Reflections of milestones associated with the transition to adulthood during COVID-19 pandemic

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Baus, Desiree
Hertzog, Jodie
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Baus, Desiree. 2023. Reflections of milestones associated with the transition to adulthood during COVID-19 pandemic. -- In Proceedings: 19th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University

In response to the novel COVID-19 virus, many state governments imposed stay at home orders that dramatically altered the ways in which institutions operate, forcing college students to adapt to different modes of communication, ways in which they completed coursework, and changes in dwelling locations. This study examined qualitative data obtained unobtrusively as course-required journal entries and with permission from the assigning professor and students. Five Illinois-based college students' journal entries from six weeks immediately following the mandated stay at home orders were explored to address how these adaptations affected their achievement of social-psychological milestones associated with the transition to adulthood. To explore how these adaptations manifested in their reflections of social experiences during the pandemic, 11 journal entries per participant were analyzed thematically in line with conceptual adult milestones associated with life course theory and identity development. Utilizing Microsoft Word and Excel, first order coding was completed "in vivo," and as categories emerged, conceptual frameworks were utilized to deductively organize codes into themes. Findings indicate that college students experienced hardships when adjusting to living in their parents' homes after having lived independently, felt socially isolated from friend and peer networks when separated from their college campus, and experienced struggles while adapting to the challenges of online learning. This study calls for more longitudinal research on the impacts of COVID-19 protocols on youths' transition to adulthood to better understand and predict generational differences.

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Presented to the 19th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (GRASP) held at the Rhatigan Student Center, Wichita State University, April 14, 2023.
Research completed in the Department of Sociology, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Wichita State University
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v. 19
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