Emerging adulthood is that stage in human development that occurs in “the ages between 18 years and the middle or late 20s when the adolescent is first becoming an adult.” (Stangor, 2010) It is during this stage that young people begin to form bonds outside the family, go to college, and get a job. Even so, emerging adults don’t tend to be fully independent and do not yet take on all the responsibilities of an adult – like getting married and having one’s own family. It’s not been so long ago that this stage has been defined. That is due in part to that fact that the lives after high school of the young generation of today is very much different compared to those of yesterday.
At least, it is so in Western cultures. Categorically, I’d be one of these so-called “emerging adults” and I’ve always thought that the best way to observe a group is to be part of it. And, as far as I can tell, in my country, things are very much different. Not so much as that emerging adults are not recognizable in our society but more like, there can be two types of emerging adults: (1) those who are in school and would have a successful career after and (2) those who have an early job and an early married life – much like the younger generation of yesterday; although, this one seems to be more of a really adult behavior.
This division mostly comes from stereotypes. In my country, and, probably, everywhere else, there will always be that major division of people between the affluent and the poor. The community that I live in is, generally, poor and, in such a place, one is either smart or not. But the rich and the smart would usually be put together by society and be expected to form the first group – those who will sooner than later have successful careers. This is because those who are deemed smart are expected by people to stay in school – mostly, by taking on scholarships. Those who are rich are expected to be in school simply because they have enough resources and funds. However, they are not expected to be looking for a job, the general population would expect jobs to be looking for them! So people have rather high hopes and expectations of them. These are the people who never get to have the burden of listening to parents’s speeches that sound like, “When I was your age…”
On the other hand, we have the second group: the ones who are expected to get a job and get a family early in life. These are the people who bear the burden of conforming to standards of the youth of yesterday. They are expected to be more “responsible and mature” by definition of parents who expect these children to follow their way, much like how an American father would tell his son, “When I finished high school, I moved out of my parents’s house, got a job, and became independent” and expect the son to be like so. This is because they are deemed to be less than smart so people tend to expect very much less of them. More often than not, these people didn’t even take a step or two in high school, let alone graduate. So, jobs don’t come easy to them and they would usually end up with the ones which are hardest but, at the same time, least rewarding. They are expected to simply get through everyday and not much more.
Neither picture looks perfect, they’re both much less than excellent. For the first group, the high hopes and expectations can certainly lead to some amount of pressure. For the second group, life can be rather mundane. As are most things, each has its own pros and cons. And, wherever it is, stereotypes exist and, sometimes, they have the power to drive the life of a society.
Source: Stangor, C. (2010). Introduction to Psychology. New York: Flat World Knowledge.