The prospect of moving away from home for the first time to go to college in another city, possibly another state, is both exhilarating and nerve wracking for students. They are excited to be on their own, but at the same time, will they be able to manage and get by without their parents and friends? That is what they commit to when they decide to move out.
Turning 18 and moving off to college is a rite of passage for students, but it comes with added responsibilities. Being 18 means being a legal adult. Legally, they no longer have to get their parent’s permission for matters. Being 18 means they do not need their parent or legal guardian’s signature on documents. They do not have to get home at a certain time. They can drive wherever and whenever they want.
At the same time, being 18 also means they cannot get out of trouble as easily. If they get arrested, they will be booked and will have to report to court. They can post bail, but they may have to stand trial, depending on what the charges are. They could face jail or prison time, and have to pay legal fees. If they had been arrested as a minor, they would not have faced possible incarceration or need to post bail. Instead, they would be returned to their parents and perhaps only need to participate in community service.
Parents cannot immediately rush to their 18 year old’s side now that they will not be living at home. They must trust that their child will make smart choices and surround themselves with healthy, supportive, and like-minded friends rather than be negatively influenced by others. In times when the 18 year old needs help, this is the fastest way they can get it. They can call on their parents as well, but it may be harder and take more time. Every college student should have a fun and memorable college experience, but that comes with responsibility.