Adulthood Pending Podcast: What adulthood means for three Scripps alumni

Grocery shopping. Paying bills. Finding a job. Buying a house. For many, adulthood is the time when childhood dreams are supposed to materialize. But as three recent Scripps College alumni have found, growing into an adult is nowhere near as simple as ticking off boxes on a checklist. 

“We felt like a lot of the ideas around adulting were very much based on the aesthetic, but it didn’t necessarily highlight a few of the hardships that you actually go through,” Kimi Kaneshina SC ’20 said. Kaneshina has been busying herself with internships in marketing since graduating as she searches for a full-time job.

Inspired by their struggles to both define and navigate adulthood, Annalise Ko SC ’19 and Brittanee Okamura SC ’19 joined Kaneshina earlier this year to create a public platform for conversations on all things adulting. The Adulthood Pending Podcast is the brainchild of their efforts, a resource for “college students, recent graduates, or anyone else who is also figuring out that being an adult isn’t as simple as it’s made out to be,” according to their website. 

“We’ve decided to define adulthood as ‘the time in your life filled with the most change, growth and ambiguity.'” —Annalise Ko SC ’19

With Ko based in Boston, Massachusetts, and Okamura and Kaneshina working in Southern California, the podcast is a collaborative process; Kaneshina handles social media while Okamura produces the video and Ko the audio. The three meet virtually twice a week to discuss topics in preparation for future episodes, most recently launching their first episode last Monday on various platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and YouTube.

“The internet defines adulthood as ‘the period in your life where you’re fully grown or mature, both physically and intellectually,'” Ko said in the first episode. “But we’ve decided to define adulthood as ‘the time in your life filled with the most change, growth and ambiguity.'”

In hosting the Adulthood Pending Podcast, Ko, Kaneshina and Okamura aim to share their own narratives of “change, growth and ambiguity” throughout adulthood. As Asian American women, the hosts are making it a priority to center conversations around how their experiences and perspectives are shaped by unique factors of identity, including class, gender and race.

The content of the podcast is widely informed by the hosts’ personal narratives; Ko’s own experience working as a woman in tech in an unfamiliar city and community has already shown how nuanced dynamics of identity come into play as one enters the workforce. After attending an international school in Shanghai for 18 years, Ko is now a full-time software engineer in Boston. 

“I found a lot of friends in Boston who did go to international schools, but it can be kind of hard to figure out who I am at the same time,” Ko said. “I’m in this workplace where I have a lot of white friends, and then I have my friends outside who are a lot of Asians, East Asians specifically.”

Though Okamura remained in Southern California upon graduating, the lack of a sense of community has pushed her to reevaluate how she can remain grounded in the central aspects of her identity she was able to cultivate within a college environment. Podcast listeners can expect the hosts to be valuable resources as they reflect on the transitions through different homes in college and beyond.

“It’s been really hard to foster that community and environment where I think my Asian American identity is integrated in things like working,” Okamura said. “So I think it’s been also just a journey to think about how our identity takes place outside of college where maybe those values aren’t as emphasized.”

Outside of issues of identity, the newfound independence that came with graduating also positioned building financial wealth as a pillar of successful adulthood — and yet, financial literacy was one area all three hosts felt ill-prepared to confront coming straight out of college. 

“I feel like a lot of the opportunities in Claremont were taking upper-div econ classes to get that experience, and I just wish I had more resources about how to handle money,” Ko said. 

The Laspa Center at Scripps began running the Linda Davis Taylor Financial Literacy Program in March 2018, but Kaneshina believes the Claremont Colleges can consider providing additional resources to aid post-grads, especially women, in their journeys toward adulthood.

“They could have a postgrad series,” Kaneshina said, “one of them being how to create a network of people — or ‘here’s people that are already in that area for you’ — and then another being ‘here’s how you should manage paying off your student loans, and why it is important to do so or not.” 

Above all, the hosts stressed the importance of normalizing conversations that revolve around adulthood early on. During her time at the Claremont Colleges, Okamura realized that social pressure is a significant factor that adds to the stigma around being an adult, and admitting you’re struggling within a community of high-achieving students can feel even more intimidating.

“The culture has created this facade where I think everyone else is pretty much continuing everything that they’ve done in college in terms of kind of just knowing what they’re doing with their lives,” Okamura said. 

The hosts’ own experiences provide enough evidence that adulthood is a difficulty everyone faces in different ways. But to further expand opportunities for dialogue, Adulthood Pending hopes to highlight the unique experiences of other individuals by inviting guests with different backgrounds and perspectives on adulting to speak in future episodes.

“We know there’s so many different paths out there: people who didn’t go to college, or people who had to work part-time while going to college, so we want to bring on different people with different backgrounds,” Ko said. 

“If someone’s asking you how you are, there’s nothing wrong with just saying how you’re feeling.” —Brittanee Okamura SC ’19

If there’s one takeaway from these three inspiring women’s great undertakings, it’s to not be afraid to start the conversation surrounding tough life topics like adulting. The podcast’s own name says it best: adulthood is pending, but conversation doesn’t need to be.

“If someone’s asking you how you are, there’s nothing wrong with just saying how you’re feeling,” Okamura said. 

“In fact, I feel like it’s something most people don’t do, and it’s something that should be more common.”

Visit adulthoodpending.com or @adulthoodpendingpodcast on Instagram to learn more about the podcast and its hosts, listen to an episode of Adulthood Pending or simply stay updated about the podcast’s future endeavors.

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