Plus there is the sudden onslaught of life skills that we have to learn to manage. Driving, cooking, laundry, jobs, taxes, manners, independence, studying, money management... some of us are more prepared than others but I don't think that any of my classmates have lived alone before, and everybody I've talked to is a bit nervous about going to college. Some of us are afraid that we won't make friends. Some of us can't tell our insurance card apart from our drivers' license. Some of us have never had a job before... A lot of my classmates are far more mature than I am but we're all still facing something new.
Growing up takes a really long time. Some days I feel like I could take on the world and other days I feel like I'm still in middle school. In our society, graduation is a rite of passage into adulthood. People seem to expect that a graduate will suddenly develop a grasp of the "real world" and conform to the image of the working adult or the energetic college student. In reality, however, I doubt that getting my diploma will make me feel any older.
My peers and I will have to just do our best to get jobs, to try to learn to cook, to try to improve our social skills and business skills -- I think that's how a person learns to grow up. And then there are the parts where we have to step outside our comfort zones: moving out of the house, traveling, taking responsibility for the effects of our actions, making important decisions... One day we might actually become the responsible adults that we're all pretending to be.