Are you an Emerging Adult?

Take this Quiz to Find out.
1. Are you between and 18 and 30?
2. Do you find yourself “between jobs” on a regular basis?
3. Do you find you move from relationship to relationship without
making a true connection with anyone?
4. Are you waiting to settle down and have kids —
or maybe deciding you might not want to have a family?
5. Do you feel like many of your peers are in
a different place than you are?
Do you feel like you need to catch up?

If you answered YES to any of these questions
you are likely an Emerging Adult and that’s OK!

Who are Emerging Adults?

Emerging Adulthood:
The Twenty-Something Stage of Life
Cultural changes have resulted in a new life stage between adolescence – what had been traditionally been defined as a state of preparation and socialization – and adulthood. “Emerging adulthood”, is a normative life stage characterized by:
diverse experiences lack of long term commitments unstable romantic relationships and employment The popular press tends to focus on the lack of commitment and instability of romantic relationships and unemployment of emerging adults.
Adolescence as we know, is a stage between childhood dependence and adult responsibility.

Sooo…. How Do I Know When I’m An Adult?

That question seems pretty common among 20-somethings right now. Often it is blamed on being a millennial but although one can argue that historically the transition from childhood to adult responsibilities was long, uneven and muddled, certainly in the mid-century United States it was pretty clear: you became an adult when you (1) finished high school (2) got a job (3) married and (4) had children.
Support is readily available for those that follow that traditional route. However this is turning out to be a minority of emerging adults 18-30. Counselors and Therapists are available in college but not everyone has a chance to enter college at a time when they are still figuring things out. Emerging adults in college with mental health or physical or learning disabilities often don’t have specialized counseling to meet their unique needs. Most colleges have Access Services departments to assist with academic accommodations but few have specialists in the developmental and disability or mental health needs of Emerging Adults with mental health issues and/or disability conditions. This is that is the Mission of Emerging Adult Counseling

Several societal changes have stretched the transition to adulthood out
and loosened the sequence. School has become increasingly extended.
Community Colleges have long since recognized this difference but are seeing more 18-29 year old students on their campus who are taking their time finishing their education often due to barriers that have excluded students in the past.
Students with disabilities and especially those with mental health challenges were discouraged from going to college and as a result left out of meaningful jobs in the work world. Through enhancements in high school and college services for students with disabilities more students are graduating high school and choosing college.

Although most adolescents finish high school and go on to college, only 59% of those who start a bachelors degree finish a within six years. For those starting at open-enrollment institutions such as community colleges, that rate falls to 32%.
Working during college has become a requirement for many if not most students to manage the rising costs of college. In Minnesota as in many other states, state funding for college has caused been significantly reduced. This has a greater impact on those from lower income families and increased expenses due to disabilities and mental health treatments and thereapies
As the age of marriage has risen from mid-century, many more people are having children prior to marriage, further complicating the transition to adulthood as people work to combine roles – for example, dating partner and parent – in ways that are not yet clearly defined.
Statistical Source: Nancy Darling

The Challenges of Emerging Adulthood

As many struggling twenty-somethings will tell you, freedom to explore has both advantages and costs. Emerging adults use mental health services at high rates than those older or younger than themselves. They have more mood disorders, greater anxiety, and higher rates of substance use.
Though many struggle to prepare themselves for gainful employment, it can be difficult for young adults to establish stable careers. The average emerging adult will experience eight job changes between 18 and 29 and experience at least that many changes of romantic partners. Change, for most, is stressful.
On the other hand, this is a decade characterized by optimism – change can also be change for the better. Emerging adults typically describe their future as one of possibilities and are optimistic about their long term success. One of the advantages having few ties is the freedom to explore. This decade is typically seen in which youth spend relatively less time helping others and more time focusing on themselves.

References:Arnett, J. J., Zukauskiene, R., & Sugimura, K. (2014). The new life stage of emerging adulthood at ages 18-29 years: implications for mental health. Lancet Psychiatry, 1(7), 569-576. doi:10.1016/s2215-0366(14)00080-7

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