Young adulthood is a relatively new concept, but it’s one that has quickly become widespread, as higher education and overseas travel become more accessible. It is a highly explorative stage of life, where individuals can enjoy more independence than they did in their teen years, but do not yet have all the responsibilities of an adult.
For many students, university marks the start of this stage: a transitionary period between adolescence and full-fledged adulthood.
For one thing, university is often the first time young people – myself included – live on their own.
Even for those who live at home while they study, university life still brings a higher degree of independence, as students start to follow their own schedule, while parents take a step back and expect them to take care of themselves.
The freedom of university also allows people to discover themselves in terms of image, career choices, life paths and more. Personally, I know many people who confessed that their first time doing laundry was in university, since they focused on academics during secondary school and only did a few chores.
There are so many caveats to taking care of yourself and living independently: cooking, cleaning, sticking to a schedule, and even folding clothes can be small challenges on a daily basis. These chores can pile up and cause many students a lot of stress on top of their academic pressures – but they are aspects of life that it’s important to get used to while the stakes are still relatively low.
Being a student allows me to dip my toes into many aspects of adulthood without having to bear the full weight of it. Examples include part-time jobs and internships that don’t come with the financial reward of a full-time job, yet allow students to experience the workplace environment and culture that may also help them determine their future career direction.
My advice? Take the opportunity during young adulthood to explore new areas and learn how to “adult”. I am thankful for this stage in life where young people can work through their feelings of curiosity and confusion, rather than being placed directly into roles such as a parent, a full-time worker and more.