Have you ever been called lazy, unmotivated, dependent or even useless? If so, and you are aged between 20 to 25, then welcome to the life of a young adult. We are constantly scrutinized for our attitudes, lack of determination and poor work ethics but are we really the problem?
The Australian Institute of Family studies summed up why by claiming, “adulthood is socially defined, with expectations about appropriate behaviors and facing up to responsibilities.”
Now, I’m not here to play the blame game but I am here to clear up a couple of things. I also want to give you insight into the life of a young adult who struggles with these expectations.
- Doing nothing
The term “doing nothing” could mean taking a break from university after studying for 2 years full time or going overseas to holiday for a couple of months with no work plans. The expectation is young adults will finish school, and either work full time or complete a university degree straight after. A few of my friends recently completed university after having studied for 5 years, none of which have secured full time positions yet. This is not from lack of trying or knowledge, but instead the scarcity of jobs in their industries. According to the Graduate Careers survey ONLY 68.8% per cent of graduates were in full-time employment by the time of the survey.
Our parents, siblings, tutors and friends all teach us certain behaviors, attitudes and beliefs to make us act a certain way. Whether we like it or not this is called social conditioning. I for one have conceded, and have become a product of this theory. However, when I complete my university I have no plans. Yes you heard right, I have absolutely no plans.
- “Generation Me”
Apparently being confident is now wrong? We are constantly told to strive to be the best and do what makes us happy but this isn’t right anymore. Generation Me, a book written by Jean Tweange identifies the characteristics of our generation. The studies found an increase in “self esteem, assertiveness, self-importance, narcissism, and high expectations.” My understanding of Jean’s research is that our generation does not want to conform and rather express individuality.
This is what brings us to self-identity, which is thrown around a lot when speaking about our generation. Becoming a young adult is hard enough as is, and with the added pressures of judgment it makes it more complex. This is also heightened online via social media. Amelia Harnish, a writer for Refinery29 captured this thought in the statement.
People are “constantly comparing themselves to not just their peers, but their peers’ extremely curated, filtered, and increasingly glamorous social accounts.”
With the technological age and critics in the way, young adults are trying even harder to brand themselves. Young adults express themselves on these platforms to allow the community to view them in a certain way. Ultimately, this is where mental health issues can arise. I’m sure you’ve heard of the popular television show “13 Reasons Why”, well this is a great example of these events unfolding. What I’m trying to say is that young adults are already struggling with their identities, therefore let them figure out who they are by themselves.
- Wanting more
If you’re anything like me then you’ll know the struggle between spending and saving. Travel is always on the cards but your bank account says something different. The reality is working on a minimum wage and only getting 15 hours a week isn’t enough.
The fact is our generation wants more. We want to do more (but work less) and we want to do this in a short time frame. Paul Hudson enforces this idea in the Elite Daily article claiming young adults are moving back in with their parents to do more with their lives. Young adults have big plans, and need the cash and tools to do so. I guess we are kind of materialistic in that we want to attain more to do more.
Living as a twenty something year old in 2017 can be a struggle. We are scrutinized for what we do and what we don’t do. Authority figures like politicians and parents are constantly let down because they hold expectations that don’t align with what we really want. Nowadays, young adults are looking at making a mark in the world in their own unique ways.
So my advice is embrace where you are in life, do what makes you happy and screw expectations! 2017 is the year for realizing things.