A couple of weeks ago, I applied for graduation from college.
I was so excited to take that step toward my future, and as I walked toward the registrar’s office, I reflected on my four years and how much I'd grown through all of it.
I had studied abroad, worked on projects with professors, led a volunteer trip and made a ton of friends.
I started off as a nervous 18-year-old, and I'm going to graduate as a confident and experienced 22-year-old.
In that moment I truly felt like an adult. But, then it happened:
“Is this for college graduation? Wow, sweetie, you look like you should be coming in from high school.”
I’m sure the lady who served me meant well. I’m sure she thought pointing out that I look young as a compliment. But, in that moment, I started to worry a little bit.
Here I was, graduating from college, and there was someone who thought I looked like I should just be entering it?
Will there be others who think the same thing? Will I be graduating into a world where I won’t be taken seriously just because I have a baby face?
I’ve always known I look a little younger than my actual age. When I first meet people, they tend to assume I’m still in my teenage years.
I have what you would call a “baby face.”
Now, I know having a baby face is technically a blessing, and many people have told me I have blessed genetics. I also know that when I’m older I’ll be able to take advantage of my younger-looking visage. But, right now is not that time.
I’m in my early 20s, and having a baby face is not a blessing; it's a curse. Here's why:
Meeting new people is tiring.
If I had a quarter for every time someone looked shocked to find out I’m in my 20s, I would be richer than Bill Gates.
When you have a baby face, people automatically assume you’re a teenager. When you tell them you’re not, they look shocked.
You can also see the moment in their heads when they’re trying to figure out if you’re lying to them.
Eventually, they smile and apologize for their mistake, which is fine, but it doesn’t change the fact you’ll have to go through the exact same thing when you meet the next person.
You’re sometimes considered "one of the kids."
I’m a secondary education major, and to get experience in the field, I substitute teach.
It’s always an interesting experience when someone sticks their head in the classroom, sees you and then asks where the sub is.
When a baby-faced person works with teenagers, it is almost a guarantee he or she will be lumped in with the group.
When this happens, it stinks because you really are the adult (You swear!), and you just want to be seen and respected as one.
You’re never the "hot one," you’re always the "cute one."
Let’s be honest: We have all looked in the mirror and thought, “Yeah, I look hot.” And when you get out into the world and all you hear is, “Wow, you look cute,” it’s kind of an ego deflator.
"Cute" is a term used for your little siblings or the 6-year-old kids next door.
As a grown person, you don’t always want to look cute. Sometimes, you want someone to tell you how super-mega-foxy-awesome-hot you look.
You always have to have your ID on hand.
For movies, alcoholic beverages, clubs, anything, you know you’re going to get carded.
There’s no way you will pass for older, and you know most people will just assume you’re too young to do whatever it is you want to do.
Getting that ID out of your wallet is always one of the first things you do.
Of course, having a baby face isn’t all bad.
It’s always nice to know that when you go to a boy band concert, no one will look at you as though you’re too old to be there.