As one who teaches Americans in their twenties I was not surprised to read comments by Professor Jeffrey Jensen of Clark University who argues attaining the age of twenty in modern society has scant connection to what it formerly represented. In the past, become a twenty year old meant one had taken the first step into adulthood, it meant one had a steady job, it meant one was beginning to consider finding a steady mate and perhaps marry. Today, says Jensen, “I realized that twenty something doesn’t fit into any of the traditional life stages.” Of course, becoming twenty in 2010 America means there are no jobs out there, it means being forced to continue living with mom and dad, it means not being able so readily to pick up and venture elsewhere in America in order to secure work. It means going to college or hanging around the street corner, or knocking your butt out delivering pizza in order to pay the weekly bills. It means doubt as to future work, it means confusion as to which occupation to enter, it means feeling lost in a world that urges one to explore while denying opportunities for the exploration.
The modern twenty year old in America is simply lost and confused. They need a government equivalent of the old CCC which would allow young people to DO something that instills pride and connects them to American society. I doubt such programs will soon emerge.