By Kerbi Rucker
It seems like was just yesterday, we were in our senior year of high school applying for colleges. We had it all figured out.
I don’t know about everyone else, but I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. No one could tell me that it would change. But just three months into college, my once certain career path, changed. And after just one semester, I changed my major and started a completely different career path.
As time progressed, I continued to explore different career options, thinking that each one was the best fit for me. I was sure each choice would be the one. I didn’t realize it, but there are multiple students like this around the country. It’s not just by coincidence, there is something to explain it.
Human development scientists call it Psychosocial Moratorium. Psychosocial Moratorium is, “A period when adult responsibilities are postponed as young people try on various possible selves.”
We live in a society that forces us to feel like we have to have it all together by the age 25. This means having all our degrees and possibly romantic partners with the rest of our lives ahead of us.
But the reality is, that is not realistic. With all of the success stories on Twitter and other social media platforms, we can feel like we are supposed to be married with our dream house and in our dream career, but those are few and far between, especially if you are in college. Psychosocial Moratorium allows us the opportunity to figure who we are and try on many different “hats” without penalty, and it’s perfectly normal.
As a Human Development and Family Science major, I am afforded to opportunity to learn about the different stages in life and how people develop through them. The particular stage that I and most of my peers are in is titled the “Emerging Adulthood Stage”. This stage refers to people from 18-25 years old.
If have ever taken a psychology course, you have probably learned about Piaget and the guy who studied under him – Erik Erikson. Erik Erikson is responsible for developing the stages of Psychosocial Development.
According to Erikson, from the ages of 13 to 21 people experience an Identity vs. Role Confusion crisis. This means we are supposed to explore ourselves and develop a sense of who we are. In layman terms, we are all doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing.
Everything around us is convincing us that we need to get it together and get it together fast, but it’s a false reality that we don’t have to live up too. We are allowed to take our time and explore different careers, sexualities, partners, religions, and anything else we want.
Don’t worry though, I am guilty of it myself, you are not the only one.
I wonder every day, just exactly what my life will look like in 10 to 15 years.
Will I be doing what I set out to do in the beginning, or will I change my mind?
Will I be happy with the decisions that I make up until that point or will I be disappointed in myself?
And the answers to these questions are: We don’t know and we won’t know until we get there. The only thing we can really do is use this period in our lives and take advantage of it.
There is no other stage in our lives that we will be able to explore without consequences. So go after the major you think you would like but not sure if it is a good fit. Consider the career that might make your parents upset. Explore all the different religions. Do whatever you want and if it doesn’t work out, its ok – you have time.