Category : Young Adults

(WSJ) NYU Is Top-Ranked—In Loans That Alumni and Parents Struggle to Repay

Five months after Kassandra Jones earned her master’s in public health from New York University in May 2019, she still hadn’t landed a job in the field. She was staring down a six-figure student-loan balance and had to pay for rent and food.

So she sold her eggs. Again.

Ms. Jones first harvested her eggs before starting at NYU in 2017 to help pay for moving to the city, she said. She received a $12,500 annual scholarship and relied on $131,000 in federal loans to cover the rest of her tuition and expenses. She has given her eggs five times, including to an NYU fertility clinic, earning $50,000.

Now 28 years old, Ms. Jones is working freelance on public-health campaigns for nonprofits making about $1,500 a month, which isn’t covering her living expenses, she said. She is applying for new jobs and considering leaving the field. “There are definitely moments where that number just looms as this tunnel that doesn’t have a light at the end of it,” she said of her debt. “It feels like I’m kind of trapped.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance & Investing, Women, Young Adults

(Washington Post front page) College students struggle with mental health as pandemic drags on

People handed flowers to strangers on campus this week, and wrote encouraging notes in chalk. Students played with baby goats and tail-wagging dogs brought in to comfort them. Classes were canceled Tuesday, pop-up counseling centers appeared in dorms and concerned parents brought cookies and hugs to campus.

It has been a week of grief and disbelief at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There have been reports of two deaths by suicide since the semester began, according to the university, and an attempted suicide last weekend that prompted an outpouring of sadness and worry.

The reasons behind any suicide are complex, and little is publicly known about these deaths. But the response on the Chapel Hill campus has been immediate and intense. And it has resonated nationally, coming at a time when many young people are feeling particularly burdened.

College students nationwide are more stressed — with the coronavirus pandemic adding loneliness, worry about illness, economic distress, relentless uncertainty and churn to a time of life that is already challenging for many. Demand for mental health services had already been high, but a recent study of college students found increased levels of anxiety and isolation during the pandemic.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Theology, Young Adults

(EF) Gen Z: the future of faith?

It is the generation growing up with unlimited access to the internet, provided with instant information and entertainment (‘infotainment’) and unprecedented online connection; but it also has the highest levels of loneliness, social anxiety and mental health issues.

Generation Z, or iGen, as some have dubbed them, is generally defined as those born between 1996 and 2010.

Although of course it is arbitrary to draw a strict line between the profile of those born from one year and another, the characteristics of this generation have evolved from those of Millennials, the previous generation (born between 1981and 1995), creating notable differences which are resulting in new experiences and outlooks.

The period of emerging adulthood that many Gen Zs are currently experiencing is fraught with challenges faced by humans for the very first time.

They have more choice and freedom than ever before, yet are paralysed with doubt.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(CT) Evangelical Colleges Join Effort to Promote Vaccination

Dozens of evangelical schools belonging to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) have joined an interfaith effort called Faith in the Vaccine, designed to recruit students and faculty to help inform their communities about vaccination and recognize the role religious identity might play in people’s hesitation.

“This was not about hounding people into getting the vaccine or shaming them if they were hesitant,” said Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith Youth Corps (IFYC), which launched the effort last spring and has disbursed $4 million to fund the campaign so far. “It was very much about engaging with great respect and sensitivity … and helping them kind of talk their own way into vaccination.”

Nearly 50 CCCU member schools signed up for the program. IFYC, along with medical professionals from the Rush University Medical School, trained campus ambassadors in conversational tactics and medical information about the vaccines.

But what started out as a campaign to promote education around vaccination within these faith communities has shifted to efforts to actually get shots in arms. The Faith in the Vaccine ambassadors, according to IFYC, have helped promote or host hundreds of clinics and events across the country, accounting for an estimated 10,000 or more vaccinations.

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Posted in Education, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Young Adults

(Guardian) Four in 10 young people fear having children due to climate crisis

Four in 10 young people around the world are hesitant to have children as a result of the climate crisis, and fear that governments are doing too little to prevent climate catastrophe, a poll in 10 countries has found.

Nearly six in 10 young people, aged 16 to 25, were very or extremely worried about climate change, according to the biggest scientific study yet on climate anxiety and young people, published on Tuesday. A similar number said governments were not protecting them, the planet, or future generations, and felt betrayed by the older generation and governments.

Three-quarters agreed with the statement “the future is frightening”, and more than half felt they would have fewer opportunities than their parents. Nearly half reported feeling distressed or anxious about the climate in a way that was affecting their daily lives and functioning.

The poll of about 10,000 young people covered Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Portugal, the UK and the US. It was paid for by the campaigning organisation Avaaz.

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Posted in Children, Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Marriage & Family, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

(WSJ) A Generation of American Men Give Up on College: ‘I Just Feel Lost’

Men are abandoning higher education in such numbers that they now trail female college students by record levels.

