It’s far from easy, being in your late teens or early 20s. All eyes are on you, it would seem, as you feel like you’re expected to choose a career, form essential relationships and launch an “adult life”. You are leaving the original support of childhood, and your primary task is to gain life experience in order to know who you are and where you want to go.
Yet college students feel burdened with the expectation to choose majors, excel academically and socially, and then to seamlessly emerge into the world of work with confidence and clarity. It’s no wonder young adults feel so much internal confusion around identity and their best path forward. In order to know who we are, we first have to have permission not to know. Social media and the accompanying social comparison, intense competition around college acceptance and then the job market all create an atmosphere that fosters self-critical perfectionism as opposed to self-acceptance and discovery.