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Hi Gen Zer, finding your way to adulthood tough?

Gen Zer's way to adulthood

A recent study from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education reveals concerning mental health statistics among young adults aged 18-25. The study found that 36% are struggling with anxiety, and 29% are dealing with depression. Contributing factors include financial worries (56%), pressure to achieve (51%), concerns about the world (45%), and feelings of insignificance (44%). Notably, the primary driver of poor mental health is a lack of meaning, purpose, and direction in life, reported by 58% of respondents.

Need to see beyond oneself

The findings emphasize the importance of understanding life as contributing to something beyond oneself. The study suggests that moments become meaningful when individuals see their lives intersecting with the hopes, joys, and pains of others. The concept of a “calling,” where personal fulfillment aligns with addressing the world’s needs, is highlighted.

The study’s implications are significant for Generation Z, as a lack of purpose is often coupled with the belief that others have already found their life’s direction. This perception contributes to anxiety and a fear of missing out. The article challenges the notion that purpose is a predefined destination and suggests that it can be discovered at every stage of life, potentially alleviating fears and curbing some types of depression.

Role of mentors

The author, a college president and father of three young adults, reflects on the role of mentors and the impact of meaningful questions. He encourages supportive conversations, emphasizing that life’s purpose is not a linear journey but a winding path with valuable experiences in every bump and valley. The author suggests that asking open-ended questions about joy and challenges, rather than focusing on majors or post-graduation plans, can lead to more reflective and meaningful discussions.

The article underscores the need for empathetic support for young adults experiencing a lack of meaning or purpose. By offering guidance, sharing personal experiences, and asking thoughtful questions, mentors and individuals around them can contribute to easing anxieties and fostering a belief that the journey to discovering life’s purpose is ongoing.

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