The Downside to Defining Your Life Too Early
Oh, how lovely that free space looks! (google.com)
Once people graduate high school, what is the number one question people always ask them? What do you want to study? What do you want to major in? What do you want to do with your life? All these annoying questions that an eighteen wants to snap back with, I don't know! Why do I need to define my life's direction in the next fifteen minutes??
Though 50-60 years ago people were expected to have their complete identity achieved by the age of eighteen (this include things like ethnic identity, gender identity, sexual identity, and vocational identity) as well as knowing if one wanted to settle down, get married, and start a family by the age of eighteen, that's not so much the case anymore.
Previous psychologists once believed that adolescents go through something called Identity vs. Role Confusion and if they didn't seal an identity by the time they were eighteen, they experienced role confusion. However, recently, their have been many critics of this theory. One, saying that most people do not have a clear identity set at the age of eighteen and are still going through moratorium (the process of identity exploration) for many of these identities. Another, saying that emerging adulthood (ages 18-25) is some of the best time to explore these identities. Though we don't know if these differences are due to a change in culture or something else, but they're holding true for many people today.
So is it bad not to know what career path you want to take your freshman year of college. Secretly be annoyed when schools and other people are pressuring you choose a definite major right away? Be frustrated when people want to know your complete life plan is and whether you want to get married and/or have a family right when starting adulthood? Not necessarily. In fact, taking time explore different options can make a person more successful in the career world and more satisfied in their life choices. Because of exploration, they are more certain of themselves and their identities.