18≠Grown Up


Sahira Carino (Created with Canva)

The number 18 should not define a growth from within.

Growing up and developing a sense of maturity is often related to one’s age. For a long time, the age 18 has been a symbol of adulthood. When you reach the mark of 18 you are viewed differently. They regard you as someone who is responsible for more and has a different perspective on life. However, age shouldn’t determine maturity nor growth within oneself.

Everyone has to deal with their own personal challenges that life throws at them. These hardships mold a person and give them a new perspective on life, causing them to mature and take on additional responsibilities. Many children face life challenges at an early age, forcing them to mature at a faster pace. 

This ideal image that 18 and above is truly the only time someone can be grown up or understand the difficulties in life sets an unrealistic benchmark and takes credit away from people who can understand the difficulties and challenges of life despite their age.

Their responsibilities and the level of maturity they are at has no regard to their age. 

Junior Carol Perrez-Hernandez, 16, shares a little bit of the responsibilities she has been doing and continues to do. 

“I am the oldest of four so I had to take on more responsibility at a younger age. I was supposed to set a good example academically and socially. My mom would work all day and my grandma would take care of us. I had to take on the job of helping my siblings with their homework, feeding them, and cleaning the house because my grandma wouldn’t be able to do much,” said Perez. 

Perez goes on to share how this sense of pressure has affected her but how she still manages to be grateful and understanding. 

“It has gotten harder to keep up with everything. I am a junior now, and am trying to keep my grades up while working and helping out my siblings. Sometimes it is a lot, but I do it for my parents to help them in any way possible. I’m thankful for everything they gave us. Although, some things have changed the responsibility I have and have had will always remain.” 

Perez is one of many students at MCHS that have to uphold this responsibility. In a recent survey given out to the students of MCHS over 75% of the responses replied that they have to watch over their siblings. 

When hearing about the work of an adult or anything related to adulthood many think of it as a lifestyle that revolves around constant responsibility. But what many don’t stop to think is that growing up can happen at any age. The levels of stress and workload change through the years. Sadly, some experience growing up at a young age while others don’t have to deal with hardships until later on in life.

Senior Leslie Rangel, who recently turned 18, shares stressful tasks she has had to deal with at a young age and continues to do on a daily basis. 

“I started working in the summer of my junior year. I didn’t want to have to make my parents buy my personal necessities or materials. I also am saving up part of my money to use for future expenses.”

Rangel in her new age shares more information about how the change from child to adult has been on her. 

“I have recently turned 18 and don’t feel much of a difference in my daily life except the way I am talked to now by my parents and adults. They talk to me about expecting more and having to change the way I live my life but everything they say I already do. I go to school, keep up my grades, work, and pay for my own stuff. I do feel grown up and have been for a while now. I’ve had to take on responsibilities that not many people do at my age.”

Over 70% of student responses share the same feeling as Rangel and feel that they have grown up too fast. One student anonymously shares, “I have absolutely grown up too fast. I dealt with difficult things during my early childhood and it caused me to feel the need to grow up. I mainly felt the need because I wanted to understand how to take care of everyone and understand how to fix problems that I had very little power in.”

There’s no denying that reaching the golden age of 18 has a lot more to offer. You can get a driver’s license, vote, and no longer need parental permission. But, it doesn’t mean that suddenly reaching the age makes you a grown up. It simply makes you a year older. It is through challenges and personal experiences that slowly make you grow up and have a clearer idea of life.