Yes, you read the title of this post correctly. I hereby welcome you to Emerging Adulthood! You may be asking yourself: why not simply “adulthood”? After all, at the age of 18, one legally becomes an adult.

While the legal system views an 18-year old as an adult, I strongly suspect there is no significant difference between a 17-year old and an 18-year old. Magic, from a developmental perspective, does not occur on one’s 18th birthday.

The theory of Emerging Adulthood, developed by Dr. Jeffrey Arnett, describes the phase of life between adolescence and true adulthood, mostly agreed upon as the time between ones’ late teens and mid-twenties. This time in a young person’s life is full of identity exploration, values development, and instability, making college an ideal time for educators to reach out to students in purposeful and meaningful ways that assist in the journey.

As we learn more about how students develop, learn, and grow, application of theory can improve the college experience. One area where educators have developed missions to meet the needs of Emerging Adults is in student conduct. At many colleges and universities, the student conduct process (within the University) is generally founded upon the idea that students can learn from their mistakes. The focus is on values development and helping students understand responsibilities associated with membership of a community.

The criminal process (outside the University) usually takes a less development-focused approach. As an Emerging Adult at Loyola, it’s important to educate yourself about the laws of the State of Louisiana as well as the expectations of the Student Code of Conduct. We all make our own choices in life that each have the power to change our path. Tread carefully, keep your eyes on the prize, and before you know it, you’ll be welcomed to true “adulthood” with a great degree and seemingly endless possibilities.

For more information on Emerging Adulthood, click here to read the first chapter of Dr. Jeffrey Arnett’s most recent work on the topic.

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