There are a lot of decisions to make coming up for many incoming students, students here on campus, and on other campuses as well. The high pressures of the decision making process can cause a lot of people to rely on their parents for guidance and help with their future. Although asking others for help with making these choices isn’t a bad thing, it can lead to relying on others for many other things in the future as well.
For most of us, we have been dependent on our parents since we were born, and that dependence can’t just flip at the drop of a hat, but there is a time when everyone must make that transition into becoming independent. For most people, the coming of age is seen as 18, and that is also the age in which it is expected that a person beomes independent.
The idea that someone will become completely independent as soon as they turn 18 is completely ridiculous, if I’m being honest. Having that support and being dependent on someone, whether it be your parents or a guardian of some sort, and then suddenly having to do everything on your own in a matter of days is near impossible. It’s a change of lifestyle, and that kind of change has to come gradually and through time.
“I think that parents should start ensuring their children’s independence from a young age through simple goals,” Senior Lily Winter told me. “That way, when a monumental change like college comes up, they have a better time transitioning. Ultimately, when you’re 26 and not on your parents’ healthcare then yes, you’re done. But, of course there’s always going to be that little dependnece and connection with your parents, even well into the latter part of your life.”
The connection between a person and their parents or the people who raised them is very strong. For some people this relationship may not be as strong or as important, and that can make the transition much easier. But for most people, they look up to those who raised them and trust their choices. They’ve been dependent for so long, it’s natural and can be hard to gain independence.
This is one of many other possible reasons that parents or guardians should try to give their children small independent tasks as they grow, slowly but surely teaching their children to be more independent.
For me, I began to make my own appointments and do more ‘adult tasks’ towards the end of high school. I didn’t just walk onto campus and think, “this is it, now I’m independent.” I worked up to being independent and making my own choices. I still call my mom and ask her opinion, but that’s because I’m not fully on my own quite yet and I recognize that.
However, I do know plenty of people who continue to let their parents make their choices for them, giving up that independence and potentially causing issues for the future when they need to really make their own decisions.
“It’s a transition, you can’t just 180 out of dependence. But also, I feel like if I’m 25 and still dependent on my parents, then I’ve done something wrong,” First-year Sophie Pflunger shared. By the time a person hits 25, there’s an expectation that you’ve got some vague idea of what you’re going to do for a career, if you’re not already doing so. It’s also expected that you live on your own or at least out of your parents’ homes and that you’re making all your own choices with little to no help from others.
This expectation is set by societal and cultural standards, but for good reason. If a person remains dependent on their family for too long, it’ll become harder and harder to gain their independence.
Basically, the transition to becoming independent of your parents or guardian is very important, and people should definitely be actively viewing it as just that, a transition. Parents and children alike should work together on this transition, and no one should try to force a 180 into adulthood on their own. Even if a person doesn’t choose college, this transition is still going to be in place at some point, just maybe sooner than if they were to be in college and less gradually.
It’s important to not be afraid to ask opinions as you make your different decisions this spring, but remember that it’s ultimately your choice. Don’t get too caught up in the dependency we’re all so use to, and begin to recognize yourself as the adult you’re becoming, as scary as it sounds.