12 Comments

  1. I completely agree. As a fellow 20 something I think there is far too much pressure to “figure things out” and “grow up” I say we should all do things in our own time in our own way. Life’s about experience and why not enjoy as much of it as you can.

  2. I also read this article and thought it raised some interesting points. However, I think you would be in the same “stuck” spot you’re in if you had forgone grad school and jumped right into career/financially independent mode. I debated going to grad school after graduating a year ago, but decided to just see where the real world would take me. I’m a young-20 something gal facing the same problems you are 🙂 And the good thing is we’re not alone.

  3. It’s funny that I have never had ANY of these ‘tween’ sentiments. I feel like I went straight to adulthood (perhaps emerging adulthood) with no problem. I still go out and have beers, but I also pay bills and save for retirement. Maybe it’s because I matured early and didn’t really like staying out to 3AM drunk. But I do think going to grad school right after college is a big part of why you feel stuck. As soon as you manage your own money, I bet you’ll feel like an adult right away – but a fun adult that has more choices and freedoms. If you feel like an adult during the day, feeling like a college kid at night doesn’t make you feel less like an adult.

    • It’s not that I want to stay out until 3AM drunk either (I actually don’t miss that at all), I just miss the social community, am resisting the 9 to 5 workforce, and I hate that my body doesn’t feel young anymore (can’t eat or drink as much as I used to without feeling sick and always tired).

      And, you did have the period where you questioned your career choice and realized you didn’t want to work 9 to 5 either…

  4. Caroline

    I just found your blog and I’m so glad I did! I also graduated from college in 2004 and feel like I’m in the in-between type stage because I’m in a PhD program, so I’m still in school but it’s technically my job. I have a flexible schedule, but am still trying to find how to balance school commitments, work commitments, and time for relaxing and having fun. I have adult responsibilities and am financially independent but still (somewhat) have the student lifestyle, so I feel like I’m in between too but just in a different way.

    I definitely don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking time to figure out what you want and how you want to live your life, and what’s really important is finding a balance which works for everyone in his or her own life.

    I’m really enjoying your blog and love hearing your thoughts on the same topics that I’ve been thinking about lately.

  5. Girl, I read this article when it came out and I couldn’t agree more. I graduated in 2009, and since I don’t plan on going to grad school, I (thankfully) found a job that started right after graduation. The first month of adjustment was total hell, and now I don’t mind showing up every day, but I’m 100% sure that this isn’t what I want to do with the rest of my life. What’s more overwhelming (I think) as twenty-something is that if you want to ditch stability for a new adventure, everyone gives you the raised eyebrow, even if they know that the choice you’re making is the right one for you.

  6. I loved this post on emerging adulthood. As a mature, baby-boomer, I find it fascinating to read about ‘emerging adulthood’. My experience after college was along the ‘traditional’ definition of adulthood, i.e., I married right after college and went straight to work out of college.
    However, I can identify with your desire for time for personal exploration, instead of jumping into the workforce, marrying and having children. The world that new graduates face today is vastly different than in the past. In this time of economic uncertainty and high unemployment, the idea of attending graduate school right after undergraduate school and/or moving back in with parents should be acceptable, IF as you said, an individual concurrently strives to gain maturity (less partying and more personal responsibility), autonomy and financial independence.

  7. One problem is that we’re being compared to our predecessors. Consider our grandparents – most of them had one or two careers for life, and many of them with one or two companies for life. They graduated college, got a job, and then stuck with it whether they hated it or not.

    Now it’s more accepted, and even necessary to try multiple jobs and companies through your life. I think our culture actually encourages us to take our time to find our lifetime work.

    I also challenge any “adult” out there to define the exact moment when they felt like they were truly and adult. While some people would pick college graduation, I think that a much greater number of people go through a significant portion of their lives feeling unsure of their own maturity.

    Compare me to my fraternity brothers. A lot of them are still basically living a college lifestyle, having traded going to class with going to work. They still live day to day, drink a lot, and live dirtily. So you might say that I’m more of an adult than they are since I have owned a home, am opening a business, save for retirement, garden, keep a clean house, etc. But I don’t really feel that much of an adult. What will it take? Having a child? Even having a kid is a moment when a lot of people think to themselves, “Holy crap, am I really mature enough to do this?”

    Bottom line: it’s easy to have a debate about any topic in which somebody is being labelled or classified. Classification helps us order our world, and if it helps define our culture further by calling us ‘tweens, then I think that’s fine. Even if you disagree with the distinction, I bet you could still think of a list of ten things that define the ‘tween generation.

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