Emerging Adulthood by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett

Years ago, before the advent of psychology and other behavioral studies, there were only a couple stages to life: childhood and adulthood, and the transition from childhood to adulthood was quite abrupt.

Fortunately, things have changed. Not only has legislation helped us develop a better idea of childhood, but more importantly our understanding of human development has changed drastically. We have a better understanding of an infant’s development and cognitive abilities. We also understand the immense biological transformations within the system of an adolescent. The transformation into a fully functioning adult is very complex.

In recent years, the term “emerging adult” has, well, emerged. If you have read anything about young adults or college students in the past decade, then you surely have heard of Jeffrey Jensen Arnett. In fact, the term “emerging adult” was coined by Arnett through his research.

I have read a lot about emerging adulthood. I work with plenty of emerging adults. In fact, I apparently recently just exited out of emerging adulthood. And until I read this book, I simply considered the concept of emerging adulthood as a simple transitional stage or the short overlap between two stages. After reading Arnett’s work, I have definitely been persuaded into the idea that emerging adulthood is a legitimate stage in life. Emerging adulthood is not prolonged adolescence or a generational anomaly.

As our culture has evolved and personal achievements like education gets prolonged and marriage gets delayed, a new stage in life has been developed and it will continue for the foreseeable future.

This book is a must read for anyone interested in working with college students. I should have read it sooner. Arnett is one of the few, in my opinion, that sees emerging adults in a positive light and he has the research to back it up.

This book is great. It may not be a relaxing, sit by the pool book but it is very interesting.