Monday, May 6, 2013


    I researched Professor Patrick Carr of the Sociology Department in Rutgers University. He co-edited the book "Coming of Age in America: The Transition to Adulthood in the Twenty-First Century". He is also currently working on a project which examined the experiences of young adults transitioning into adulthood in the Great Recession. He researches the three major classes (lower, middle, and upper) and how they have been affected by the economic crisis of 2008. 
    His background on the subject showed him to be knowledgable on the subject of young adults transitioning into adulthood. He was very informative on the subject and explained the comparison between the generation now and the young adults of the 1950's. He explained that at the time of the 1950's young adults were mostly "naturalists" which meant that they rushed into adulthood by marrying and settling down very quickly, normally right out of college. During this time, education for women was not taken very seriously. Women attended college for the sake of finding a wealthy and educated man to marry. There was no focus on the independent female self until now. This is the time of the "planners" which are people who wait and get comfortable before rushing into serious commitments and settling down. Planners are men, but also women who now take their education seriously. Professor Carr stated that the increase in college attendance and performance has increased in the past years due to women now attending college. He stated that within the past years, women are the ones to beat because they are statistically proven to be smarter than men. 
    On the subject of college in general, he stated that "it is part of growing up, but it doesn't signal the end part of a long transition" (Carr). College is not the rite of passage into adulthood as it used to be. He specifically stated that it is more of a "rite of passage for a select few" (Carr). Arguing against Arnet's point about the use of these years for self exploration, he stated that not all college graduates have the privilege of spending their time and money of "exploring" themselves. Here, he specifically meant the school dropouts, the criminals, the poor, etc. These young adults would not be able to afford to take time off of their lives to soul search. 
    With student loan prices on the rise, Carr expressed how he is not looking forward to the future of education for the sake of young adults. It is becoming more taxing to pay off the education needed to move on in life. 


   Students are not taking their education seriously which is one of the reasons why they do not find success after college graduation and therefore, do not make the income needed to pay off student loan debt and other financial responsibilities. The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), an exam given to students that tests their improvement and capabilities in critical thinking, complex reasoning and creative writing, has shown through statistics that college students in the bottom quintile are three times as likely to not find employment after graduation. Those on the top quintiles are students who found success after college. The better grades they received, meant the more they paid attention and took their studies seriously. With that, the more likely were they to have success.

Roksa, Josipa & Arum, Richard. "Life After College: The Challenging Transitions

of the Academically Adrift Cohurt." Change. 2012: 8-14. Print.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Argument and Counter-Argument

  I believe that college is no longer the rite of passage toward adulthood because it is not taken as seriously as it should be. College education is not the highlight of college years, it is the social life and freedom. Also, the financial set-backs push students back from settling down. Without students being able to deal with their financial obligations, they are unable to move on past young adulthood.
  Arnet stated that it is a positive that students take this extra time to stay back after college and not settle down so soon. He states that they use this time for self-exploration to understand themselves. Carr on the other hand believes that it is more complex for certain young adults to move on. Young adults that have criminal history or those that are financially unstable find it more difficult to spend their time exploring themselves. they can't afford the time spent to explore various options when they have no money to support themselves. For the young adults with criminal history, they are unable to fins many job opportunities as easily as those with a clean record.
  Arnet's argument that this delay in adulthood is a positive is fought against by Carr due to the consideration of the less fortunate and financially unstable. Not everyone benefits from this delay like Arnet states.

Final Abstract


  The transition into adulthood has been altered through the past generations. College once represented adulthood, but now it seems that it no longer holds true to its role. College led to settling down, which included getting a stable job, getting married, buying a home and having children. These factors have been delayed due to the financial effects of college. Student loan debt has left young adults behind in search of a way out into the real "adult" life. So, what is the current transition into adulthood? I believe that now it is the acceptance of responsibility, which includes financial obligations and consequences, along with taking higher education seriously. Those who took their studies seriously were proven to be more successful in their adult lives and were more likely to find a job. When young adults take on responsibility and take their education seriously, then can they really enter adulthood.

Link to Paper:


Arnett, Jeffery Jensen. Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens 
      Through the Twentie. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Print

Avery, Luther. “Top 10 Odd Puberty Rituals.” Akorra. 2010. Web. 20 Apr. 2013

Carr, Patrick. Personal Interview. 4 Apr. 2013.

Cohen, Patricia. “Long Road to Adulthood is Growing Even Longer.” Line by 
Line Archive.
2009. Web. 20 Apr. 2013 currentPage=11

Draut, Tamara. Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30- Somethings can't get Ahead. 
  New York: Anchor Books, 2005. Print.

Elkind, David. All Grown Up and No Place to Go. Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley,
1998. Print.
“Fast Facts.” Institute of Education Science, 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2013
“Price of Admission: America’s College Debt Crisis.” CNBC Special. 3 Jan. 2011.  
44 min. Video.
Roksa, Josipa & Arum, Richard. "Life After College: The Challenging 
Transitions of the Academically Adrift Cohurt." Change. 2012: 8-14. Print.

Smith, Christian. Lost in Transition.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. 

