Exposures

Ben, third year

Ben

“I’ve tried a lot to identify or create moments of clarity in which I realize — either organically or not — that I’m finally an adult. I don’t think that you truly know when you’ve grown up until you stop obsessing about the milestones in your life. I’m not there yet. My family lives in five different cities right now, and I’m the only one in Canada. Being somewhat separated from your family and not being able to see them more than a few times a year makes growing up a much more solitary experience.”

Emma, second year 

Emma

“I don’t really feel fully like an adult. Sometimes I have adult moments, often in the grocery store when I put down something like Goldfish for something like whole wheat bread. I feel stuck in between though — adult enough to need to pay for hydro and decide my routine but young enough that it feels like I’m not ready to do either. I think there’s a misconception that being an adult means having it all under control. Technically, I’m 18, so that means I’m an adult. I [don’t] buy into that misconception because I would never classify myself as one. I know people who are 25 that don’t think of themselves as adults. I think it’s about having a modicum of control and responsibility ­­— and maybe not being as scared as I am.”

Arika, second year

Arika

I don’t even know if I can consider myself an adult yet… I know I’ve definitely matured over the years but I still do childish things occasionally. I’m kind… [of] in that stage where I’m not really a child but not fully an adult yet. I also don’t think I’m ready to embrace being an adult yet… Sometimes you just don’t [want to] grow up.

For me, being an adult means that I am ready to take full responsibility for my actions and live independently (and happily) on my own. Being an adult also means prioritizing what is best for myself and understanding that it is necessary to make sacrifices sometimes.”

Jamayca, second year

Jamayca

“I feel as though we put a lot of emphasis on attaining a certain career goal, or we all have individualistic values that are tied with the meaning of adulthood. You become an adult, you decide your career, you go to school for it — I feel like we sort of forget that people aren’t islands.

Everyone is connected… in the context of other people and in relationships with other people. I think that we forget that becoming an adult is learning how to live with other people. 

In young adulthood, the emphasis is always on us: taking care of ourselves, going to school for ourselves to get a career… When we become an ‘adult’ and we start families… suddenly we are expected to care for other people. There is emphasis on embracing this generosity. We often forget about that piece. 

In my eyes, becoming an adult should emphasize a sense of community more, and we should use this time to practice being less selfish.”

Gabriel, third-year

Gabriel

“Walking into my first house party would have to be my quintessential teenage moment. To walk into this very large house and being told I could do whatever I want with it, it was a very tantalizing feeling. It’s different from adulthood – being a ‘young adult’. I think everyone’s quintessential teenage moment are moments where you ask yourself: how much freedom can I achieve? It allowed me unrivalled freedom to other ventures I had experienced before. The thing about adulthood is that you’re obligated to go out and do something with yourself.”

Olivia, second-year

Olivia

“I think that there are those awful teenage moments of high school that get defined in some terrifying way by cliché 80’s movies, like putting on your prom corsage or throwing your hat at graduation, but I guess for me the quintessential teenage moment is just any time you can think back to a point that you were young and life was relatively easy and the worries you had weren’t really worries at all. I guess also those milestones as a teenager where you came into your own element, like when you got to go out to the movies by yourself for the first time or driving your parent’s car or getting to go out to that party, but I don’t know if there’s any single particular moment. I think its whenever you were able to figure out a part of yourself as an independent individual.”