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U-M PSYCH 250 - Emerging Adulthood: A Separate, Non-Universal Stage from Adolescence and Adulthood

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Patel 1Emerging Adulthood: A Separate, Non-Universal Stage from Adolescence and AdulthoodDevelopment Psychology 250 Interview Project #2By: Krupa Patel November 5, 2020Section 009Like Arnett suggests, emerging adulthood should be considered a distinct development phase,more specifically the “in-between” period from adolescence to adulthood. The Arnett (2000) article entitled, “Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties” describes adolescence as a period of exploration, but heavily restricted by parental oversight and a lack of independence opportunities, mirrored by similar societal restrictions in adulthood like marriage and having children. He argues that the phase in an individual’s twenties during which he/or she struggles with instability and identity exploration can be called the “roleless role,” because emerging adults experiment with a variety of activities but aren’t constrained by any sort of "role requirements” (Arnett, 471). Furthermore, emerging adulthoodPatel 2is unique in that it’s a stage characterized by change and exploration until people gradually find enduring choices of love, work, and worldviews. The interviews I conducted with 18-year old Samantha and 22-year old Alyssa drew me to conclude that college provides the perfect environment to explore new views, relationships, and possible future careers. According to Valliant’s theory, which identifies six critical adult life tasks, Samantha is just starting to develop an identity made up of her own values, passions, and beliefs, whereas Alyssa has allowed the development of intimacy with her long-term boyfriend as she now prepares for the career consolidation step after graduating (Interview Notes).It is arguable that that the transition to adulthood is socially constructed, defined by the boundaries set by parents during adolescence as well as the personal choices an individual may make. Samantha is an 18-year old freshman in college living with her parents currently. She doesn’t view herself as an adult, that which she defines by being able to support oneself financially with a reliable source of income. Alyssa is a 22-year old female who is a senior in college. Living with her boyfriend with a guaranteed job offer after graduation, she claims that she sees herself as an adult. Both interviewees described challenges and changes brought about by the transition to college: Samantha experimented with alcohol and smoking as she was exposed to new activities and norms in her age group, and Alyssa learned to be more independentas she started working two jobs to pay for her tuition and living cost (Interview Notes). Both described their college transition as a time of taking on more responsibilities, while being guided and held accountable by their parents. During college, Samantha was introduced to diverse perspectives and opinions that helped develop her own worldviews, which formerly aligned withPatel 3her parents’. She began to discover that her political and gender issue views differed from her family’s views when she broadened her social circle. Alyssa’s experience in college changed her view on the “right” path towards adulthood; she met people who dropped out of college, changedtheir career aspirations altogether, got engaged, went on to graduate school, and/or took semesters off. She described college as an environment with people from all walks of life on theirown trajectory, which taught her a lot about being satisfied with where she is in life rather than comparing herself to peers. Samantha and Alyssa are similar in the sense that they both grew socially by meeting new people in college; with the help of their sororities, both were able to integrate into college successfully through new friendships. However, they differ in their level of independency and vision of their future, which I attribute to their age difference and socioeconomic statuses (SES). Alyssa comes from a low SES background; thus, she had more responsibilities in college in order to support herself financially whereas a lot of Samantha’s responsibilities were still taken care of by her parents, who she lives with (Interview Notes). Alyssa, who has had a long-term boyfriend, also has a clear vision for her future when it comes to settling down and marrying. Meanwhile, Samantha is still unsure about the career she would like to pursue, much less the time frame in which she’d want to settle down and/or get married. From Arnett’s perspective, the scope of independent exploration of life’s possibilities in emergingadulthood is greater than it is in adolescence, but meanwhile these emerging adults have not fullydeveloped into adults because little about the future, such as career and marriage, has been decided with certainty (475). On the spectrum of emerging adulthood, Alyssa seems morePatel 4prepared and certain about her future whereas Samantha is still navigating her transition out of adolescence in her first year at college.It can be difficult to understand how one has changed while that change is underway, especially in a stage as dynamic as emerging adulthood. Samantha expressed in her interview thatshe is continually evolving and doesn’t anticipate having the same worldviews in the future as shedoes now. She was consciously aware of her changing perspectives and embraced the instability she feels in her current identity, attributing it to her growing, learning, and forming her own beliefs. Meanwhile, Alyssa found the interview questions to be a bit more challenging, since she finds that her perceptions/worldviews aren’t easily changeable now that she establishes herself as an adult. While she was aware of other perspectives, her own reflected more constancy, confidence, and assertion than Samantha’s.My main goals for my virtual adult daughter include making sure that she’s financially wise and stable, mentally happy and can manage stress well, and physically able to engage in healthy habits to take care of herself. My virtual adult has been facing some obstacles financially, due to having student loans to still pay off all while trying to find a place of her own. My virtual adult has also had a fairly difficult time figuring out how to manage the stress she is enduring, which could pose to be a bigger issue later on in life when full time work and her own family come into play. I felt like my daughter had fully became an adult when she was


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