Stage of adulthood


This study seeks to examine the stage of adulthood during which college students graduate from their program and move into the working world. Through analysis of previous research, we found that the right type of preparation can sometimes lead to a decrease in stress-levels upon entering this transition. There are also negative sociological factors that often lead to an increase in anxiety upon entrance into the professional world.

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Transition From College Student To the Workforce

As college enrollment increases in today's world, more and more individuals are finding themselves in an unexpectedly challenging transition as they move out of college and into the workforce. Thousands of students spend hours and hours in the classroom each year preparing for life after college by studying, writing papers, listening to lectures, etc. but many are surprised upon leaving college (CITE). The workforce and the demands on working individuals are multi-dimensional, involving far more than just academic excellence. Many graduates feel overwhelmed not only once they are placed in a job, but even before as they begin searching for job opportunities (CITE).

After spending four or more years of learning how to please professors and fill the role of the student well, it is often quite a shock to see how different the work environment is compared to college life. Instead of writing papers about practices and theories, it is now time to implement them into actions (CITE). Rather than receiving syllabi and rubrics outlining expectations for every area, you are now often expected to set your own goals and read implied expectations. Policies and procedures are not always spelled out for new employees, they must learn by observation and through trial and error (CITE).

A concept that provides a challenge for many achievement-oriented students is the idea that not only is paper work and technical performance evaluated, but also communication and interpersonal skills (Author, Feliciter, Year 43). In fact, people skills are equally if not more valued than other skills in some positions. Additionally, in the professional environment relationship dynamics is an issue now. In college, students had no boundaries concerning one another. In the workplace, all relationships must typically be held to a professional standard (CITE). A largely unexpected change too is the fact that colleges are made up of hundreds or thousands of people who have much in common, including relative age, their status as a student, general schedules, school pride, hobbies, etc. In contrast, sometimes a company will only hire one new graduate at a time so it is likely that an individual's co-workers will be at very different life-stages than he or she.; tThis can at times feel quite lonely and foreign (Author, Polach, Year 5). Through past research that has been conducted, we will attempt to understand what elements, both preventable and non, lead to heightened stress and what might make this transition more smooth and enjoyable for young adults (CITE).

One key influencing factor that has been being researched is job searching behaviors and personality. Does someone's personality make the transition more stressful? Has one strategy been proven more universally successful (CITE)? According to recent research, these factors, which have been largely passed over in previous studies, may be an influencing force. A sample was tested for characteristics such as proactivity, conscientiousness, and self-esteem. The results showed strong correlations between a high level of each of those traits and the number of job interviews and job offers one received (CITE).

In that particular study, the scientists also measured job-searching behaviors as a partial indicator of the level to which a person is considered proactive. Some specific behaviors include researching a company before interviewing, searching the want ads in the newspaper, and sending out a resume (CITE). The article states, “pProactive personality was significantly related to job search self-efficacy, which in turn predicted job search behavior and job search effort. Moreover, job search behavior and job search self-efficacy were significantly related to the outcomes obtained by the job seeker following his or her job search” (AuthorProactive, Year, p. 722). In a similar article concerning preparation for entering the workforce the author states, “It is a full time job to get a job! Students must be realistically prepared to become a proactive marketing agent for themselves” (Woods, Year, p. 74).

Another factor that has beenbeing studied within this transition is race and gender and their eaffect on the job search. We just discussed various behaviors related to lower anxiety and higher success when seeking out employment, now we will attempt to understand if race, gender, and other sociological factors play into the outcome of this transition (CITE). To start, the researchers measured dominant behaviors in each ethnic group. For example, the white Caucasian portion of the sample tended to use resumes to obtain employment whereas the Hispanic portion was more likely to network through friends and family when looking for employment (Mau & Kopischke, Year 4).

Once settled in the workplace, the study found significant differences between gendersexes when it came to income. Men, as previous research has shown as well, generally made a higher salary than their women counterparts (CITE). Similarly, African- Americans seemed to make a lower income as well. This study attributes these factors partly to the fact that women and minorities tend to choose majors that lead to lower paying occupations whereas fields like sciences and business are mostly filled with white men (Mau & Kopischke, Year 5).

In other research we learn that attitude and stress-level concerning the transition into a career from college may be affected by the family system in which an individual was brought up. One study looks at stress concerning the balance of marriage and having a career, and it found quite consistently that both male and female attitudes were significantly affected by the role that their mother filled in childhood (CITE). For instance if a woman who was about to graduate and get married grew up with a mother who worked full-time while simultaneously having a family, the student tended to feel confident about taking on both roles and balancing relationships with a career in her own life. Conversely, if he or she grew up with a stay-at-home mom, stress was much higher when thinking about the mixture of relationships and work (Barnett, Gareis, James, & Steele, Year, 8).

