TAMPA (FOX 13) - Melanie Margolese says life in her Tampa dorm room is a much different experience than what she had back home in Palm Beach.
"I didn't realize that there was so much that life would throw at you," said the University of South Florida freshman.
She's now doing things on her own, like making a shopping list, preparing meals, and covering expenses.
"I do have to pay for my car, my gas," continued Margolese
It's a new reality, too, for fellow USF freshman Aidan Kelly.
"Buying groceries has been weird," observed Kelly.
And that's not the only thing that's changed since they turned 18.
"Before you're 18, you don't have the legal authority to make contracts, but after 18, you're on the hook," warned attorney Dane Heptner.
The Florida Bar now has an app to help young adults with their legal questions called #JUSTADULTING.
"You don't really have a whole lot of foundational knowledge coming out of high school and going into the adult world," said Heptner. "Student loans or they're entering into lease agreements and those are contracts. What are your responsibilities? The app walks you through all of that."
Some schools like USF offer free student counseling. There's help for financial issues, like budgeting.
USF also offers a free workshop for students who might feel anxious and overwhelmed by their new responsibilities. It's called Move Forward.
"Students can come and learn some essential skills to basically deal with their life,” explained USF psychologist Dr. Nick Joyce, who leads the workshop.
Young adults have different struggles now than prior generations.
"A lot of students now, because they've heard stories from their older siblings or their parents or other people in their life having difficulties with too much student loans or finding a job in their field, they're dealing with a lot more anxiety in general than I did," said Dr. Joyce.
Margolese and Kelly said they have seen the fallout.
"I have friends who are struggling," said Kelly.
"I actually have friends who are not here anymore because they got really homesick or they had to take a little break and go back," said Margolese.
"What I hope students take from this is that if you can deal with failure. You can deal with pretty much anything life's going to throw at you," Dr. Joyce said.
It’s advice Margolese and Kelly take to heart.
"Don't be intimidated by being an adult," offered Kelly.
"I'm really happy with where I am and I'm really excited for the future," added Margolese.