Editorial

What does it mean to be an adult in 2020?

Graduating starts the transition to adulthood
Graduating feels like the first step in adulthood, though the ideals of being an adult has changed by 2020. Source: maura24 (via Pixabay)
Being able to achieve the stereotypical 'adult' status can be stressful. But, do you have to follow the old expectations in order to be an adult in 2020?

By Tirion Davies | Editor-in-Chief

University is the first step before your life as an adult begins for many students across the UK.

It’s the first time students leave home and have to do their own washing and cooking, and have to make sure they’re home by a reasonable time. University for many is the time where you learn responsibilities, learn to encounter resistance, and begin to understand how to live life through trial and error.

Being at university, or leaving university doesn’t necessarily make you an adult, however. Technically speaking, in the UK, in the eyes of the law, 18-year-olds are classed as adults. Forty years ago, the high majority of twenty-one-year-olds had a spouse and a home by the age many of us leave university.

These days, being a traditional ‘adult’ has taken an entirely different form. The job market is a competitive place these days, buying your first home is near impossible for young adults, and the average age at marriage continues to rise to around 35 years.

In the past, being an adult seemed a lot easier; the building blocks for adult life were easier to attain. But our societal definition of what it means to be an “adult” continues to change, and research is showing us more and more that being an adult isn’t quite what we think it is.

According to psychology professor Apryl Alexander, who works at the University of Denver in the US, the scientific consensus is that brains do not fully develop until age 25. As adolescent brains continue to develop, there is a heightened vulnerability to reward, which often drives risky behaviour.

Scientific research from the University of Denver notes that adolescents can “often recognise risks, but incomplete development of brain mechanisms related to modulation of impulsive behaviour reduces their tendency to heed those risks”.

Many students may feel they’re not ready to go out into the ‘adult world’ based on assumptions about what kind of a world that is. We’re used to seeing figures of ‘adults’ getting jobs, getting married, having children, and being generally ‘responsible’.

For some, these assumptions can damage their own view of themselves and make them feel as though they are failing because they are not adhering to the same narrative the adults around them have followed.

Social media is a perfectly crafted version of reality many middle-aged parents with jobs feel can be hard to achieve; it just isn’t real.

Being an ‘adult’ doesn’t mean what it used to mean. Achieving those quintessential milestones twenty years ago seemed easy; leaving university with a job offer these days feels like a miracle.

Some feel ‘adult’ by the time they leave school at age 16, and others don’t ever have the feeling. Social media can’t help, with its allure of the ‘perfect home’ and ‘perfect family’. It can be hard to see those images day-in and day-out and not feel as though you’ve fallen short.

There’s no right or wrong way of being an adult. However ill-prepared many feel, there’s no criteria or checklist for what you need to achieve in order to be considered a well-functioning adult.

You’re doing your best and that’s all you can do.


Prifysgol yw’r cam cyntaf i nifer o fyfyrwyr ar draws y Deyrnas Unedig cyn i’w bywydau fel oedolion yn cychwyn.

I nifer, y tro cyntaf yw hi i fyfyrwyr gadael adref a gorfod glanhau a choginio ar ben eu hunain. Y cyfnod prifysgol yw’r tro cyntaf i nifer dysgu am gyfrifoldebau, a dechrau deall sut i fyw bywyd gan wneud gwallau a dysgu ohonyn nhw.

Nid yw bod yn y brifysgol, na gadael y brifysgol yn golygu eich bod yn oedolyn. Yn y Deyrnas Unedig, mae’r gyfraith yn ystyried pobl ifanc un deg wyth mlwydd oed yn oedolion. Dros bedwardeg flwyddyn yn ôl, roedd gan y rhan fwyaf o ifancwyr dau-ddeg-un mlwydd oed cartref a gŵr neu wraig.

Dyddiau yma, mae bod yn ‘oedolyn’ traddodiadol yn wahanol i’r ffordd yr oedd hi’n arfer fod. Mae derbyn swydd yn anodd erbyn hyn, mae prynu tŷ yn amhosibl i ifancwyr, ac mae’r oedran cyfartalog y mae nifer yn priodi yn codi i 35 oed.

Yn ôl Apryl Alexander, Athro Coleg o Brifysgol Denver, nid yw’r ymennydd yn datblygu’n llawn erbyn 25 oed. Wrth fod ymennydd y llanc yn datblygu, mae’r ymennydd yn agored i niwed, ac yn fwy tebygol o ddilyn ymddygiad peryglus.

Mae’r ymchwil gan Brifysgol Denver yn nodi bod llancwyr yn “aml yn gallu adnabod peryg” ond bod yr ymennydd sy’n datblygu yn “lleihau eu tueddiad i adnabod y peryglon”.

Gall rhai myfyrwyr teimlo fel nad ydyn nhw’n barod i symud i ‘byd yr oedolion’ yn seiliedig ar dybiaeth o beth yw’r byd hynny. Rydym yn arfer i weld ffigurau o’r ‘oedolion’ tebygol, yn derbyn swyddi, yn priodi, ac yn fod yn ‘gyfrifol’.

i rai, gall y dybiaeth o’r byd yma effeithio ar eu barn o’u hunain a gwneud iddyn nhw deimlo fel eu bod yn ffaelu gan nad ydynt yn dilyn yr un adroddiant bod yr oedolion o’u cwmpas wedi dilyn.

Y cyfryngau cymdeithasol yw un o’r rhesymau pam bod nifer yn teimlo fel eu bod yn ffaelu. Mae cyfryngau cymdeithasol yn adeiladu’r bywyd perffaith, bywyd nad yw’n wir.

Nid yw bod yn ‘oedolyn’ yr hyn yr oedd hi’n arfer fod. Roedd cwblhau’r cerrig milltir o fod yn oedolyn yn hawdd dau ddeg mlynedd yn ôl; erbyn hyn, mae gadael y brifysgol gyda swydd yn wyrth.

Mae rhai’n cael y teimlad o fod yn ‘oedolyn’ wrth adael yr ysgol yn un-deg-chwech oed, tra bod eraill yn meddwl nad yw’r teimlad o fod yn ‘oedolyn’ wir yn digwydd. Wrth gwrs, nid yw cyfryngau cymdeithasol yn helpu, gyda’r ‘teulu perffaith’ a’r ‘tŷ perffaith’. Mae’n anodd gweld bod bywydau eraill yn berffaith; gall nifer teimlo fel eu bod wedi ffaelu o ganlyniad.

Does dim un ffordd ‘iawn’ o fod yn oedolyn. Er bod pawb yn teimlo’n anghyfforddus ac fel petai eu bod yn ffaelu, nid oes rhestr wirio o beth mae’n rhaid llwyddo er mwyn cael eich ystyried yn oedolyn perffaith.

Rydych yn trio’ch gorau, a dyna yw’r peth pwysicaf.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

css.php