For me, a difficult aspect of adult life has been the absence of time-defined phases. Previously, all of my life had been split up into different phases by school. Each year I entered a new grade with a set time limit. High school and college were both seen as four-year phases with set goals and plans. Then comes college graduation with no set plan after graduation. Some go to grad school or law school, some do a year of service, while others try to find a job and pay back their loans for their hard-earned education. There is no life plan where you work one job for a year, another for two years and then find your perfect job and get married in five years. Now, everybody has to find their own path which is both exciting and daunting.
Another adjustment me for has been finding solid community in the adult life. In college, my best friends lived down the hall and I would go talk or hang out with them whenever I wanted. However, I moved away from my college town and now am establishing myself back in Pittsburgh Now, if I want to see someone we need to use a few texts or phone calls to coordinate times when we are both available to meet, which are certainly less frequent than they had been in college. In addition, there is no established group of 20s adults who share my values and interests.
This is especially challenging in regards to faith. At college, I frequently saw many of my peers at daily Mass. Now, I am usually the youngest person at daily Mass by at least twenty years. Where are the young adults in our churches? They seem to be the overlooked group. We have CCD, high school youth group, marriage support groups and maybe adult education classes, which usually attract the more seasoned Catholics, but almost nothing for young adults, a point I believe that other contributors have touched on in the past.
With the challenges of finding my own path and making new friends I find that the best way to grow is to cling to Jesus. After all, he is constant no matter what is changing around me. I find that daily quiet time in prayer with Him helps me adjust to this new stage of life and also begin to see the plan God has for my life. With Christ at the center, I know that I am adequately prepared to face the challenges of living my faith as a young adult.
(How have you adjusted to the post-college world? I’d be interested in any ideas you may have on young adult ministry and adjusting to life after college.)