Adulthood

Adulthood

Going from being a teenager into adulthood can sometimes be exciting and overwhelming. Most of the time, teens enjoy being able to do whatever they want, without being controlled by their parents or guardians.

Back in the 1980s, becoming a young adult in college came with some privileges; like the alcohol laws which appear to be illegal today. AP US History teacher, Leann Smith clarifies some of the adult entitlements that were legal during her time in college.  

“I turned 18 a month after I started college, which made me a little apprehensive but also excited. In 1987, when you turned 18 you had a lot of freedom. Our drinking laws and a lot of our laws that require you to be 21 were 18 then. During that time, people felt more like an adult when they turned 18 than a person might today,” said Smith.

Over time, as adolescents grow into teens the relationship between them and their parents changes. Luckily for some parents, the connection remains the same throughout their kid’s lifetime. Senior, Amanda Egede explains how the dynamics between her and her parents haven’t changed as she becomes an adult.

“The way my parents see me now that I am becoming an adult hasn’t changed that much. Most African parents, especially Nigerians, don’t really care about your age. As long as you’re their child they won’t hesitate to discipline you,” Egede expressed.

Being an independent young adult came with some challenges. As they go into the real world, they meet frenemies, pay bills they never paid before such as electricity bills, and experience peer pressure from friends. Advanced English II and Debate teacher, Beth Simmonds explains some of the obstacles she faced as a young adult.

“Being a first-generation college student, I had no knowledge of what to do when I became an adult. I came from a lower-class family who didn’t trust bank accounts. I’ve never known how to file my taxes, and how to build credit.  I didn’t know how to purchase an apartment or a car. It was a slow process for me which led to making difficult decisions that I had to pay for,” said Simmonds.

As people become adults, they make all kinds of mistakes, ranging from silly errors to things that affect them grandly. Sometimes arrogance and ignorance play a part in the errors young adults make. This could include things like getting married before reaching a mature age. AP World History teacher, Amy Husk describes some mistakes that she made as a young adult. 

“I love my husband and he’s my best friend, but we got married way too young. I could have gotten a degree before getting married, and gone to grad school before having kids. I wish I wasn’t in a hurry to grow up because I wanted to experience new things and travel around the world. I always use this as an example to my kids and students so that they are not in a hurry to get to that next step,” Husk said.

Whether they’re regretful or proud later on, teens have to make a lot of decisions growing up that stem from a number of things. Due to how some children were raised at home, they make choices based on their upbringing. AP Human Geography teacher, Debra Alsip explains how her home training influenced her decisions.

“I was raised to think that marriage and having children was the thing I needed to do. My parents had more traditional ideas of what girls should do when they turn 18. When I turned 19, I got married, had kids, and became a stay-at-home wife. However, I am proud that I didn’t put an end to my dream of being a graduate from college” said Alsip.

Being an adult comes with being able to be financially responsible. To be able to save, invest and spend when necessary even though people are buying new things. Leann Smith describes her ways of being financially accountable.

“Prolonged gratification. if we don’t have the money, we don’t buy it. Even today my husband says that we owe no credit as we do. We pay cash for our cars, but we don’t buy a car until we have the money to do it. It’s hard to prolong because everybody wants everything now they want instant gratification. When we both got jobs in our 20s we immediately started our 401 and put the maximum amount that we could in there and we have never changed it even till now,” said Smith

Adulthood is another stage of life. It comes with the liberty of being free, but also has its disadvantages. It is a stage where a lot of young adults deal with a lack of financial responsibility, making the right decisions, and encountering new friends. A process that can be terrifying if one does not have a good support group.