By the time you read this, I will be eighteen, which is a Very Important Age.

Technically, I’ll be an adult. But a week ago I was seventeen and only a child.

What happened?

Nothing. Nothing happened. But that’s the thing. Suddenly I have got privileges and responsibilities and what did I do? I lived one more day.

Freshman year I thought when I turned eighteen I would be ready. I would be an Adult, whatever that means. But in a lot of ways, I’m still a freshman. I still sing in the shower. I still have a hard time recognizing sarcasm. I’m about to go to college and become the New Kid, all over again. A lot of people will become the New Kid this autumn. Not just the seniors, but also the little freshmen coming up from junior high.

There are a few differences between the two groups—height, for one—but there’s a lot that’s the same. I can’t speak for all the seniors, but I can speak for senior-me and freshman-me.

Both are a little scared and a little self-conscious and give really, really awkward first impressions. The difference is that senior-me can see a little better, even though my glasses are a little thicker now.

Senior-me knows that I’m not alone. That there are other people out there who are a little scared and a little self-conscious and sometimes don’t really know what’s going on.

This weekend I visited my college-to-be, and I was terrified. What if they didn’t like me? What if I didn’t belong there? I was so worried that who I was wouldn’t fit in.

When I stopped to look around, it was obvious. Not the answers, but the fact that everyone else was thinking the same thing. We were all unsure about ourselves. We were all terrified.

But eventually, after enough sitting two feet from another, we finally managed to start sentences with “Hello, my name is . . .” And then we learned about each other. We relaxed. The nerves didn’t go away; I don’t think they ever will. But that isn’t the point.

I know better now. There are going to be times when I’m unsure about myself, just as often as before I became an Adult. They won’t go away just because I’m eighteen. And that’s okay. That’s how I learn. That’s how I grow.

This last Friday I turned eighteen and became an Adult, but that doesn’t mean I’m a Responsible, Mature Adult who Always Knows What to Do and Doesn’t Make Mistakes Anymore. It just means I’ve finally figured out that I’m not the only one who isn’t.