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Do you think you were a mature person before you entered grad school? After? I just started my first job and I realized I am kind of not mature. I mean I can handle myself in a mature way, I know how to carry myself but at the same time I just feel childish.  I don't know if it is just being in a new environment with people who are adults and live alone and just have really adult type lives.  I just feel totally different from them.  Even reading threads on here everyone seems so old, I don't know if I am just super young.. which 23 isn't super young at all.  I just feel this total disconnect.  In the post about car insurance everyone is like "oh yeah my husband and I pay whatever in car insurance" and I'm like I have no idea how much my parents pay and I have no idea when I would pay for my own insurance.. I don't want to to be honest.  When did everyone grow up? I mean I know 20s is when major changes happen for me (everyone except me obviously) but holy shit! When did this happen?  I can only imagine how grad school will be. I did a web seminar for my program and so many of the people in the program were older like 30s 40s+  they are going to have like a crap ton of life experience stories and I'm going to be like.. "umm I just learned how to use a coffee maker".  

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Do you think you were a mature person before you entered grad school? After? I just started my first job and I realized I am kind of not mature. I mean I can handle myself in a mature way, I know how

Everyone is faking it. EVERYONE.   That said, it happens in stages. Yesterday, I was bemoaning the fact that I'm no longer a recent graduate (I'm 26), and I'll be older than everyone in my program,

When they stop carding you. 

I feel like I matured a lot after working a job for a few years.  I started off with a new job, bought a new car which I myself had to research and counter offers for, found apartments and bought furniture and paid taxes on real people salary, buying everything from my own money and budgeting for it etc.  That and insurance is a huge thing, figuring out how health/dental/vision/car insurance works and what you need, what kinds of banking you want to do, saving for retirement...thats when you start realizing you are doing "big people things".  it doesn't happen all at once but in a few years you'll wake up and all of that will feel "normal".  We've all been there its nothing to be ashamed of and enjoy it.  23 is youthful but you are just starting to learn what adulthood is going to be like.  In undergrad everything and the location is typically catered to undergrad life...adulthood is not having the ease of that environment to facilitate the things you are now capable of doing on your own.

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Do you think you were a mature person before you entered grad school? After? I just started my first job and I realized I am kind of not mature. I mean I can handle myself in a mature way, I know how to carry myself but at the same time I just feel childish.  I don't know if it is just being in a new environment with people who are adults and live alone and just have really adult type lives.  I just feel totally different from them.  Even reading threads on here everyone seems so old, I don't know if I am just super young.. which 23 isn't super young at all.  I just feel this total disconnect.  In the post about car insurance everyone is like "oh yeah my husband and I pay whatever in car insurance" and I'm like I have no idea how much my parents pay and I have no idea when I would pay for my own insurance.. I don't want to to be honest.  When did everyone grow up? I mean I know 20s is when major changes happen for me (everyone except me obviously) but holy shit! When did this happen?  I can only imagine how grad school will be. I did a web seminar for my program and so many of the people in the program were older like 30s 40s+  they are going to have like a crap ton of life experience stories and I'm going to be like.. "umm I just learned how to use a coffee maker".  

I'm in the same boat as you in terms of not having full control of my life. I live with my parents, don't have a job, and am applying for another few years of school. I don't pay my own bills, and I feel guilty, because I feel I should be at a point in my life where I should be living on my own and doing these things. I am far from being grown up (I'm younger than you btw), so all I can do is work towards reaching that point of maturity. I'm applying to jobs, trying to help out with bills and learn about doing taxes, and taking steps to becoming more independent (and, hopefully, mature). 

 

It's normal that everyone around you will be different, in age and in maturity. I would just accept it and know that I'm not them. I have my own path and my own pace at which I will become a mature adult. 

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I filled out my W-4 last week and I was like wow how adult. And I realized how much they take out in taxes!! It is really shitty being an adult lol. I never considered myself an adult you know? Like I am 23 but I'm not an "adult adult" just one in age. I feel like "adult adults" don't have the life I have.

Edited by CorruptedInnocence
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It's a process that starts when you first move away from home. There is the initial stage of getting set up in a new place, with all that it involves - e.g. finding an apartment, buying furniture, figuring out the transportation system in your new city, finding a local bank+grocery store,etc, finding a local doctor+dentist+hair dresser, etc, figuring out medical insurance and more. Then there is the daily life to figure out - getting a job or understanding how your stipend works if you are getting one, learning to budget yourself, buying groceries, doing laundry, cleaning, cooking, paying bills, doing your taxes. You just learn as you go along and at first there is a lot to take in and it can be quite intimidating, but once you learn to do it on your own, one day you wake up and realize you are an adult. 

