Hayley Baker


Emerging Adulthood is a fairly new developmental stage. It is distinctly different from other times of life due to five characteristics – identity exploration, instability; it’s the most self-focused tie of life, the age of the feeling in-between, and the age of possibilities (Arnett, 2006). However, emerging adults are passing through major life milestones five years later than previous generations, and overall have a directionless, ambivalent attitude towards the future. The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the emerging adulthood stage among students at Southern Adventist University (SAU) and how they perceive this stage of their lives. Findings suggest that there were differences in life perceptions between those in committed relationships and single individuals. Men also viewed their 20s as more positive, influential, and important than women did. In the qualitative section, the most prominent theme was to have a career by the time the participants were 35, and there was also an emphasis on identity and learning when participants were asked what their 20s were supposed to be. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Key words: emerging adulthood, life satisfaction, identity, life perceptions