Photo credit: Youth.SG/Joey Yeo

Turning 20 is scary but don’t panic

Here are three reasons why we shouldn't be terrified about adulthood.

Amira Rahman
Amira Rahman

Published: 21 March 2018, 12:00 AM

If you mention anything about growing up and becoming adults, we youths would probably ask you to kindly stop talking.

There is a sense of dread that wells up within us at the mere thought of turning into adults. We are scared of having to shoulder much heavier adulting responsibilities, such as taking care of our parents and finding a stable job.

However, if we take a moment to think about it, we shouldn’t really be all that scared. Here are three things we managed to do as kids that would probably get us through adulthood just fine.

1. We overcame academic stress

No matter what older people think, schooling today is not easy.

We powered through ‘hell weeks’ on three hours of sleep every day, cramming technical terms and theories into our heads, and stayed over at 24-hour McDonald’s trying desperately to push out 1000-word essays due the next morning.

Sometimes, we were so tired we’d cry ourselves to sleep or have mental breakdowns in broad daylight.

When you consider how badly academic stress can affect the well-being of youths, the fact that we managed to get through those exhausting times says a lot about what we are capable of.


I remember almost passing out in school because I was running on too little sleep from studying until late at night.


2. We juggled high expectations from others…and ourselves

We all have parental expectations to live up to: be successful in future, contribute back to the family and take care of them…to name a few.

But there are self-imposed expectations as well. Personally, I need that sense of security that I have my life under control. This includes understanding who I am, and learning to love myself, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

I am sure most of us have similar inner demons to deal with. But while expectations from others and ourselves are hard to manage, what matters most at the end of the day is what you feel or think about yourself.

Hopefully, if you take things at your own pace, things will slowly but surely work out.


It’s normal to want to feel like you are doing something right with your life. You are not being dramatic.


3. We grew up embracing technology

To some in the older generation, technology seems hard to live with. It is something unfamiliar to them and requires time to figure out. They might also be a little wary of the way it is slowly taking over their jobs.

For youths, however, there is not much to be scared of because it has become part and parcel of our daily lives. From digging out information from the Internet to creating a whole website, we can actually do it all.

In fact, technology and the Internet has allowed us to explore our interests and exposed us to more job opportunities. For instance, there are many jobs now that exist because of social media, such as being a YouTuber or a social media consultant.


Compared to previous generations, I am pretty sure we have a lot more going for ours.
Photo credits: Youth.SG/Amira Rahman


Turning 20 might feel a little like turning ten, when you realised that your age just became a double-digit and suddenly felt really old. But this is a lot scarier, because you know you have to start preparing yourself to become a full-grown and functioning human being.

But think about it this way: you now have 20 years worth of hardships that you managed to overcome. And I think that alone can get us through the next few decades just fine.

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