What is up with young adults these days?

Anna Malesiewski, Editor-in-Chief

It’s clear that young adults today are struggling.  

To be fair, young adults have always struggled. There’s something about this stage in life and the expectation of finding yourself that’s bound to cause distress.  

It feels different for us, though. This feels worse than the stereotypical “twenty-something” feelings that everyone either expects or remembers. There’s something big going on, and the feelings we all seem to share feel unprecedented.  

Who can blame us, though? 

We’re going through massive inflation and a borderline recession. Many of us are stuck at home because it’s too expensive to move out, or if we were able to move out, we’re overwhelmed by the cost of living that’s higher than it’s been in years. It feels like I’ll never be able to buy a home or raise a family because everything is too expensive.  

We entered adulthood during a global pandemic, which brought financial, social, and physical health struggles. We lived in fear of us or our families losing our livelihoods. We were separated from our friends, families, and peers. Sickness constantly loomed over us, and it felt unavoidable that we or our loved ones would contract COVID-19 and die.  

Substance abuse runs rampant. It’s difficult to find a young adult who isn’t abusing some sort of substance. And if you pair that with the common horror stories of people dying from laced drugs, it’s a scary scene.  

While substance abuse has always been normalized in college, it feels heightened for us, because we have so much that we wish to forget.  

With all these things going on, it’s difficult to care for yourself or others. Because of this, many young adults use each other as a means to an end. Because why would we care about a future with another person when the world itself doesn’t even seem to have a future? Why would we care about building a life or a family with another person when it seems inevitable that we won’t have the financial means to uphold it?  

It’s difficult to find your way in a world that’s falling apart. I don’t think a lot of us even want to. 

This is part of the reason why the mental health epidemic is raging. How are we supposed to feel hopeful in a world like this? 

When undergoing the trials and tribulations of young adulthood, generations before us had the comfort of knowing that what they were going through wouldn’t last forever, and that everything would work out and they would eventually build beautiful lives.  

But that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for us. 

What if this will last forever? What if nothing looks up? What if our hopes and dreams will be nothing more than that?  

What if this is all there is? 

I urge parents and relatives of young adults to be compassionate. This is not the same world you grew up in. 

I urge my peers to not only take care of each other, but to take care of the world previous generations left us with, even if it seems hopeless.  

We are all angry. We can use it to our advantage.  

We can use our anger as fuel to create a better world than the one we inherited. We can use it to ensure that future generations don’t have to repeat our struggles.  

Even if it’s difficult to see, there is value in where we’re at now. We will be changemakers, if only we don’t lose hope.  


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