The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

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The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

Dear students, are we Adults?

Julia Jensen
Julia Jensen | Art Director

A part of growing up is learning when to take responsibility and become independent. It is just what it means to be an adult. However, there are many back-and-forth debates on when that time is. When is it that we become adults? 

Many people will say we are adults as soon as we turn 18 and graduate high school and enter into the “real world.” Others may disagree and say that once you have a full-time job, you are an adult. Many more would disagree, saying that it is once you have settled down in a nice house with a partner and a few kids that you are truly an adult. There are so many different ideas of what adulthood looks like, so how are we supposed to know which one is right? When do we know when we have truly entered adulthood?

“These shifts have left many psychologists, most notably Jeffrey Jensen Arnett [a psychology professor at Clark University], to suggest that 18-29 years of age is more than a staging ground for the transition to adulthood; it is a new phase of development referred to as emerging adulthood,” said Dr. Dalal Katsiaficas in Psychology Today. 

Well, if we see that 18-29 is out of the question for being an adult, then I guess we college students are safe from the burden of being considered an “adult.” 

This is good because I myself was thinking of stepping down from the position of adult. I just am not in the right headspace for it now, but I appreciate the opportunity! I am currently looking into other options and will, until further notice, be constantly researching how to get paid to sleep in.

In all seriousness, right now, we are in college. We often put copious amounts of pressure on ourselves to have it all together because we are considered “adults.” We are supposed to take responsibility and learn to be independent because now, we are on our own, navigating life. But then some psychologists might say that we are not even into adulthood yet! We are just in the first phase. Is that supposed to be encouraging somehow? I do not know about you, but that is a huge bummer. I thought I was over here adulting, and it turns out I have not even reached the real thing yet. 

Although it is somewhat disappointing that there is all this pressure on us 18-29-year-olds to act like adults, I think it could be a little bit encouraging to think we have not fully reached adulthood yet. It gives us time to continue to grow and figure out who we are and what we want the rest of our lives to look like. 

People might say that as soon as we are out of college and no longer considered students, then we are adults. We have entered the real world. However, I feel as though even the years post-college are meant for a lot of learning and growth. If we are considered adults as soon as we leave college, then we are only given four years to get the next 65-70 years of our lives figured out. That seems unfair, especially since, in my opinion, I think we never truly stop learning. 

According to Patricia Cohen with The New York Times, people up to the age of 26 are allowed to stay on their parents’ health insurance. Also, there are many women older than 35 becoming first-time mothers, and social scientists are saying that young adulthood has undergone a profound shift.

Traditionally, people often get out on their own very young and start families pretty young. Now, people are still supported by their parents even at 26, and some do not even have kids until 35. I think there is wisdom that comes with experience, and experience comes with age, so I would say that around 30 is truly when we enter adulthood. Everything else is just the process and life experiences leading up to it. Then, once we reach adulthood, we still learn new things and are always changing and growing as people. Just because we are now adults does not mean we have everything figured out and have reached full maturity. 

“These are examples of the everyday lifelong learning we engage in on a daily basis, either through socialization, trial and error, or self-initiated study,” said Ivan Andreev in his article “Lifelong Learning.”

Even into adulthood, we still learn new things. Learning is a natural human characteristic. There is so much pressure on people to be super successful at a very young age when, in reality, we are always growing and changing. We shift in perspective, get promotions and make new discoveries every day. It is not about when we become “adults” and when we need to have our lives figured out; it is about the journey, the things we experience and the memories we make. Enjoy the process. Life is about what we make for ourselves and not about going along with where society says we are supposed to be at certain times. Everyone goes through different walks of life, and no one’s journey looks the same. Let us put less pressure on ourselves to have it all figured out because life is a never-ending adventure and will be what you make it. So, make the journey a good one and enjoy being where you are now, whatever the stage may be. 

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