“A lot of how kids find themselves by exclusion, as in ‘I know what I’m not.’”
 — Brian M., Psychologist

I’ve read several articles in the last year or so that indicate young adults are “taking
longer” to find themselves and figure out what they want to do for work.

And parents are kind of worried about this trend.  Fading are the days when you chose 
a career that you started right out of college and stuck with for twenty or more years. 
Perhaps this model still suits some young people, possibly fitting better with certain
personality styles.

Other young people are feeling pressure and disillusionment.  In high school the rub
seems to be all about getting into a good college.  In college, graduation usually means
“welcome to the world of responsibility.”  Is it any wonder that most young adults are
thinking, “Is this all there is?”

An audio program I heard the other day actually drew a frightening connection from
young adult disillusionment with expectations and responsibility to America’s unusually
high rate of young adult suicide.  In another example of handling the pain of pressure, 
an article from the May 21, 2007 Stanford Report relates the story of a girl with a
chatty demeanor, healthy physique and long sleeves hiding the word “empty” that she 
had carved into her wrist.  Now tell me – is all that drive to achieve
worth these risks?

I’ll be blogging more about this topic in the future, but for today,
two ideas come to mind.

Encourage young adults to pursue at least one thing that they really love; that they
really feel passionate about.  They may need help identifying what this is.  Don’t let life 
be all about the path of “shoulds.”

Encourage living in the present more than living in the future.  We have today. 
We are not in complete control. Everything could change in a day.

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in
Northern Colorado.  For more information on her book,
Stepparenting the Grieving Child, go to

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1 Comment on Teen and College Pressures

  1. Jun says:

    Yup! you are right. Encouraging young adults(oh and I am one of them) can really brighten up their confused minds…haha It seems I don’t have any clear direction in my life but I am happy because I am doing what I want to do and I am studying what I want to study.

    (I visited your website several times but I never found a way to make a comment. now I made one!)

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