GROW UP: Prof finds students delay adulthood

The professor found out from students that they would only consider themselves to become "adults" after having children of their own.

A Georgia Tech professor says she discovered through a course on "adulting" that students define "adulthood" differently than previous generations.

When does one become an "adult"? 

Legally speaking, one is an "adult" when they turn 18. That would mean since college students are between the ages of 18-22, virtually every college student is, in turn, an "adult." But some college students aren't so sure of this. 

Rebekah Fitzsimmons, a Georgia Tech University English professor who taught a course in fall 2016 titled, "Adulting: Coming of Age in 21st Century America," told Business Insider  recently that during the course she asked students to say at what stage in life one becomes an "adult." 

Their responses were shocking. 

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"The vast majority of them said that they thought it was when you had kids of your own," Fitzsimmons said. "It wasn't graduated from college, it wasn't getting your first job. I joked with him that my definition was, you're paying your own rent, you have your health insurance. That's what I think being an adult is." 

"But they said, you know, once you have kids, that's it — you're definitely an adult," Fitzsimmons added. 

As if one assuming the role of "adult" only after having children wasn't eyebrow-raising enough, recent polls show that a growing number of young individuals are postponing parenthood as compared with previous generations. 

"In previous generations, that maybe happened a little bit sooner, a little bit younger, and there were clear demarcations for, hey, that person's a grown-up," Fitzsimmons told Business Insider

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The article in which Fitzsimmons is quoted also cited data from the Centers for Disease Control, which show that a growing number of women in the U.S. are having children while in their 30s because of more women waiting longer to give birth for the first time. Meanwhile, the number of women having children while in their 20s is decreasing. 

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