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To Sam

Growing up

Dear Sam,

I'm going to turn 18 in a few weeks and I'm really worried about it.

I still feel like a child and I'm worried that others around me (mostly my family) will want me to act and do things that a "grown up" would do.

Sure being 18 will be a big time in my life and I don't want to waste it, however this feelings of "oh god I'm not a kid anymore what do I do with my life now" is still there. I don't know what I want to do or what I want to be yet and everyone is saying I "should know by now" but I don't.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Everyone grows and matures at different speeds. We don't simply become mature overnight and we all keep growing even after becoming adults. It's okay to not know what you want to do with your life, no matter how old you are.

It can be stressful when you start to get older as it can feel like there's pressure on you to do something specific. It might be pressure from family to take a certain career path or pressure from friends to do things with your time, like travelling. No matter what, you should be the one deciding what you want to do.

For some people it's not so simple as deciding what you want to do. Sometimes your family can take time to come to terms with you being old enough to make your own decisions. They might still want to try and help you, which can feel like they are taking those choices away from you. For others, it might be that their family is expecting them to know what they want and to have a plan of what they want to do already. Either way, it's okay to explain to people that you need time and space to make your own mind up.

Deciding what you want to do with your life is a big question. It might be that you never really answer that fully - lots of people don't. What you can do though is make sure you are happy with what you are doing with your life right now. This means different things for different people, but figuring out what you want to do with your time in the short term can help you understand your long terms plans better. Try thinking about getting a summer job, volunteering somewhere or starting your own project. We've got info to help you with your future and you can always talk to our counsellors too.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for your letter.


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