An 18th birthday is supposed to be one of the major milestones in a young person’s life.

The 18th birthday grants many new rights and responsibilities. At 18, a person can own property, apply for military service, serve on a jury, purchase tobacco and pornography, and drive unrestricted in most states.

But the 18th birthday can also be a source of anxiety for some, as they are expected to embrace the title of adulthood that has suddenly been dropped into their laps.

In PCC's center for the Arts building, Michael Newman works in the photography stock room Tuesday. As a young adult and father Newman says "Making your own decisions" is an important part of being an adult. (Charles Winners/Courier)
In PCC’s center for the Arts building, Michael Newman works in the photography stock room Tuesday. As a young adult and father Newman says “Making your own decisions” is an important part of being an adult. (Charles Winners/Courier)

Earlier this month, Rachel Canning, a high school student from New Jersey, tried to sue her parents after she alleged that they kicked her out of the house and cut off all financial support when she turned 18.

Canning attempted to sue for living expenses, tuition for her private high school, and access to a college fund.

The lawsuit was later dropped but the story garnered international attention and raised questions about how much parents should support their adult children.

Some choose to strike out on their own once they reach adulthood.

“I moved out at 17,” said Victoria Garcia, psychology.“My parents helped me out a little at first, but when I turned 18, I told them that I wanted to be completely independent.”

Another student who decided to grab life by the horns and move out on her own is Rose Mackenzie, undecided.

“I started working when I was 15 and when I graduated high school, I got a second job and moved into my own apartment,” she said.

Mackenzie said that her mother still worries as much as any other parent whose child has left the nest.

“She still worries about me, but she understands that I can take care of myself,” she said.

Sometimes a student has to leave home because their school of choice is far away from their home.

“I was already a student at PCC and I was on the basketball team when I turned 18,” said Kaitlyn Parks, kinesiology. “I already had a plan to move out because I’m originally from Barstow but I decided on playing for the Lancers.”

Parks and a few roommates found a place near campus but she says that her mother still helps her out from time to time.

“My mom still helps a lot because financial aid can’t cover everything. She sometimes helps with groceries and sometimes she gives me home cooked meals,” Parks said. “I’m her baby, so I know she still worries about me.”

Some parents don’t mind continuing to support their adult children as long as they maintain focus on their studies.

“When my parents sent me to school, they told me that I didn’t have to work, just keep my grades up and transfer,” said Jordan Griffin, visual communications.

The arrangement has paid off because he is planning on transferring to Grand Canyon University next semester, he said.

“My parents still plan to help me when I transfer, but I’m also applying for grants and looking into on-campus jobs,” said Griffin.

Some students stay at home and contribute to the overall responsibilities of the household.

“In my family, we tend to stay together. As of now, I still live at home but I help out with living expenses,” said Melanie Gutierrez, undecided. “After my dad passed away, I knew I would have to help more with expenses.”

Gutierrez said that being at home insulates her from a lot of stress as she pursues her education.

“I save money while living at home which makes it easier to concentrate on my studies,” she said.

PCC’s Women’s basketball coach Joe Peron believes that turning 18 is a still a long way from becoming a full-fledged adult.

“As a parent, I believe that at 18, you should take care of your kids like you did when they were in high school,” he said. “Eighteen classifies you as a young adult. And that means that they still need nurturing and as much as they don’t like to hear it, they still need guidance.”

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