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Very interesting question!

 

I guess how people define "mature" will affect their answers and of course life experiences can make people mature earlier or later.

 

There are a lot of factors, one is getting a handle on basic life skills you need in the world- such as paying bills, taking care of yourself (medical appointments etc), feeding yourself, financial stuff, etc.  As well as the car insurance thing you mentioned :).   Not that learning about car insurance is a rite of passage, but if you don't know something being able to figure it out/ask around and get it done without relying on parents etc.  As more responsibility is put onto you, you're forced to figure these things out and get more confident w/"adult things".  I had this mostly figured out by 23. 

 

Also, there is emotional maturity.  Even some adults don't have this...  To me, it is being able to see the big picture, putting yourself in others' shoes, confidence in oneself.

 

Another aspect is just "feeling" like an adult.  Despite having basic life skills figured out, I didn't "feel like an adult" until 24-25.  I think it's because in college (18-21) and my first job (22-23) I mostly socialized with people my own age, within a few years.  At my first job out of college us recent grads all socialized together.  Then in my 2nd job out of college I was the youngest one at my job by far and starting socializing a lot more with older co-workers.  And most of my friends were getting married etc.  So in addition to learning how to be self-sufficient, getting more life experience and getting out of a social group limited to people my own age.

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Everyone is faking it. EVERYONE.

 

That said, it happens in stages. Yesterday, I was bemoaning the fact that I'm no longer a recent graduate (I'm 26), and I'll be older than everyone in my program, and I won't be out of school until I'm 30, and my 401(k) is just sitting there and won't really be growing while I'm going back to school, et cetera. And literally five minutes ago I was Facebook-stalking some people from high school who are now producers and architects and lawyers, and I'm thinking, my parents still buy me groceries?

 

You just filled out your W-4. In three months, you might sign up for health insurance. Then your parents might pay your parking tickets, and you have to hand-make everyone's Christmas gifts that year. And then before you know it, you're hiring your own interns at work, but still eating cereal for dinner because you're lazy.

 

I guess everyone just grows up at different times. And what really is growing up, anyway? What did we expect from adulthood? When I was a kid, I was looking forward to total independence, and the ability to make my own decisions. Currently there are 7 types of ice cream in my freezer. If that's not adulthood, I don't know what is.

 

 

When I can handle a dozen straight boilermakers without flinching. 

 

My dad always says that when he was dating my mom, that's how he knew he'd get along with her family.

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I am 20, graduating with my BS in may, but I left home for college when I was 16. I paid my rent, food and tuition ever since. As a graduation gift, my grandma gave me a brand new car (i didn't ask for it, and might be moving to boston for grad school). I was the one who created the car insurance thread because I thought the rates were insanely high.

But well, i come from a dysfuntional family, so I didn't have an alternative rather than sucking it up and doing it.

I still eat cereal for lunch though :-)

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I am 20, graduating with my BS in may, but I left home for college when I was 16. I paid my rent, food and tuition ever since. As a graduation gift, my grandma gave me a brand new car (i didn't ask for it, and might be moving to boston for grad school). I was the one who created the car insurance thread because I thought the rates were insanely high.

But well, i come from a dysfuntional family, so I didn't have an alternative rather than sucking it up and doing it.

I still eat cereal for lunch though :-)

 

I don't know you, but I'm proud of you. Also, cereal for lunch will always be delicious. I don't think I could ever abandon my rice krispies.

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I filled out my W-4 last week and I was like wow how adult. And I realized how much they take out in taxes!! It is really shitty being an adult lol.

Yes, it is.  I think maybe when you realize this is when you've matured! lol

 

Maturity is a tricky thing.  It's hard to define what mature is for everyone because it's subjective.  I was mature in some ways at 10, but that comes from an "interesting" childhood.  I started paying bills around 16, and that was a growing up experience.  I thought I was emotionally mature at 18, but I look back and know that I wasn't even close. 

 

The other hard thing is separating gaining mature from growing older.  I watched a commercial last night that I thought was incredibly dumb.  Then I realized that I just don't relate to it anymore because the actress was maybe 15.  I am no longer the age their target audience is.

 

On the flip side, I eat cereal whenever the hell I want because it's awesome.  Pancakes for dinner?  Hell, yeah!  I did a little dance when I received my first grad school acceptance.  I also sometimes laugh at fart jokes cause they're funny.

 

I think I only started feeling like an adult a year ago.  You're only 23.  You have tons of time to feel like a grown up.  Don't rush things.  It'll gradually happen, and you won't even realize it. 

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Everyone is faking it. EVERYONE.

