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Description: I am writing this post on New Years Eve Eve (Dec 30) and thought it might be timely to link back to a series of posts I put up last year at this time. New Year’s often involves resolutions, stated intentions to do something differently and better than before. The previous posts linked in the Further Reading section below look at an area of particular interest to me which we could call developmental resolutions. Developmental resolutions are a way to talk about how emerging adults (18 to 25-9 year old’s) plan, commit to and engage in the steps they need to take to make the transition form childhood/adolescence to adulthood. Whether this process is examined from the perspective of Identity Development, Life Design, College/University preparedness or readiness (they are not the same), or whatever it is a process of, hopefully, thoughtfully examining your past accomplishments, your current interests and skills, the current world around you and where it seems to be headed in the future and making some developmental resolutions about your own career, relationship, and community/political future. This differs from earlier developmental moments (like starting to think symbolically at around 2 years of age or starting to think logically at around 5 or 6 years of age) that make it possible for you to see the world around you as it is more clearly. Rather, the developmental moment of emerging adulthood involves realizing that you can make you own clarity in the world. What does that mean? Well some data (an example) might help. Highschool guidance counsellors used to tell their students to pick a career and then go do it and that was good advice when the world was simpler and the pathways into career and adulthood more clearly marked and more stable than they are today. At least that is how it feels. You may have heard references to a 1999 study which stated that 65% of the jobs then grade school children would end up doing did not yet exist or reference to a more recent 2017 study which suggested that the percentage of yet to be invented jobs is now up to 85%. Now this may not actually be true (see Derek Newton’s article for a detailed analysis), but the general thought that it might be even a little bit true is making parents twitchy (to use a technical term) and high school and college/University students significantly more anxious than previous generations of students (see the Jean Twenge references below). What those who write about the jobs-no-invented-yet theme typically do not do is provide specific examples about what emerging adults can do about this developmental challenge, other than perhaps suggesting the development of a commitment to lifelong learning (which is not bad advice but a little vague). So, here is an example. The article linked below talks about how this precise problem is being addressed in the emerging photonic sector (using light, or photons, as an energy source rather than electricity resulting, potentially, in “light-based technologies [that] are energy-efficient, reliable and fast.” The article explains how industry and post-secondary institutions are partnering to provide training and development opportunities for current students and those already working to prepare them for coming-but-not-here-yet jobs of the near future. As you read through the article pay particular attention to what is suggests about what the developmental resolutions of today’s emerging adults might look like and how you can make some of your own developmental resolutions this year.

Source: Teaming Up on Technology, Ellen Rosen, Fast Forward, Learning, The New York Times.

Date: December 16, 2018


Article Link:

Even if you are not inclined to aim to enter the emerging field of photonics there are a n umber of potentially useful take-aways for you in the article linked above. First, it can prime you to read look and listen for references to similar initiatives in other areas, that may be of more interest to you. While it IS true that emerging adulthood involves charting your way into a future that you will make happen you may not be as alone in that as it might feel or as the 65% or 85% of jobs-not-yet-invented themes suggests. Second, the article suggests that while it may seem somewhat daunting to be designing your life in an increasingly uncertain world at least, if you are currently a high school student or an emerging adult, you have the time and the opportunity to develop and work on some wayfinding skills, unlike those already working in the world who will likely have to re-tool on the fly. Finally, there is also more specific advice in the article regarding the importance of including some training in “softer skills like public speaking, teamwork, and collaboration” in your developmental resolution plans. Maybe in the future it will be New Year’s all year around?!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How is being a high school student or an emerging adult different today that 20, 30, or 40 years ago?
  2. What are developmental resolutions and how do they fit it with one or another of the various theoretic accounts of factors within emerging adulthood noted above?
  3. What are some examples (you have heard about) of other areas of discussion and/or collaboration like those in the photonics domain discussed in the linked article?

References (Read Further):

Blog Series on Developmental Life Design


Degree of Independence and Social Media: Socio-Historical Impacts on Development in Emerging Adulthood

Twenge, J. M. (2017). IGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us. Simon and Schuster.

Twenge, J. M., Joiner, T. E., Rogers, M. L., & Martin, G. N. (2018). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among US adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 3-17.

Twenge, J. M., Martin, G. N., & Campbell, W. K. (2018). Decreases in psychological well-being among American adolescents after 2012 and links to screen time during the rise of smartphone technology.

Twenge, J. M. (2018). Amount of Time Online Is Problematic if It Displaces Face-to-Face Social Interaction and Sleep. Clinical Psychological Science, 2167702618778562.

Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2018). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 12, 271-283.