At the close of the 2020-21 academic year, women made up 59.5% of college students, an all-time high, and men 40.5%, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit research group. U.S. colleges and universities had 1.5 million fewer students compared with five years ago, and men accounted for 71% of the decline, the Journal analysis found.

This education gap, which holds at both two- and four-year colleges, has been slowly widening for 40 years. The divergence increases at graduation: After six years of college, 65% of women in the U.S. who started a four-year university in 2012 received diplomas by 2018 compared with 59% of men during the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

In the next few years, two women will earn a college degree for every man, if the trend continues, said Douglas Shapiro, executive director of the research center at the National Student Clearinghouse.

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Posted in Education, Men, Young Adults

(NBC) Team USA’s Regan Smith Helping Lead Next Generation Of Swimmers

“Among the 11 teenagers swimming for Team USA is Regan Smith, who set three world records in backstroke when she was just 17. Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, she spoke with NBC News’ Vicky Nguyen about her journey to the pool, how the pandemic affected her and what it takes to become an Olympian.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Japan, Sports, Women, Young Adults

(AP) Court Upholds Ruling in Favor of InterVarsity at U of Iowa–“We are hard-pressed to find a clearer example of viewpoint discrimination”

Attorneys with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office listed on court filings as representing the university in the lawsuit did not immediately return phone messages Friday seeking comment.

A UI spokeswoman, Anne Bassett, said in an email Friday afternoon that the university “respects the decision of the court and will move forward in accordance with the decision.”

Daniel Blomberg, an attorney for InterVarsity, said Friday’s ruling puts other schools on notice.

“Schools are supposed to be a place of free inquiry and open thought, but the school officials here punished opinions they didn’t like and promoted ones they did — all while using taxpayer dollars to do it,” Blomberg said.

Posted in Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(NBC) Boko Haram Kidnapping Survivors Now Pursuing Graduate Degrees To Help Others

“Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu were among the hundreds of girls kidnapped in 2014 by Boko Haram in Nigeria. After escaping, both women have now graduated from Florida’s Southeastern University and plan to pursue graduate degrees. They’re determined to be a voice for those still missing.”

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Posted in Education, Nigeria, Terrorism, Violence, Women, Young Adults

([London] Times) Marcus Rashford’s mural has been restored — with more than a few additions

Many of the people present were local residents, but others had travelled from across Greater Manchester and even from Merseyside to show solidarity with the footballer and campaigner for free school meals.

Claire Conway, 40, had travelled from Bolton with her two sons, aged three and nine, to leave flags at the mural. Her eldest in particular hugely looks up to Rashford and the footballer has proven a fantastic role model.

“He has fed families, he’s looked after the community, and because he missed the penalty he doesn’t deserve — well, nobody deserves – any sort of racism,” Conway said. “What they did to this I thought was absolutely disgusting.”

Gesturing to the groups of people clustered around her, as children and adults alike pinned notes to the wall, she added: “This is Manchester – this is what Manchester does. We come together like this because there is no place for [racism] anywhere.”

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Posted in England / UK, Men, Sports, Urban/City Life and Issues, Young Adults

([London] Times) One Fifth of adults under 35 say they have only one or no close friends

The UK is in the grip of an “epidemic of loneliness” among the young, according to a think tank that says the pandemic may have worsened the problem.

The proportion of people aged between 18 and 34 who say that they have one or no close friends has tripled in a decade, the report from the Onward think tank said.

Those aged between 18 and 24 are now nearly half as likely to say that they often speak to neighbours compared with 1998, the research found. They are also a third less likely to borrow and exchange favours with neighbours.

Onward’s Age of Alienation report, combining data from official surveys with polling by Stack Data Strategy, says that declines in younger generations’ interpersonal social networks have become far worse in recent years. It says this suggests that the pandemic “may be contributing to an ‘epidemic of loneliness’ among young people”. The report calls on ministers to introduce national civic service for people aged between 18 and 35, with a voluntary expectation that every young person completes ten days of volunteering a year. Volunteers could be encouraged, the think tank proposes, by civic rewards that could be redeemed against student loan or training course costs.

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Posted in England / UK, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Young Adults

(NYT) ‘I Have No Money for Food’: Among the Young, Hunger Is Rising

Amandine Chéreau hurried from her cramped student apartment in suburban Paris to catch a train for an hourlong trip into the city. Her stomach rumbled with hunger, she said, as she headed for a student-run food bank near the Bastille, where she joined a snaking line with 500 young people waiting for handouts.

Ms. Chéreau, 19, a university student, ran out of savings in September after the pandemic ended the babysitting and restaurant jobs she had relied on. By October, she had resorted to eating one meal a day, and said she had lost 20 pounds.

“I have no money for food,” said Ms. Chéreau, whose father helps pay her tuition and rent, but couldn’t send more after he was laid off from his job of 20 years in August. “It’s frightening,” she added, as students around her reached for vegetables, pasta and milk. “And it’s all happening so fast.”

As the pandemic begins its second year, humanitarian organizations in Europe are warning of an alarming rise in food insecurity among young people, following a steady stream of campus closings, job cuts and layoffs in their families. A growing share are facing hunger and mounting financial and psychological strain, deepening disparities for the most vulnerable populations.