 

That said, it happens in stages. Yesterday, I was bemoaning the fact that I'm no longer a recent graduate (I'm 26), and I'll be older than everyone in my program, and I won't be out of school until I'm 30, and my 401(k) is just sitting there and won't really be growing while I'm going back to school, et cetera. And literally five minutes ago I was Facebook-stalking some people from high school who are now producers and architects and lawyers, and I'm thinking, my parents still buy me groceries?

 

You won't be the oldest.  There were several people over thirty in my cohort.  Most people were over 25.  I was the second-youngest at almost 23 in the class.  YMMV but usually you will be right in the middle!

 

When did I feel mature?  When I bought my washer and dryer.  And now, looking at moving again in a year, they seem like a deadweight around my neck.  I moved here in my car.  I had NOTHING - not even a bed - and now I have all this stuff.  I'm not used to that yet.  Also, plenty of "mature" people borrow money in grad school.  Even the best planners need help when we only get paid 10 months a year and our first paycheck is delayed until a month after classes begin (and when school fees are due!).

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I'm 25, and I think I didn't grow up until I was 23 in terms of adult activities.  At 23 I was on my own, paying 100% of my own bills with no parent bailouts ... which is something when you have a genetic disease that hospitalizes you frequently and really racks up the medical bills.  But once I started paying my own bills, having to make my own budgets (and follow them!), care about my credit score, buy a car and auto insurance, etc., I started to feel like I was an actual adult.  To an extent I'm still reliant on my parents for emotional support because I call them quite often, but that's mostly because we have been through a lot together and I see them as friends and allies in many ways.  While for some people calling their parents daily = immature, for me it's not an object.

 

In terms of emotional maturity, I think I grew up when I was 20 and had a really bad exacerbation of my genetic condition.  I had to take years off of school after that and went through a lot of very difficult hospitalizations and 20 was about the point when I think I started to solidify my personality and become the kind of person I considered mature.  This was not entirely due to the hospitalizations, tbf.  But I think I started to piece things together more.  I started not letting myself get away with flimsy excuses for my behavior; I took responsibility for myself and held myself accountable.

 

tl;dr, I think self-responsibility is what makes someone mature.  And there are two kinds of responsibility: the pragmatic kind (paying bills, etc.) and the emotional/psychological kind.  They happen at different points for everyone.  Believe me, I know plenty of people who are responsible with their bills, but I would never trust them with my heart.  And just as many people who I trust to be honest and sincere and so on, but I'd never ask them to so much as water my plants for me. :P

 

(edited to preserve anonymity; said genetic disease is rare enough to excuse me not specifying it)

Edited by gellert
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I think it's still an ongoing process. A huge change happened for me when I started grad school. But I agree that everyone is basically faking it until they make it. When I was a kid, I remember trusting adults my age (e.g. my elementary school teachers) thinking that they have everything in life figured out and knew everything. Like, if I saw them cross the street, I'd know it was safe. Or if I saw one around then I would know I was safe. But, once in awhile, I realise that I am now older than many of my elementary school teachers and I don't know that much at all! I am afraid when I realise that little kids might look at me the way I did to adults when I was their age. What if I screw up?? 

 

I don't think there's a magical moment where you realise you are fully equipped for life.  But when I think back to my life 5 years ago, I realised that a lot changed in these past years and I didn't even realise it :) 

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I am 27. When I started my undergraduate, I had to take up a job at the same time to finance my studies. After I finished my undergrad, I got a full-time job and though I still live with parents, financial independence matured me in a lot of ways. Also, I stopped looking up to others for advice on every other matter and started making my own decisions. However, when it comes to emotional maturity in terms of romantic relationships, I am still a giddy teenager and I absolutely hate it.

Edited by Sarah Bee
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I'm 25 and I still get carded.  In Wisconsin.

 

i know that feel, bro. i get carded every time i try to buy a drink, save for the couple of places here & towns i've worked in where i am/was a regular. when i'm home in nyc, once in a blue moon, i'll present my license and other forms of ID, & super anxious bartenders will still refuse to serve me. if i'm anything like my parents, i'll still get carded at 30.

 

anyway, as others have said, i think it's an ongoing trial-&-error process, with situations lacking alternatives & requiring self-responsibility to avoid tangible negative results being the most common catalysts. i had a precocious change in how i saw the world at a very young age. when i was 10 years old, i lost a paternal cousin in the 9/11 attacks, & some of my classmates lost parents. living in the wake of all that when it was just a few miles away really gave me a mental & emotional run for my money, & i didn't really have any support or guidance through my grieving process. in short, it made me decide that i wasn't at all religious in any way anymore, & made me wonder about heavy things like death, politics, forensics, feelings, etc. at a young age. in 20/20 hindsight, it was probably the age that the earliest signs of what would later become crippling depression & anxiety, so that certainly didn't help. i guess my point is that particular experience of mine is an ongoing one from which i still learn, in addition to it having set off all kinds of early growth in emotional maturity.

