Emerging Adulthood- Opportunties

Dr. Jay provides an interesting depiction of the psychosocial challenges individuals
experience in their 20’s. She uses her experience in her clinical practice to illustrate some of the
major “pitfalls” she believes have the most significant developmental impact for those who are
in their 20’s. The three suggestions that she makes are: invest in who you want to be, branch
out from your comfortable inner circle, and be more intentional with your love life.
Investing in oneself can look a lot of different ways. It could be taking a few hours out of
your week to practice and develop a hobby. It can mean making active efforts to learn more
about nutrition and make healthier dietary choices. All in all, it’s simply the idea of taking
concrete steps toward realizing a clearer picture of who you want to be. It’s exploring but with
a purpose and while taking notes. This is an area of my life that I’ve already been trying to
improve, but hearing it from this TED talk reinforces my conviction. I don’t want to waste so
much time on fruitless endeavors. I’m guilty of knowing that I’m wasting my time and my
youthful vigor, yet justifying it by telling myself that these years don’t really count as much. I’m
making a concerted effort to limit the kind of thinking that excuses waste of time and to engage
in opportunities that can build me into who I want to be when I’m 40.
Utilizing one’s weak ties is a great social strategy. It increases exposure to different
opportunities. Being in contact with a friend of a friend can be the difference between getting
to interview for a job you enjoy and being stuck in a job with no upward mobility that you don’t
enjoy. Limiting one’s social exposure to solely their inner circle reduces the benefits to be
gained from a more extensive and enriching social environment. Exposure to people with
different working models of the world and experts at their perspective on it is a great way to
expand one’s horizons and consider different reference points and cultural understandings.
Personally, I actively try to maintain long-term acquaintanceships with people I come across. It
can be a useful social strategy to maximize future relationships. That person will carry a positive
impression of me moving forward, and this can lead to them keeping me in mind if they hear
about an opportunity I might be interested in. I plan on being more aware of this layer to social
relationships and to work on being more comfortable reaching out to people that are not in my
immediate social circle. I’ve spent a lot of time among the same groups of people, afraid to
make use of my extended social circle because I don’t want to seem annoying. However, I can
deal with this insecurity by making sure it’s a fair exchange and they can benefit from me as
The importance of being intentional in one’s romantic life during their 20s is another
point that Dr. Jay makes. My understanding of this is that we should spend our 20s paying
attention to what we want from a relationship with someone else. It’s a time to learn more
about who we are and what we want in the future. Spending it with someone we know we
don’t love is a wasted opportunity for self-reflection and growth. I hope to apply this to my life
by being more intentional in how I approach my current relationship. I want to foster it so it can
grow and be a tool to help us understand what we want from ourselves and each other.
As to whether I agree with TED… undoubtedly. I believe Dr. Jay provides an insightful
understanding of the developmental challenges 20-year old’s experience. It can benefit any 20year old (especially those that are socialized into expecting very little from themselves at this
age). It can also help those that are no longer 20 understand some of what they went through
and understand what 20-year old’s are currently going through. All of her points really resonate
with me. They echo my own frustration about the lack of understanding of the goals of this
developmental period. Our 20s is a time when we’re building ourselves up to be capable of
fulfilling our adult responsibilities – and I plan on continuing to set myself up for success.
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