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The Spectator

The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

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Gabby Wang, Staff Writer • February 13, 2024

What does it means to be eighteen?

Turning 18 marks a significant milestone in one’s life, a transition from adolescence to adulthood that comes with a list of new responsibilities and opportunities. Becom- ing an adult bestows individuals with a range of legal obligations, including the right to vote and manage property. Inde-pendence becomes a defining aspect of this journey as young adults grasp with choic- es regarding education and career paths. This stage in life also involves developing personal networks, and understanding the role parents play in providing guidance while respecting their child’s freedom. In this article, we explore the various re- sponsibilities that come with turning 18.

Independence plays a huge role in adult- hood as people associate it with making your own decisions in a way that fits for you. Jamie Pruett ’24 reflected on his tran- sition to adulthood and his part time job by saying, “Over this past summer, I had a full-time internship doing software devel- opment that’s now turned into a part-time job that’s fully remote. The whole process of applying and getting accepted at that job was kind of all self-driven.” Self-driven is the word that defines this whole process, encapsulating the essence of independence that comes with the territory of adulthood.

With drive comes greater responsibili- ties. Pruett highlighted this freedom by saying, “I bought a car, and I pay for up- keep, maintenance, and insurance costs. With money I’ve earned from my jobs, I can pay for clothes and take the load off my parents’ backs with expenses and school tuition.” In this path to adulthood, financial responsibility becomes an in- tegral part of independence as a family’s livelihood weighs upon one’s decisions.

Yet most parents hoped to give their kids the freedom to pursue their pas- sions while offering support when need- ed. “I expect them to do what brings them joy,” said Katie Brickman, aunt of Fitzpatrick Knight ’27. “If you do what brings you joy, you will do those things a lot, and if you do something a lot, you will do things well,” Brickman said.

Parents aim to see their children happy, embrace adulthood, and take on challenges to better themselves, turning freedom into a currency for self-growth. “When I was 18, I read abundantly, and soon finished ev- ery book in the college’s library,” said Jie Ying, parent of Siyue Fei ’24. “Although physically, you have to follow all the rules, spiritually, you learn a lot of new things. So when I graduate, I understand what kind of freedom I’m pursuing,” Fei recounted.

Perhaps to both the children and par- ents, turning 18 opens a brand new out- look to one’s life. Whether it’s choosing between a name brand and common bag, or diving deeper into the fluid dy- namics of aerospace engineering, the interests are endless, and the relation- ships daunting – but the pursuit of happi- ness is worth the trials and tribulations.

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