Scared to Grow Up: Coming of Age


A grown woman still stuck in her childhood and still doesn’t know the first clue, but she’s okay with that. Photography by: Kayla Nguyen

The coming of age is a nerve-racking shift for many individuals. They lose their innocence, but through the process, gain more knowledge about the real world. Changes happen by nature, however, sometimes people don’t acknowledge the differences. Most often, the coming of age is idealized as a journey of accomplishments and finding love. But there is so much more than success and love; it’s a stage of curiosity and fear for what’s to come. 

 In the past, nobody was criticized for their actions or words, as much as they are today. Now, everyone’s issues appear to them as burdens. The insecurity of everything they do scares them. Youth seemed timeless and infinite, the presence of it still lingers as everyone grows old. Obstacles pop up once in a while, or all of the time for some. The aching emotions that are constantly felt–confusion, stress, sorrow–consumes one’s head when the thoughts of adulthood and responsibilities peer through. The growing pains are the building blocks to their future: what they will do, or who they will become. 

Every coming of age story is different. People are constantly convinced that they need to fit into a particular lifestyle and dedicate their time into being someone else. Looking at the big picture, this fearful transition is a time of involvement, improvement, acceptance of themselves, and finding their sense of euphoria.  

Different Definitions

Coming of age is perceived differently for every individual. There are many concepts that people associate with the coming of age. Some vary from reaching puberty, reaching a certain age, taking accountability for their choices, or it could be leaving behind  childhood. There isn’t one definition for the coming of age; instead, it is determined by oneself.

Downfalls of Growing up

People experience and cope with growing up differently. There are many hardships when it comes to growing up. On VeryWell Family, a site for parenting advice, Jennifer O’ Donnell, a writer specializing in tween parenting, expresses in her article, “a child in the midst of coming of age can be difficult, as they deal with broken hearts, disappointment, finding their own identities, and the challenges of increased responsibility–all for the first time.” 

Growing up comes with a lot of pressure and responsibility for many children, but this is the time to challenge themselves and sharpen those skills. This is the bloom of youth and the time to explore and find that happy medium. 


Not knowing what to do for the future, or completely blanking out when someone asks, “What do you want to do when you grow up” is totally okay! As time passes and years go by, our inspirations and motivations change. There is always room for modification, and it is normal to pursue new goals. No one knows who they are as a person better than themselves; because of this, they have the ability to choose their own pathway that will grant them happiness and satisfaction.

I don’t know 

What makes you happy?”

I don’t know.”

Sometimes not being in the know is okay. We often question our passions and that is completely normal. This time is granted to us so that we can broaden our horizons and go beyond what we are used to. On Forbes, Tami Forman voices in her article that “the idea that passion is a prerequisite to career happiness and achievement is off-base.” 

People often go for years without finding what their passions are. People feel fearful because they haven’t found their sole purpose. Our worries hinder our full potential to branch out and expand ourselves, but we should expel that reluctance and explore different options. We shouldn’t be restrained because of our concerns about what the future holds for us. Instead, everyone should take time to learn more about themselves and grow through their experiences because that is the purpose of coming of age.

Here at HBHS, students can check out the College and Career Website to discover different opportunities that can benefit them for the future and expand their knowledge of college and job opportunities as they find their own unique path and come of age.