Students should gain independence


Story by The Baker Orange Editorial Board

Some sociologists believe there are five milestones that mark a person’s transition into adulthood — completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child.

In 2000, less than half of 30-year-olds had completed each of these markers. This idea of delayed adulthood is all around us. We see and feel it, but do we really understand it?

This generation, coined as Millennials, has emerged into a world where everything is fast-paced and basically handed to them with little to no work needed. They feel entitled instead of putting forth effort to have independence. With this mentality, the idea of adulthood has changed and with it, so has the idea of when should people start taking responsibility and gaining independence.

According to the United States Department of Labor statistics, the unemployment rate for people between the ages of 16-24 is 16.3 percent. That is higher than the national unemployment rate, which stands at 7.2 percent as of September 2013. This means that people are either not looking for jobs or not taking the initiative to become responsible enough to get a job and works toward independence.

We see more and more young people depending on their parents for their needs. By depending on parents, Millennials are passing their responsibilities on to their parents. If parents continue to allow their children to depend on them, they are inhibiting their children from learning the true meaning of independence.

The dependence that Millennials have on their parents is not just monetary. There are those who also rely on their parents for transportation and materialistic concerns.

By relying so heavily on parents, Millenials are not making their own decisions or making attempts at being independent. In many cases, this delay of adulthood also depends on the parents’ enabling. Parents should set limits to how much help they give because it would allow children to begin to take responsibility for themselves. This should begin early in the teenage years so that they will learn to start working toward the things they want, rather than just having things handed to them.

As college students, we feel the struggles of independence. Some students rely entirely on their parents, while others only rely on them partially or not at all. Not relying on parents as much gives students the chance to make their own decisions, take responsibility for their actions and gain independence. Students don’t have to be entirely independent, but doing so progressively will allow them to be responsible, contributing members of society.

College is a good place to gain independence. Students are away from parents, so their problems are not their parents’ problems anymore. College is a stage in people’s lives when they can start to become responsible for their actions. There are many opportunities for students to start doing things for themselves. One of the main opportunities students have is work-study on campus. This allows them to gain work experience and know what it’s like not to rely on parents as much.

Gaining work experience and learning to be responsible are key for people to become independent. Not everything in life is willfully handed over or will be given by parents. Adulthood should not be delayed, but rather arrive progressively.