The Conditions of Coming of Age

A strong emphasize is presently being placed on the current generation of youth, quickly approaching adulthood, to solve the problems of the world and surpass the progression of the generations before them. The weight of the world is literally put on our shoulders with the expectation that we will be able to change the world. The hardest obstacle twenty-somethings face, in graduated from high school to then working or continuing to receive a higher education then to join the work force, is independence. As Jennifer Silva states in her article Coming Up Short: Working-class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty, our generation has become a “’self-focused age’…learning to ‘stand alone’ and make choices and decisions independently” instead of investing in support systems and asking for help to advance into adulthood. My generation seems to be caught up in the logistics behind getting a degree and setting ourselves up to be successful people within society with solid economic stability. This pressure to uphold a higher standard is because of the proceedings set in place by the generations before us. Existing standards in the process of youth becoming adults has put my generation into some tight places.

One of the unique conditions my generation faces while coming of age is the need for work experience on a resume. Work experience specifically in the form of unpaid internships for college students is seen as being the ticket to success. As a college student myself, I have grown aware of the pressure placed on students, especially juniors and seniors, to enter internships with the purpose of expanding networks so as to increase the likelihood of securing a stable job for the future.  Another condition placed on my generation when coming of age is the ability to understand the economy and how it affects you as an individual. By the time you graduate college, you are supposed to be able to support yourself and your lifestyle which can be tricky when you go from being a full time student to a full time job holder. Without support you’re left struggling to make ends meet, but if you do have the support sometimes the comfort of home becomes overwhelmingly too comfortable. In essence the conditions we face as a generation rising into adulthood, are all put in place to make sure that we do not make the same mistakes those before us did, but to also insure that we are happy with our state of being. As Ross Perlin states in the article Coming of Age in the Risk Society, coming of age is the process of “a drastic transformation in the relationship among selfhood, inequality, and emotion” it is this understanding of “emotional self-management” that ensures that the conditions we face day to day progressing through our lives will only have purpose if we are able to be emotionally sharp and mentally aware of our surrounds on all levels. The unique conditions we face as a generation are put in front of us to make sure we are doing everything in our power as educated individuals to do our part for the economy as well as society while making sure we are happy and doing what it is we want to do with our lives.


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