Opinion: When Do You Become An Adult?
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Maturing is a process that takes time, but you become an adult when you are financially independent, which is usually after you graduate from college. Although mentally preparing and gathering the knowledge necessary to be successful in adulthood definitely happens over a number of years, life doesn’t wait for you to “mature” before you’re on your own.
As a high school student, being on your own feels impossibly out of reach. We still live at home with our parents, our daily schedules are planned for us, and we’re highly limited in the things we can and cannot do. In college, there’s more freedom, but we’re still not quite adults. Although we live largely on our own, we’re still supported financially by our parents and still function in the microcosm of a school environment.
To me, as soon as you graduate from college, adulthood begins. You live, breath, function, and socialize in the real world. You have a job to get to, taxes and bills to pay, and every decision to be made about your life in your hands and yours alone. You pay your own way. It’s your name on the mortgage, the car lease, the paycheck. It doesn’t really matter if you’ve matured enough emotionally during high school and college. The bills aren’t going to wait for you just because you’re not mature enough to be an “adult.” You’re an adult when you’re supporting yourself, and that usually happens when you graduate college.
Becoming an adult is an emotional process that takes years of maturity and knowledge. Personally, I do not believe there is one particular day or event that symbolizes your transformation to an “adult”. From a legal standpoint, an adult is someone who is 18 years of age or older; however, American society has created the image of an adult as someone who can drive, own their own home and car, vote, get married, have children, drink alcohol, etc.
Although you are viewed as an adult at 18 in a legal sense, to me, an adult is someone who is able to live on their own and make mature decisions based on real-world experience. Being able to actively participate in not only your community but also the World as a whole in a sense of giving back, is what in my opinion, makes someone an adult.
You know that you are an adult when you are old enough to make mistakes and yet old enough to know better, and not only learn but also grow as a person. You also know you are an adult when you put the well-being of others over yourself, and consider how your actions will affect not only you, but others around you.
Contrary to the letter of the law, becoming an adult does is not as simple as just turning 18 years old. It is a path that one starts on and never ends, but continues to grow. This path is not straight, but has curves and bumps in the road, just like life.