By Nakoa Nunies | Staff Writer

College is supposed to be one of the most exciting times of your academic lives, where you are free to make your own decisions as an adult.

That is, unless you’re like me, churning through your first semester of college as a 17-year-old who still lives at home. Denied the freedom that most of your classmates have.

It is complicated trying to balance my responsibilities, without having the freedom that is supposed to come with it. I have the responsibility to be a student, a member of my family, and a writer for my school newspaper. At the same time try to maintain whatever sliver I have left of a social life.

Most of the struggles that students have are similar for the most part. We all have assignments to complete, papers to type, projects to finalize, and exams to study for. For each class we have, we are expected to complete 2 to 4 hours of school work. If you are a full-time student that could add up to a minimum of 16 hours of school work ahead of you.

As a member of my family, I’m also given more responsibilities than I care to handle. If you have younger siblings or kids you might understand how difficult it is to juggle all the responsibilities. The daily chores that I come home to after agonizing days climbing up and down KCC’s many stairs. Along with that, I must be a big brother and not only watch my other siblings but get along with them, even when I absolutely cannot stand them.

Meanwhile, I have my responsibilities at work as a writer for the Kapiʻo News. That has been lacking due to the fact that my personal life has compromised both my school and work life. No matter what kind of student you are, being underage has many limits that can seem unfair at times.

For example, you cannot open a bank account, schedule doctor or dentist appointments, go clubbing with your friends. You are also a legal minor so you must abide by your parent’s rules at long as you live with them.

This also means your parents have the power to still ground you while you’re in college or can take away privileges you may feel like you worked so hard to earn. Even when you really deserve to have them.

Recently I myself purchased a new iPhone 7 Plus with my own money, and my parents feel like they can still take away my phone if they feel so. Little do they know that my phone is necessary for getting group projects done at school and communicating between people for my job.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for the experiences that my parents have provided me with this past year, like helping me financially to enroll at KCC. As well as paying for me to go to California with them in January. But I would appreciate a little more freedom in the choices I make. Whether it’s staying out late with friends, or staying up late studying for finals.

Nevertheless, I cannot just go out into and make my own rules to follow because I’m not legal yet. I’m helpless in doing anything about it and can only wait til Dec. 13 till I can finally be 18 years old. But to my fellow underaged students, understand that the struggles we go through now can shape and build us into the potentially great people we can become in the future.