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How Are We Supposed to Know When We’re Adults?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I first started to think about “adulting” when I turned eighteen. However, I decided that just because I could vote and drink in Mexico (which is where I was on my eighteenth birthday), didn’t mean that I was an adult yet. I chose to take my mind off of those scary thoughts and enjoy my time as a teenager. My eighteenth year disappeared just as fast as it came. I went to university, figured out how to be independent and self-motivated and then all of a sudden, I was nineteen. I thought that being of legal age must mean that I was finally an adult, but I’m still young. Covid made that pretty easy for me, as I turned nineteen one week before the lockdown started. My nineteenth year was definitely ruined by the pandemic and so I wouldn’t consider it to be an important year in my life – even though many people think nineteen is when you become an adult. This year I turned twenty, which made me feel old. I remember thinking that once I turned twenty, I would have a sense of my career path, I would have life “figured out” and I would be accomplished. I don’t think any of those things are true, which is okay. This thought doesn’t make me disappointed in myself at all. Instead, it’s a good reminder that it’s okay to not have things figured out because it’s normal to re-evaluate priorities and change paths in life.

Even though I’m not sure I’m an adult yet at almost 21 years old, there have been a few key moments in the past year that have pointed towards adulthood. Firstly, I got my first real job. I learned how to write a good resume and cover letter, which I never thought I would be doing yet. After working at a camp and other smaller jobs, this seemed like a pretty big moment for me. I was making more money than I had ever made in my life, which made me more independent from my parents. This definitely set me on the road to adulthood. Another thing that happened in my life recently is that I got my own car. If there is anything that screams “independence” it would be getting a car. I don’t need to rely on my parents or their cars anymore to get me places, and theoretically, I can go wherever I want. The world seems much bigger since I got a car. Most importantly, a car is a big investment. I have regular expenses for it, I have to maintain it and be responsible with it. Does that make me an adult? I’m not exactly sure.

When we reach our late teens and early twenties, there comes a point when we start to question if we are fully adults yet – at least this is something that happened to me. We evaluate the things in our lives that point towards adulthood and weigh them against all the things that don’t make us adults yet. I’m still in the middle of university and have a lot of things to figure out in my life. There are many aspects of my life where I have to act like an adult, but I would say that I wouldn’t fully consider myself an adult yet. I think I still have a few years before I need to think about that. Maybe I’ll keep pushing away those thoughts about adulthood because sometimes they scare me. But I’m confident that when I’m a fully grown adult, I’ll know. 

Nora Pandy

Wilfrid Laurier '23

Nora is a business student at Wilfrid Laurier. When she's not busy studying or writing, she loves to read, play competitive board games, dance, drink coffee and tea, eat sushi, and hang out with the people she loves.
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