’s tricky that, I had a mock interview and I am going to have more and it it’s difficult to not come across as insincere and false, everyone says be yourself and relax but that’s really difficult because you want people to see you for the best that you can be, but also to believe what you’re saying. So it’s really hard to strike that balance, especially when it’s something that you really want, you know that you’re enthusiastic about. I think that’s difficult, and it’s something you don’t ever have to do as a child, but you always have to do as an adult.
So in terms of the tiredness, the responsibility, and the pressure, I guess you could you say that in the past week they all came in together for you.
BM: Oh yeah, definitely. Not knowing that I had an interview made me really struggle. It was a big struggle for me because usually there’s something I can do to make myself feel less stressed so I think with the pressure and the responsibility, and the tiredness, those are 3 things that really played a big part in my week last week. Being tired is not necessarily not enjoyable, I do quite like being tired and having a lot to do and feeling stressed to an extent, I think it’s exciting more than anything, and this week as well, something that I realised when I had my mock interview and I started talking about Bio-Chemistry and what I wanted to do is that I really do like it and I really do want to do it, like I’m so grateful to have that opportunity to get offers and to study it. As soon as I started talking about that with the woman I felt like well it’s all worth it because this is actually a subject that I really like. But it’s easy to forget that kind of thing, like when you have all the stress and obviously with the Cambridge application, there’s so much you have to do to apply and even before that you have to do stuff outside of your subject and school, but it’s easy to do that if its something you enjoy and it’s easy to forget that you enjoy it, but now that I have an interview and I’ve started researching the topics again, going over my work, it’s so much more enjoyable because it’s me being able to explore something that I find genuinely really interesting, and if being tired and stressed is a byproduct of that then it’s definitely worth it I would say.
So for you then, when it comes to adulting you like to take things as they come, focus on each thing as it comes?
BM: Well I used to get really stressed about the things that would happen weeks and months in the future, but then it got to the point where I had so much stress and so much to think about that I just wouldn’t cope if I actually did think about stuff that far in the future, so at the moment my timespan that I allow myself think about is up until Christmas, like the last day of term. So I’ve got to see out the cabaret, my interview and they’re the two things I’m thinking about the most at the moment. At the beginning of this term I had loads of stuff to do, I had my EPQ( Extended Project Qualification) , my report to finish for my project and all my lessons and things like that and so I just kind of thought what am I going to do today and I did it, and I think if you just sit down and do it and don’t let the stress overwhelm you, it’s much much easier to get things done and you do feel less stressed in the end. So I would say take everything as it comes, although it’s weird me saying that because I can’t imagine myself saying that even last year, I think to a point you can’t think too far ahead because you’ll just be overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have to do and the amount of uncertainty about the future, especially now because you don’t know where you’re going to go to university, what degree you’re going to do, don’t know what you’re going to be, are you going to have a family, are you going to have a nice life, and so you just need to kind of think when I get home what am I going to have for supper (she laughs), and it helps you to stay a bit more grounded and get stuff done. I think it’s better for one’s mental health as well to just think about the tasks you have in front of you and not too much about the grand scheme of things.
In terms of becoming a young adult how do you think it affects your relationship with your friends?
BM: I think Bootham is a really brilliant place and I have so many really supportive friends in Bootham and out of Bootham, in my year, in other years and even the children who are in Year 7 & 8, life if they are always trying to help me in council, even if all they can do is re-arrange the chairs or do the tea and coffee, it’s so nice that everybody is willing to help take some of the burdens off your shoulders and do a bit as well. I think with my group of friends everybody is feeling equally as stressed, some people have more to do than others, but everybody is in it together and I think people recognize that everybody is stressed, and it’s nice to have that kind of support, there’s always somebody you can talk to. I really am grateful for my friends. Even the teachers are helpful, a lot of them are really approachable and you can talk to them if you are stressed and they’ll understand. I think that if you didn’t have a secure group of friends it’ll be so much harder growing up especially at this stage when you know you’re probably going to leave all your friends behind when you go to university. So it’s really important to have strong, supportive friends as well, and to support them. I’m really lucky to have that. In my year everyone is quite close to each other, I don’t think there’s anyone I couldn’t have a good rant to on a Monday morning and I think that’s really nice. Even people just knowing you’re first and last name and acknowledging you’re there is quite comforting, asking ‘have you had a nice weekend’ and you can complain about how much you had to do and it’s nice.
What advice do you think you give younger you about becoming an adult?
BM: I would say that you don’t have to hide how weird you are. You don’t have to hide the things that you think are weird about you. The things that are weird about you now are the what will the best things about you in the future. The reason people might not want to speak to you now is the reason you’re going to have friends in the future. The things that when you’re in primary school or in Year 7-9 you think what you’re feeling is really weird, you feel really uncomfortable, maybe because you’re outspoken and confident people think that you are really obnoxious, but as you grow up don’t stop having those traits, don’t become subdued, and boring, just because not everyone might like it, because that’s the reason you’ll be interesting as an adult. Adults don’t fit into the cliche sporty child or academic child, you don’t have that. When you get into the world of work you’re all going to be people and you all have different interests and that’s what’s going to make you interesting to other people. So I would say that to myself. Just have the confidence to be yourself, as cliched as that sounds, because that’s what people are going to like about you when you become an adult. That’s why you’re going to have a nice time.
Thank you, Beth.
BM: No problem.