Growing up emotionally isn’t exactly the same as how we physically age over time. You may be a full-fledged adult already but still have the emotional level of someone who’s way younger. Consequently, you can exhibit emotional maturity that’s way advanced for your age. Here’s how you’ll know you’re emotionally grown (or at least growing) up:
You fail, you learn, and then you improve.
In college, it’s pretty normal for people to fail. A lot. And it’s also normal to feel so lost and dejected after experiencing failures, especially if it’s your first F. When you encounter a bump on the road to graduation (aka you failed a test, or worse, a class), you allow yourself to bask in the negative emotions so you could consequently flush them out of your system, you look at your situation from a different perspective and determine what could be remedied, and then you proceed with Oplan: Get Back On Track. You don’t just wallow in self-pity, nor do you ignore the negative emotions that come with failing.
You don’t spontaneously bail on your important obligations under the guise of “self-care.”
Yes, it’s totally okay to refuse an invitation to go watch a movie with friends after school if you feel like your body can’t take it anymore. It’s totally fine if you say no to spearheading a major org project if you feel like you’ve already got a lot on your plate. Self-care, after all, is a priority. There will also be times when you can't avoid canceling at the last minute, but using self-care as a convenient reason when you knowingly procrastinated could also just be a sign of you not owning up to a mistake.
If you're prone to this, understanding WHY you procrastinate is key. An nytimes.com article describes procrastination as a tendency to get rid of the present obstacles instead of thinking ahead and focusing on how it will affect the bigger picture, a phenomenon they call the "amygdala hijack." Those who tend to procrastinate are more focused on removing what is hassle at the moment, even if the consequences could lead to an even bigger problem to deal with in the future. We may think that avoiding the hassle of commitments is a form of self-care, but emotionally mature people would know that it's not always the case and would focus more on the long-term effects of the action instead.
You analyze your situation before you react.
IRL reactions aren’t like the buttons we have on Facebook posts—you can’t just un-click the ‘Like’ button to remove your reaction. Once you give out a response to a certain situation, you can’t just take it back. Emotionally mature people know that it’s important to think about how to respond to certain people and instances before you actually externalize it. For instance, it might suck that your parents are being unreasonable for not letting you hang out with friends, or that a certain friend of yours is letting slip a secret you had told them, but before you lash out and subtweet them on social media, think about whether your reactions will only worsen the situation.
More than that, emotionally grounded individuals know that venting out emotions is important, but that there is always a proper avenue or place to do it.
You don’t get jealous or intimidated by other people's success, especially your friends’.
When your study buddy gets the highest grade in an exam, you neither feel overshadowed by their small victory, nor do you feel like you’re intellectually lacking just because they got a higher score than you. You genuinely feel happy for their achievements and cheer them on, the way they are rooting for you, too.
You are able to take constructive criticism with grace.
As a student, you won’t be able to please everyone around you, and you certainly will have room for lots of improvement. When a professor offers you constructive criticism about your thesis, you accept graciously without feeling like their opinions are an attack to your entire persona.