Lastly, an area that greatly affects stress-levels upon leaving college is the learning environment of the institution that the student is graduating from. How has the coursework and experience prepared the student for the reality of the workforce? Research shows that often, teaching style and curriculum can boost or deplete self-confidence when it comes to filling the role of a capable, young employee (CITE). One aspect of the curriculum that was studied was “Problem Based Learning” or learning in which the “teacher is the source of knowledge and information” (Author, Vaatstra, Year, p. 335). These categories are fairly self-explanatory; the first is very “hands-on” and incorporates many multi-dimensional projects whereas the second is the more typical lecture-based teaching. In the area of learning and teaching oneself how to learn best, these factors did not seem to have a great affect. There were areas that were significantly influenced, however. “PBL had a significant positive effect with seven competences. These are cross-disciplinary thinking, field-specific knowledge and methods, planning, coordinating and organizing, problem-solving ability, reflective thinking, working independently, and working in a team” (Author, Vaatstra, Year, p. 344). This is a very significant finding because a lot of stress in this transition of adulthood stems from gaining a lot of head-knowledge as a student but having trouble converting that knowledge into behaviors that help them with the practical duties of their job. Many college classes today are requiring field-experience hours, interactive labs, and many other experience-building activities that is now proving beneficial post-college (Author, Gysbers, Year 166).

Through great amounts of research and study, we are able to gain great insight into this exciting transitional time in young adulthood: moving from the university culture out into the real world. In summary, we have found that there are definite factors that seem to fill individuals with confidence and boost self-esteem (CITE). Some of these factors include graduating from a program that has offered opportunities to gain hands-on experience, exposing oneself to the realities of what to expect in the work place so that expectations are less likely to be disappointed, and having a proactive attitude and engaging in certain job seeking behaviors. There are also a few things that tend to increase stress and dissatisfaction upon making this transition (CITE). Some we have found include differences in salary according to minority or sex, feeling ill-equipped and under-experienced, and lastly, pressure that can stem from attempting to balance a new, full-time career and relationships or a family. It seems from the research that most of the negative influential factors are sometimes things that are unchangeable. The positive factors, however, are almost all things we are able to control. Therefore, exposure to this information while still in college could lead to a smoother transition out of college and into the workplace for many people (CITE).

Barnett, R., Gareis, K., James, J., & Steele, J. (2003). Planning ahead: College seniors' concerns about career-marriage conflict. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62(2), 305-319., doi: 10.1016/S0001-8791(02)00028-3

Brown, D., Cober, R., Kane, K., Levy, P., & Shalhoop, J. (2006). Proactive personality and the successful job search: A field investigation with college graduates. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(3), 717-726., doi:10.1037/0021-9010.91.3.717

De Vries, R., & Vaatstra, R. (2007). The effect of the learning environment on competences and training for the workplace according to graduates. Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning, 53(3), 335-357.

Mau, W., & Kopischke, A. (2001). Job search methods, job search outcomes, and job satisfaction of college graduates: A comparison of race and sex. Journal of Employment Counseling, 38(3), 141-149.

Polach, J. (2004). Understanding the eExperience of cCollege gGraduates dDuring tTheir fFirst y Year of eEmployment. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 15(1), 5-23., doi:10.1002/hrdq.1084

Schrader, A. (2008). Hitchhiking across cultures from the classroom to the workplace. Feliciter Magazine, 12(2), 43-46.

Woods, F. (2004). Preventing postparchment depression: A model of career counseling for college seniors. Journal of Employment Counseling, 41(2), 71-79.

Yang, E., & Gysbers, N. (2007). Career transitions of college seniors. The Career Development Quarterly, 56(2), 157-170.


This paper lacks organization and structure. Headings might be useful. APA requires two spaces between each sentence. This paper is not indicative of that. There are too many direct quotes. Paraphrased citations do not require page numbers, only direct quotes. Work on paraphrasing. I highly encourage you to refer to the APA manual for proper citations. There are very little citations and none of them are cited properly. This paper has very long paragraphs. Work on condensing them into separate paragraphs. Strikethroughs mean the reference was not cited in the paper, but in reference list and vice versa. All references used must be cited in paper and reference list.

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