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How emerging adults can manage the uncertainty of the future [reading list]

Jeffrey Arnett describes emerging adulthood as a distinct stage of development from the late teens through the twenties; a life stage in which explorations and instability are the norm. As they focus on their self-development, emerging adults feel in-between, on the way to adulthood but not there yet. Nevertheless, they have a high level of optimism about what the future holds for them.

In the current climate, emerging adults are facing more instability than ever before. Whether it’s starting university, forging new relationships, or entering the job market – the uncertainty surrounding these milestones has presented many new challenges, and exacerbated the more common anxieties of adjusting to change. We’ve put together a reading list of books that address some of the key issues facing emerging adults – in areas such as education, work, relationships, and mental health – and provide advice and approaches for managing this turbulent stage of life.

Mood Prep 101: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Depression and Anxiety in College-Bound Teens by Carol Landau

This book answers the question most parents have – “What can we do?” – when it comes to college-bound teens who may be vulnerable to anxiety and depression. This timely book empowers parents by providing strategies for helping their children psychologically prepare for college and adulthood, as well as by addressing and alleviating the anxiety parents themselves may feel about kids leaving home for the first time. Landau shows parents how they can promote healthy communication and problem-solving skills, and how they can help young people learn to better regulate emotions and tolerate distress.

Cognitive Skills You Need for the 21st Century by Stephen Reed

How can young people today prepare for the workplace of the future? Stephen Reed discusses a Future of Jobs report that contrasts trending and declining skills required by the workforce in the year 2022. Trending skills include analytical thinking and innovation, active learning strategies, creativity, reasoning, and complex problem solving. This book aids undergraduate and graduate students in planning their education by recommending courses and projects that will help them to gain important 21st century skills.

Mindfulness for the Next Generation: Helping Emerging Adults Manage Stress and Lead Healthier Lives by Holly Rogers and Margaret Maytan

College students and other emerging adults today experience high levels of stress as they pursue personal, educational, and career goals. These struggles may increase the risk of psychological distress and mental illness. This book describes an evidence-based approach for teaching the useful and important skill of mindfulness to emerging adults. The manualized, four-session program outlined here, Koru Mindfulness, is designed to help young people navigate challenging tasks, and achieve meaningful personal growth.

The Science of College: Navigating the First Year and Beyond by Patricia Herzog et al.

This book aids entering college students—and the people who support them—in navigating college successfully, with up-to-date recommendations based upon real student situations, sound social science research, and the collective experiences of faculty, lecturers, advisors, and student support staff. There is no single template for student success. Yet, this book highlights common issues that many students face and provides science-based advice for how to navigate college. Each topic covered is geared towards the life stage that most college students are in: emerging adulthood.

Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens Through the Twenties by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett

In his provocative work, Jeffrey Jensen Arnett has identified the period of emerging adulthood as distinct from both the adolescence that precedes it and the young adulthood that comes in its wake. Merging stories from the lives of emerging adults themselves with decades of research, Arnett covers a wide range of topics, including love and sex, relationships with parents, experiences at college and work, and views of what it means to be an adult.

As emerging adults continue to navigate a difficult period, it is crucially important that they are able to maintain wellbeing and seek support where needed from those around them. These books have highlighted just some of the ways in which young people, and their loved ones, can implement strategies to adapt and build resilience.

Featured Image Credit: Image by Javier Allegue Barros via Unsplash.

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