 

emotional maturity aside, the rest for me is mostly a byproduct of kicking myself for being an idiot, i.e., learning by experience, mostly in my teens. i was terrible with money as an undergrad; now, with loans in hand, my mind is on building good credit & staying financially independent. for academic maturity, i learned a lot as an undergrad (17 to 21). now, i can put the proverbial boot in my own rear end, so to speak; i've matured in the work ethic department by leaps & bounds in my early 20s.

 

also, it's easy to conflate maturity & "knowing what the heck is going on & what you're doing at all times." :) if there even are people in the world who've mastered the latter concept, they are few & far between. i think learning to strike a happy balance between a foundation of self-reliance & asking for help when you need it is more key than knowing the what-how-why of everything in "adult" life. it requires acute self awareness, & acute social awareness, too, which i think can really only be gained through life experiences.

 

(edited for brevity!)

Edited by pears
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I think you mature once you've experienced more of life, whether it be living on your own, traveling to other countries, dealing with tough personal relationships, etc. I definitely don't feel very mature, compared to the rest of the students that I've met during interview weekends. But I think that's expected, since I'm only 20. Don't worry about feeling young and immature. As long as you continue to grow, you'll be fine.

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I moved away from home for undergraduate. Not too far away (and only into student accommodation) - far enough so that I didn't go home every other weekend. In fact I only went back once or twice per semester in my first year, and I quickly came to think of my university city as "home". 

 

The process of maturation accelerated when I first moved to the USA by myself. I really had no friends or family to help me out here. I worked a full-time professional job for 12 months and had 100% responsibility for my finances. 

 

Actually, I think that I matured the most in the years between undergraduate and grad school. That was when I ballsed up my first round of grad school applications and wasn't admitted anywhere. I realised that despite making what seemed like a catastrophic mistake...the world kept spinning. What I thought would be a complete disaster was in fact salvageable and didn't derail me much at all. To me that is what maturity means: appreciating that mistakes aren't the end of your world. 

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26. Wait, haha.. I just realized I AM 26. Damn, this has been a long year. I don't know what happened but every year of my 20's I felt so "old". You know that "I am not a child anymore, but I still feel like a kid and want to 16 forever" feeling. Then 26 came and I really realized 1) how young I am and B) how much freaking time I have left to live. That creeping urge to find success, find a husband, make money, make a name, have babies melted away. I think that's maturity. Not a change in attitude, or feeling of "adulthood", but realizing and understanding your place on this planet, and where you are in your life.

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Luckily for me I was always kind of mature for my age: when I was pretty young I had to look after my much younger sister a lot, and my family faced some weird prejudice things from neighbors that probably exposed me to bad people a little too early in my life. It all made me understand the restrictions of adulthood very fast and as I grew up I had an easier time with things like jobs, paying bills, and moving across the country to a big city for  UG college.

 

I started reaching 'adulthood' levels of maturity junior year in undergrad (~20, 21). The situation kinda hit me over the head with "it's time to grow the f*** up," but that's okay--it was rough at the time but in retrospect I don't think I would have had it any other way. In general it made me much more perceptive, patient, and kind. Going through all that helped me a whole lot for after college when I had to deal with much more serious things like family and financial issues.

 

And of course, like every other human, I have my moments of giggles and fits, but I do what I can to at least pretend I'm being reasonable. :P

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I went through a pretty rough period too, and graduated late because of that. It made me grow up emotionally, and looking back I can't really believe how immature I was in so many ways. I've learned to not be a perfectionist, that you can't plan out your life exactly, and that the failure itself doesn't necessarily mean a bad outcome - it's about how you recover from it and what you learn. That's made me able to deal with setbacks in a calmer and more rational way, and I think that is a sign of maturity.

 

The biggest thing though was learning to take responsibiilty for my decisions and life. That's easier said than done, because I do think a lot of people go down the route of least resistance, whether emotionally or in terms of career, and to some extent that means you're not totally the one in charge of your life direction. UG was a lot of thrashing around learning how to stand up for myself and not cave to other people, which was really hard for me.

 

I think of the practical "adult living" stuff as independence rather than maturity. Yes, it was a big deal to go to college and start managing my own money, deciding how to use my own time, setting all my own services/accounts, but ultimately that novelty wore off! I was amused by just getting to do daily stuff for myself for about a year, and then I just got acclimated to it, and it doesn't feel like anything other than "normal." I don't know that buying my own groceries makes me a mature person or just a responsible one, but maybe the two are closely linked.

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