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Coming of Age Essay

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There have always been challenges that a young adolescent must make to become an adult. Whether it was one hundred years ago, or today in this day and age, the challenges are ever so present. Unfortunately, the challenges faced back then were far more harsh and difficult for the young adults compared to the present. They lacked the technology, resources, and knowledge we now possess today. Most jobs one hundred years ago had to be physically done by people, not machines, which the 21st century seems to love.

Although times are now different in the sense of materials and knowledge, the society and traditional structure of becoming an “adult” still stands; you get a job, you get married – you are an adult. There are plenty more things that need to be done and prepared for before even entering the work world, let alone becoming an adult. One hundred years ago, someone my age would have already been working on a farm or in a warehouse with production of some sort.

They might be already married with a baby on the way and one already born. Life was very out of the ordinary compared to what we are accustomed to today. A young person was considered an adult at a very early age, typically because he/she started working very young to provide for a family. Life expectancy one hundred years ago, if you survived birth without any antibiotics, was not very long. For women it was fifty-six and men, fifty-two. Due to the short-lived lives of parents, children had no choice but to learn how to fend for themselves in this wild world we call life. Almost all of these jobs, lacking any requirement for education, were not the safest, cleanest, or best paying jobs. Not everyone went straight to work; some had the luxury of going to school to further their education so that they may obtain a good, high paying job.

Those who were lucky enough to have the money to pay for an education are the ones who set the high demand for education in the world today. Only the children of the wealthy were educated, and they became wealthy as well. That was the mind set, which led to current day policy. Everyone goes to school. There are some people that go straight to work after high school. Similar to one hundred years ago, the jobs they obtain typically are not the highest paying jobs that require less education, typically are labor union jobs or “off the books” working. In this country, you need an education if you want to work anywhere, even at McDonalds. Education has become such a big part of the world today.

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