There are several recognized life-stages that we must all go through in order to grow from childhood to adulthood. These include infancy, childhood, and adolescence. However, new research shows that recent college-graduates and their peers are actually still growing and maturing. This new life-stage is called “emerging adulthood” and it explains why many recent graduates do not seem to be in a rush to grow up.
In the past, students made the “transition to adulthood” by completing five milestones: finishing their education, leaving their parents’ home, gaining financial independence, getting married, and having a child. In 1960, about 71 percent of people had reached these milestones by age 30; in 2000, this number was only 38.5 percent for women and 21.7 percent for men.
So what does this mean for those of us who have recently graduated and are in our 20s? According to this new research, 20-somethings’ brains are still developing and they are also exploring their own identities. This can lead to instability and a feeling of being in-between adolescence and adulthood. However, this age group also has a new-found “sense of possibilities” because they have so many options for what to do with their lives.