“Adulting” classes may likely be the byproduct of a generation raised by “Helicopter Parents”, parents who don’t encourage self-sufficiency as their kid matures. Many students’ sole responsibilities have been managing schoolwork and extracurriculars, punctuated with the occasional “clean your room”, yet rarely do students I advise have part-time jobs. And, until the shelter-in-place, when school campuses closed, many did not help with household chores, nor had free time in which to simply play.
Students with 4.0 GPA’s, earning scores in the top 1% of SAT and ACT, who on paper appear to be competent are often the least self-sufficient. One Ivy League student, in her first year, called the campus emergency services when she didn’t know how to use the washing machine. And, another student, who’s now earning his Masters Degree in Biomedical Engineering, in the first two months of his undergraduate studies at a research university in Ohio, called his parents in California to send him more shampoo when he ran out.
As a consequence of not learning “life responsibilities” as Millenials and Gen Z’ers matured, the current generation now need classes to learn how to live life.
While staff in community organizations, like libraries, recognize that young adults need lessons in being an adult, university professionals are also recognizing that part of their mission is helping students be Adults. Recently, the University of Southern California (USC) added:
A new, for-credit freshman course called Thrive focuses on emotional intelligence, healthy relationships, self-care, resiliency and human flourishingLos Angeles Times, July 14, 2019
Other universities, like Lewis & Clark College, require first year students, newly freed from their parents’ custody, to attend a series of seminars where they are introduced to various university resources and advisors, as well as learn to transition to life as an “adult”.
Millenials and Gen Z’ers have been tutored, SAT prepped, medicated, as well as protected in organized sports, play dates, and required character-building community service, and many are fraglie. They have little resilence or grit.
While the fact that “Adulting” classes exist indicates the current generation needs help, are we simply just doing more of the same coddling? Since the youngest adults among us have been protected—limited in their experiences of making mistakes, getting in arguments, scraping their knees and figuring out how to pick themselves up—then experiencing life is essential. “Adulting Classes” may be a placebo to transition kids into doing more for themselves, yet at some point they need to put on their Big Girl or Big Boy pants and be responsibile for themselves, or as Lewis Lapham said:
…take the college-boy thumb out of my mouth, come of age as an adult, acquire a grown-up taste for the unsweetened fruits of earned experience.Fortune’s Child, Lapham’s Quarterly, Volume VII, Number 3
Featured Image courtesy of El Dorado County Library
Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, is Educational Partner at Creative Marbles Consultancy. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators, helping nurture the next generation. You can contact Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org.