Researchers close to understanding when one is an ‘adult’

Xinyu Li/File

After months of intensive study, a new research team at UC Berkeley is close to discovering the exact point at which a person qualifies as an “adult.”

“There are many conflicting answers in this field of study,” said professor Holly Lee, chair of the UC Berkeley Department of Health and Medical Sciences. “The threshold of ‘adultness’ seems to depend on a variety of factors, from your own perception to legal boundaries, and sometimes it even seems to change depending on what country you’re currently in!”

In the United States alone, the legal “adult” qualifications encompass a stunning range of ages, from the driving age of 16 to the voting age of 18 and even to the drinking age of 21. 

Oddly enough, procuring a fake ID does not seem to impact “adultness.” 

“And then there are the high school and college graduation ages that add another layer of complexity to these ‘adulthood’ symptoms, not to mention grad school,” Lee said, noting how the variation in age got larger in the higher levels of education. “It’s like no one can make up their goddamn mind.” 

There have been signs that these mixed signals about “adulthood” begin at an early age.

“Mommy said that I was a big girl now,” reported fourth-grader Angela Walker, holding up both hands to show her vaunted double-digit age. “But then I still had to go to bed early.”

Even college graduates who are 22 to 23 years old are conflicted about their own “adultness.”

“I’ve struggled with my ‘adulthood’ qualifications since middle school,” said Felix Dawson, a recent Berkeley graduate who currently works with Lee as a lab assistant and test subject. “Now I’ve learned to cook, I do my own groceries, and I manage my own finances. It’s almost as if I’m an adult — nope. Nope. Still not feeling it.”

Though being a mature grown-up is traditionally seen as an accomplishment to strive toward, Lee expressed concerns about its potentially insidious nature.

“Our studies show that generally by the mid-30s, the early stages of ‘adulthood’ inevitably begin to manifest, almost like a disease,” Lee said. “As we learn more about this phenomenon, we will need to consider if that ‘adultness’ is a problem, and if we truly wish to continue embracing it.”

This is a satirical article written purely for entertainment purposes.

Contact Jonathan Lai at [email protected].