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Are College Students Considered Adults?

Abstract Adulthood: The Vague Years

A Brigham Young study found that 80 percent of parents don't consider their 18- to 25-year-old college students to be adults. They're calling the group that's wrestling between adolescence and adulthood "emerging adults" and that label doesn't quite sit right with me. I do think there's a real gap between identifying as a teen and calling yourself an adult, but I'm not sure why academics are trying so hard to pin down every year of our lives as one thing or another.

We all have unique life experiences that cause us to feel more adult at times and less so at others, but the whole emerging-adult thing makes me feel like they're making the age group into a product. Responsibility in terms of driving, drugs, alcohol, sex, and language were factors that parents used to determine their children's levels of adulthood, while parents and their kids agreed that accepting responsibility for actions was the most important factor.

I don't think there's an "it" moment when you suddenly become an adult, but I do think it has more to do with paying your own bills and contributing to society than learning how to brake slowly. When did you start considering yourself an adult, or are you there yet?


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