I'm twenty. People my age—at least the ones around me—love joking about how supposedly we're adults, but we're more than a little lost and swept up uncertainty and quite honestly, watching 90s TV shows online.
I don't think of myself as immature, nor as incompetent. But you bet I share those feelings. I forgot to wear shoes to school one day in September. My housemates and I play Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64 like nothing is more important. When I was on exchange in France my visa expired and I floundered uncertainly for months. Illegally.
In brief, sometimes I'm not the calm, collected young adult that you would expect. But sometimes I am, and I find that often those times are when I'm working with Ontario Youth Parliament.
That's not to say that I'm never gregarious and silly at OYP. But in terms of organizing carpools, contacting external organizations, leading committees, and so on; all that requires some element of maturity, right. Leadership, even. It's like OYP is giving me a chance to practice the skills that you just kind of take for granted in adults until you're supposedly an adult yourself and realize that those skills come from somewhere. And it matters because I'm working with 16-year-old Cabinet ministers, who also will have a chance to build those skills, and in fact are already doing so.
Honestly, what I'm saying is nothing new. Yes, OYP is good for your résumé, la di dah. But having a place where I feel competent and responsible—and can use those feelings to have a positive impact on younger people who are at the same place I was at five years ago, that's really cool. And that's part of the reason I'm still here, about to graduate from university and somehow still sleeping on church basement floors at Cabinet meetings.
So I'll see you at parliament! Maybe bring me an extra pair of shoes, in case I forget.
Written by Jonathon Reed, Social Media Minister
Photo by Kevin Chung with Teach For Canada