Leaping into adulthood

Senior explains privileges, detriments to turning 18

Photo+illustration

Photo by Madeline Parish

Photo illustration

Story by Ali Richter, copy editor

The door to adolescence shuts behind me, but in front of me the doors to adulthood swing open. Buying lottery tickets and cigarettes, registering to vote, opening a personal bank account, getting a tattoo and enlisting in the army are now all legal courses of action. These newfound actions are all explicitly stated that an 18-year-old can do, but what isn’t stated is the way the rest of your life changes.

When I turned 18 I did what most people usually do, I bought a lotto ticket and a pack of cigarettes. The lottery ticket didn’t win me anything, and the singular cigarette that I smoked from the pack of 16 might have been one of the causes of the flu virus I woke up with the next day.

In addition to being bombarded by the flu symptoms, the next day I actually felt different. I did really feel older. Now when people referred to me, they wouldn’t say “girl,” they would say “woman.” This was really weird to think about, and it made me want to do grown up things. So, naturally I finished up all my homework, cleaned my room and made my bed (a rare occurrence) and made myself a healthy lunch.

I was feeling quite woman-y and wore a very mature and classy outfit to church that night to continue the overall effect. The next day however, I stayed in bed all day while my parents took care of me with the flu. While I was extremely appreciative of their help and support, I still felt like a kid after all.

Being 18 is kind of hard because you want to be older and act older and do things older people do, but the older people still treat you like any other teenager. It’s kind of sad to me that I’m an adult now but when I go to school, I have to ask permission to go to the bathroom during class. That I get a tardy if I do use the restroom in class. That when I go to some businesses, they take care of the other customers there before getting to the “kid.” That I still get in trouble for wearing a pair of Nike shorts to school.

Although turning 18 is supposed to be when you magically transform into an adult, I feel like that actually comes later. Maybe when you turn 21. Even though the majority of 18-year-olds are leaving the house and going to college or getting their first jobs, most don’t know what they want or what they are going to do and are treated as such.

As for me, I’m still in high school for another couple of months and still forced to follow all of the administration’s rules and regulations, no matter how much I disagree with them.

Eighteen is a transitional age, but I don’t think the world, or the United States at least, really treats an 18-year-old as an adult. Even though big changes are occurring, there are still a lot more to get through before teens are ready for the real world.