01 Dec Adulting with Seraphina Sun
Adulting is not an isolated experience, it’s diverse. Everyone, no matter what part of the world you are from, experiences it. With this diversity comes a uniqueness, our experiences of adulting are often shaped by our families, friends and culture; leaving shades of differences between them. This is something that played on my mind as I approached my interview with Seraphina Sun. “I’m still under 18 you know”, she says while joking around with a piano, “not sure I’m an adult.” “Well you’re in the process of becoming one, let’s talk about that” I reply.
Damilola Ayo-Vaughan How do you feel about becoming a young adult?
Seraphina Sun: More freedom, I really enjoy the increased freedom. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and being able to go out for drinks with them. (She laughs). Oh my God, my answer’s so bad.
It’s okay, there’s no bad answer. I enjoy being able to go out for drinks with my friends too.
SS: (She laughs). At the same time though, becoming a young adult comes with more responsibilities. I need to look after myself more and to care more about my friends’ feelings and that of people around me.
How does your background affect your becoming an adult?
SS: Well in China, it’s quite different from the UK; I think in the UK once you’re above 18 you’re seen as an adult and are more independent. Your family gives you a lot of freedom, your parents kind of let you go and do whatever you want. But in China it’s different, I don’t think being 18 really means you are considered an adult. You’re still controlled by your parents. (She laughs).
So you feel it’s a lot more strict?
SS: Yeah. In China, there’s not really a big difference between under 18 and above 18. You’re still seen as a child. But in the UK, it’s completely different. Still, I really like the increased freedom that comes with becoming an adult, being able to make my own decisions and all.
Do you feel more tired though?
SS: Yeah I do. Being 17/18 means you are at the stage where you’re applying to university and I feel having to make decisions about your future and that can be tiring. Also, it is more stressful, having all that freedom means you have to take care of yourself more and rely less on your family.
So in that sense, you’re getting more stressed ?
SS: Yeah, definitely. I think to some degree the stress is more than the freedom, and sometimes I wonder if it’s really a good thing, becoming a young adult. (She muses). Are you 18?
Yes I am.
SS: You’re an adult then, I’m still a teenager. I don’t turn 18 until next October. But in your country what’s the adulting process like?
In Nigeria, I think it depends on your parents, to be honest. My parents are a bit relaxed with it, they’re not too strict. When you turn 17/18 they are more receptive to you going out and stuff like that. But obviously I can’t just be like ‘oh I’m going to go out’ and then just go, I still need to ask ahead and convince them. But I think, or hope, once I’m approaching 19/20 they get proper relaxed. But it ultimately depends on the parents. Some of my friends’ parents are quite strict with them, age notwithstanding. What’s it like with your parents?
SS: It’s different. The other day I was talking to my dad and was like, ‘oh, I want to make my hair different, maybe add a different color to it,’ and he just says no immediately, that I can’t do it until I’m like 20. I thought when becoming 18 I’d be able to do what I want but my parents are like ‘No, we’re going to control you until till you’re 25’. Chinese parents think you’re still a child, even at 18. (She laughs) So 18 doesn’t really mean much in China, your parents still control you.
Maybe I should come back for a follow-up interview at 25 then?
Thank you so much for your time.
SS: No problem.