“The Swinging 60’s.” Slideshare, 2013. Web. 1 Mar. 2013.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


    I chose this image because it depicts how the road to adulthood has been elongated. There have been delays in common life events that used to signify adulthood. Such events are buying a home, marriage, starting a family, etc. There has also been dependence of parents to assist in paying off college debt. With the cost of higher education on the rise, young adults are not able to fully pay off their debt on their own, so they look toward their family for assistance. This cartoon shows just that. Young adults borrow an average of $38,000 from their parents to pay off college debt and for living expenses. Part of these living expenses may include taking care of a child, but not family. Since marriage is so uncommon for young adults just getting out of college, 40% of mothers become unmarried mothers. Marriage becomes too expensive, which is why it is delayed until about the age of 26. All of these factors create a delay in the emergence of adulthood.

Literature Review 5

    David Elkind, professor in Tufts University, is well known for his groundbreaking works on the dangers of "pushing down" during early childhood education. He states that teachers and parents could disrupt the education of children and distort their development of learning. He is well connected with the decline of social markers. His book, All Grown Up and No Place to Go, is about the pressures that society places on teenagers encouraging them to grow up into early adulthood. This leads to self disruptive behavior that has set the pattern of rushing into adulthood for the current day generation.
    On the subject of teenagers being pushed into the adult culture, Elkind states, With so many sexually active adolescents, with so many young people experimenting with alcohol and other drugs, the perception of teenage immaturity had to be abandoned” (Elkind 6). During the sexual revolution, the idea of what was acceptable and what wasn't changed drastically. Teenagers began to experiment with drugs and alcohol because it became the adult thing to do. Aside from that, sexual experimentation also became acceptable and even encouraged by the media. Teenagers slowly began to be pushed into the adult life, leaving their innocence behind. They were introduced to sex-education courses in high school which made them more aware of their nature. "Thanks in large part to television, films, magazines, and music lyrics, even young children are witness to brutality, violence, an sexuality on a scale that would have been unimaginable five or six decades ago"(Elkind 8). He goes on to say that "By the time they are adolescents, therefore, most contemporary teenagers have already been exposed to more violent and seamier sides of life than their parents and grandparents had seen or heard of in a lifetime" (Elkind 8). This concept of exposure being the utmost amount of information compared to those older (parents and grandparents) is generally very interesting. I like the idea that the youth will continuously know more and probably try more than the older generations have. This idea kicked off the pattern of ongoing experimentation that we see today. The exposure of adult content was geared toward teenagers, specifically though "soaps" and "soft porn". This rushed teenagers into young adulthood that normally deserved more time for transitioning. He describes this concept of teenagers being pushed into young adulthood and ripped away of their innocence.
This material, although dealing with teenagers as opposed to college students, connects to my research because it described the root of this pattern of society's influence on labels of age groups. Society played a key role with the teenagers after the 1960's. It forced them into young adulthood, but then current day society had been delaying the transition into adulthood from this state of young adulthood. These young adults are stuck in somewhat of a limbo between the two stages of maturity.

Elkind, David. All Grown Up and No Place to Go. Massachusetts. Addison-Wesley, 1998.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Literature Review 4

    Tamara Draut is the director of the Economic Opportunity Program at Demos, which is a public policy center in New York City. Her research primarily focuses on household debt in America. She has been covered by newspapers such as The New York Times and Wall Street Journal as well as appearing on the Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight and Fox News.  
    Her first book, Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30- Somethings can't get Ahead provides a look into the obstacles that young adults face after college graduation. She describes how a college degree is now the equivalence of a high school diploma and the reasons for it. Draut states that "piling up debt has become a new rite of passage into adulthood" (91). She goes into further detail of this concept by describing the jaw-dropping credit card debt accumulated in early adulthood. Quoting the Washington Post,  she says "The growth in credit card debt is about instant gratification and the inability to live within one's means" (Draut 92). Due to the popular and expensive charges such as car repair, travel, and the necessities for moving out, credit card debt has been the go-to "trust fund" for the past couple of generations. This material strengthens my research question because it explains the mentality of young adults. They pay with credit cards for items they are unable to pay off, not for a couple of months, and wind up collecting debt. This debt is what does't allow them to move ahead in life.
    As stated before, this attitude of piling up on debt through credit cards is one of the reasons why there is a delay in adulthood. She goes on to say, "Although debt-for-diploma is preferable to no diploma at all, heavy doses of student loans are causing more grads to report serious side effects" (Draut 98). These "side effects" include the delay of marriage (14% of students reported in 2002 compared to 7% in 1991), the delay of having children (20% as opposed to 12% is 1991), and buying a home (40% as opposed to 25% in 1991), all of which typically define the emergence into adulthood (Draut 98). Her concept is that this delay is due to student loan debt, which has dramatically risen in the 1990's.  This is due to Congress's establishment of a federal loan program that was open to all students, regardless of their household income. This was made to support the middle class, where families were unable to pay increasing college costs. In the long run, this led the middle class into serious debt. This information directly supports my research because it shows the percentage changes in graduates waiting until they move on with their lives to proceed to the typical "adult" steps. Buying a house, getting married and settling down is the epitome of emerging adulthood, or at least the traditional idea of adulthood. This describes the delays young adults and in and gives a direct reason why they are there.

Draut, Tamara. Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30- Somethings can't get Ahead. 
          New York: Anchor Books, 2005. Print.