I was ruthless when it came to making money as a kid. My brother and I used to stroll a little red wagon full of our “drawings” around the neighborhood, hoping to use our 5-year old charm to sell them for $1 a piece. A few years later, we opened up a snow cone stand out of our garage. We even had little games that kids in the neighborhood could play in hopes of winning a free snow cone. One game cost 10 cents to play and involved throwing stones onto a tiny crack in the sidewalk. No one ever won. More money for us. Ruthless…

Flash forward a few years, and that ruthless kid is in college. Sadly, his concept of finances hasn’t caught up to his “adult” status. Why aren’t things as simple as they used to be, like $1 for everything, and the freedom to earn money off of other people playing games?

A W-2 or W-9 or something like that arrived in the mail yesterday, requesting that I fill out all the little boxes with questions that completely went over my head. Do I have to do taxes? I thought students didn’t have to pay taxes. Also, isn’t there some rule about not having to pay taxes if you don’t make a certain amount of money? This form doesn’t apply to me, right? Can I just throw it away?

I open my computer and frantically begin typing, “how to be an adult and pay taxes.” Google couldn’t even simplify it for me. But if Google fails, there’s always mom. She was able to somewhat translate the German-looking document into something I could understand over the phone. I filled out a bunch of 1’s and 0’s, signed my name 87 times and then totally forgot what everything even meant.

In college, I am living in a limbo somewhere between child and adult. While I should be informed about how FASFA works, what a W-9 even is and how to responsibly save money, there is something about not understanding it all that makes me feel less like an adult. That time to enter the workforce and become completely independent over my finances will ultimately come, but until my last semester, I want to enjoy living in the limbo for as long as I can.

My advice: be a kid, laugh at what you don’t understand and maybe take a personal finances class your very last semester when the limbo begins to lean heavily into the adult realm.

I just hope the professor for my finances class is willing to explain everything to us college students as if we were all five-years old again.