I’m 18. I thought I was an adult.

Ronald - Rancho Mirage, California
Entered on May 28, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

My name is Amanda Caudill and I am seventeen, soon to be eighteen years old. I am a highly academic student, and always have been, which lead me to my scholastic destination this next year: the United States Air Force Academy. As a near-adult and soon-to-be military student, I understand the responsibilities that the U.S. government bequeaths upon me, and I understand the consequences of my adult actions. As an eighteen-year-old, an adult, I will be able to make decisions that can affect my life greatly; I can purchase and smoke cigarettes, I can go to a strip club, I can get a hooker in the state of Nevada, I can get convicted of various crimes and sentenced with intense jail time, I can vote for state representatives and the U.S. president, I can purchase firearms, I can get a credit card and start getting bank loans, I can invest in the stock market (even in the stock of an alcohol company such as Smirnoff), I can serve alcohol, I can die for my country in war, etcetera. Yet, I cannot drink alcohol at that age.

I believe that the drinking age should be lowered in the United States and perhaps follow Europe’s ways. Obviously, Europe is doing much better than the U.S.—economically, socially, etc.—and following its lead can start with lowering the drinking age. I’m not saying this because of naiveté—I’m not a teenager who only wants to party in life; I have traveled throughout various parts of Europe, including France, Italy, England, Greece, and Switzerland, among others, which all have a drinking age that is eighteen or lower. I have observed these countries and experienced their cultures firsthand, and I understand that cultivating teenagers’ minds at a younger age (for example, French parents start giving their young children wine with dinner) could give them the incentive not to drink as much when they get older. For instance, alcoholism would be less prevalent if people began drinking at eighteen and they would understand the responsibility that comes with drinking. I believe that the government does not have the right to delegate our rights over the age of eighteen if we are allowed to do a plethora of things for the country at that age. As an Air Force soldier, I believe in what the country has provided for me and the rest of its people; democracy has given Americans freedom and whatnot, especially when we turn eighteen! So, why not give us the right to drink? I believe that at eighteen years old, when I’m allowed to die from tobacco and war, I should be allowed to drink, too. Eighteen years old is the age when I’m considered an adult—I can purchase a house with a two car garage, purchase two cars to put in it, and drive myself to the airport and buy a ticket to France where I can legally drink—so making such decisions is only another significant part of adulthood.