Adulthood comes with maturity rather than age


Sophie Lynd

Students and young adults inherit many responsibilities as they grow up.

Sophie Lynd, Highlander Editor-in-Chief

Upon turning 18, American males are required to register for the military draft. While the last military draft was 45 years ago following the end of the Vietnam War, today’s 18-year-olds continue to register to possibly risk their lives for our country. Yet, it is illegal for them to consume alcohol for another three years.

This raises the question of what constitutes adulthood.

Many high school students begin working at 15 years old. They may only make minimum wage, but a small portion of their paychecks is allocated for taxes.

At age 16, many teenagers get their driver’s license. The responsibility of following rules and maintaining a car also comes with freedom and independence.

Most students turn 18 before graduating high school. Becoming a legal adult means registering for the draft, being tried in adult court, and being eligible for jury duty. Once again, these responsibilities come with more opportunities such as being able to rent a hotel room, buy lottery tickets, and get married, to name a few.

A 25-year-old can rent a car and a 26-year-old is no longer covered by their parents’ medical insurance.

But age really is just a number. In some cases, a 26-year-old is no more of an adult than a 16-year-old is. Adulthood ultimately means responsibility and responsibility means maturity, no matter the age.

Most importantly, the way in which responsibilities and privileges are balanced show maturity, or the lack thereof.

Take voting, for example, a responsibility and a privilege. According to Pew Research Center, 22 percent of eligible adults are not registered to vote, 23 percent claim they don’t know enough about the candidates to vote, and 20 percent are registered but are inconsistent in voting. As adults and members of a society where voting is a privilege, one would think voting would be taken more seriously.

Yes, 16-year-olds cannot vote, but as responsible, young members of society, many preregister and begin researching potential candidates, while many eligible voters will not find time in their day to go to their local poll station on election day.

Voting is a big responsibility and it, along with other duties that come with adulthood, can be intimidating to those who are just around the corner. However, most are already preparing for the adult world without even knowing.

Being a disciplined student in high school most likely translates to a disciplined adult who pays their bills on time. Leadership roles in high school and college continue into the working and parenting worlds; companies need self-driven employees and kids need responsible parents and of course, soccer coaches.