Emerging from TCK to TCK adults

Like the idea of home, support systems are ever-changing for TCKs. When I was away at University my parents moved back overseas. That was an interesting shift for me. University was the freedom and independence I needed. That being said, it made my support systems slightly complicated. Growing up, it was relatively easy to define my support system because my foundation was my family and my main support system was also my family. When I went away to university and my parents moved overseas I started getting creative with my support systems. My emergency contacts were friends, roommates or significant others. When I was sick or craved the homey nature of being at my parent’s house it was always too far away. My support system was 20-somethings with their own struggles and agendas. No discredit to my friends – that’s how being in your 20s should be, you are in University you are learning about the world, you have the freedom to make mistakes but you are sheltered enough that you can’t stray too far without someone noticing. But for me, access to my support system was different; my parents checking up on me was different, they didn’t see me, and rarely did we get to talk on the phone. This did two things for me. One, it made me extremely responsible when it came to organizing personal documents and having plans; which granted as a TCK we are usually already ahead of the game when it comes to preparing for life. The second thing this did is it made me more independent. These two things can in a sense go hand-in-hand. It made me independent because I learned how to do everything on my own. Even though I still had the systems normal University students had such as advisors. This independence is often the freedom that TCKs have always been used to. Freedom to take control, branch out and really explore. After all, these transitions are something that we are used to. This space in University where I was still being “monitored” by my school and didn’t have easy access to my parents, this gave way to a great transitional experience. I got my first apartment when I was 18, I learned very quickly the struggles of renting. Since 18, I have lived with 25+ different individuals. I learned which files to keep, how contracts worked, what it is like to deal with other 20-somethings who are not as independent and responsible as you. I learned how to fight for myself when my school or other adults would bully me. Grant it, my parents were an amazing support system, they advised me every step along the way, it was the little things; moving, parents weekend, being sick, looking for apartment, etc.. While everyone else had their parents help them move I had to find people who would help me move, no easy task when the move-out date for the entire city is the same day. But like I said before, this was a great way for me to transition from kid to adult. Saying all of this I long for home! I adore being in the “arms” of my family…whether it is asking them advice in the middle of the night or flying to their overseas home for 5 days here and there. I am independent and yet value my family more so than so many of my peers. My transition into adulthood looks different than so many yet I am sure it mirrors so many TCKs!