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Posted in Anthropology, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, France, Poverty, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

(PD) Timothy P. O’Malley–A Communion of Anxiety: Hookup Culture and the Impossible Horizon of the Future

For those of us who are married and with kids, these micro-transformations are most of our life. We change diapers, play endless games of horsey with toddlers, teach our kids to read and write, ask our teen the questions that matter, and endure the wrath of the same teen when we limit their use of a digital device. We do this because we hope in a future in which truth, goodness, and beauty will be passed on not by us but by our progeny. After all, we will be very dead. But the pursuit of wisdom will continue through our children, who hand on the gift of life to their children, and so on until a future generation knows us exclusively because of a seventh-grade family history project on the part of our great-great-great-great granddaughter.

All of this may seem a strange way to deal with hookup culture and an increasing fear of procreation. But if hookup culture and the anxiety of introducing children into this world is about fear of the future, then we must uphold the gift of commitment, stability, and those small acts of love that no human being will recognize as an accomplishment worth fêting.

It is precisely through these micro-transformations that a future will be created that is marked by generosity and communion. In other words, a future in which everyone will introduce children into a world that is very good.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Young Adults

(NYT front page) They’re Under 25 and Jobless, And Their Prospects Are Bleak

Young and eager, Harry Rosado never had trouble finding a job.

Fresh out of high school, he was hired as a sales associate in Midtown Manhattan at Journeys and then at Zumiez, two fashion stores popular with young shoppers. He moved on to Uncle Jack’s Meat House in Queens, where he earned up to $300 a week as a busboy.

Then Mr. Rosado, 23, was laid off in March when the steakhouse shut down because of the pandemic. He was called back after the steakhouse reopened, but business was slow. In August, he was out of work again.

New York City has been hit harder by the economic crisis set off by the pandemic than most other major American cities.

But no age group has had it worse than young workers. By September, 19 percent of adults under 25 in the city had lost jobs compared with 14 percent of all workers, according to James Parrott, the director of economic and fiscal policy at the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Young Adults

(Local Paper) University of South Carolina cancels spring break in hopes of avoiding possible COVID-19 spike

The University of South Carolina decided to cancel an annual college rite, spring break, to avoid a potential COVID-19 outbreak from thousands of students returning to campus after traveling.

The week of days off usually scheduled in March will be sprinkled throughout the spring semester, the state’s largest college announced in an email to parents and students Thursday. USC is calling the days off “wellness days” scheduled for: Thursday, Feb. 25; Friday, March 12; Tuesday, March 30; and Wednesday, April 21.

“I certainly understand your disappointment with this announcement,” USC Provost Bill Tate said in an email sent to university community. “However, I, and the medical community, firmly believe it is the right thing to do in light of the unprecedented worldwide pandemic.”

College of Charleston, South Carolina’s third-largest school, canceled spring break as well. Clemson University, second only to USC in enrollment in the state, has not announced a decision.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Education, Health & Medicine, Young Adults

Caitrin Keiper remembers Amy A. Kass, 1940-2015, “The Greatest of Teachers”

Born in New York in 1940, she was a bright light at the University of Chicago for 34 years, also teaching at St. John’s College in Annapolis and in various programs of the Hudson Institute in Washington. Notwithstanding these elite affiliations, she was democratic in her means and aims, a defender of the liberal arts as a heritage that belongs to and benefits everyone, with a sneakily elemental way of bringing them to life.

When I met Amy—then “Mrs. Kass”—I was a freshman who had crept into her class on King Lear where I did not belong, hoping she would sign my registration slip. She sternly admonished me that this was a class meant for experienced students who would all be held to the same high standard, as I turned myself inside out promising to make every effort to meet it. She peered down her nose at me, her face impassive but her eyes dancing. “I believe you,” she said.

What followed was a transformative experience. Her standards were indeed high, enforced by a finely calibrated nonsense detector, but raised by an even more finely calibrated radar for a promising line of thought. “Another sentence, please,” was her frequent rejoinder: You haven’t made your case yet, but I sense you have one in you. All the same, you needed both humility and pluck to make it. Naming no names, I knew one cowering student who always made a point of sitting next to her so as to avoid her penetrating stare from across the room. That stare could plow the earth out from under you if ever directed that way with disgust. But it never was—at most, with disbelief, and a pointer back to solid ground. Indeed, although she might be said to “never suffer fools,” she was always suffering fools, driven by a bottomless ambition that we could think and be so much better than we knew. Her eyes lit up with a kind of knowing surprise every time that faith was rewarded, as if she expected no less but still marveled at what was said.

As for the course’s content? That one tragedy, just the one, mined for all the treasure it holds. Is there even enough to go on, you may ask, twice a week for months in a single Shakespeare play? Oh yes.

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Posted in Education, Young Adults

(PRC) A majority of young adults in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression

The coronavirus outbreak has pushed millions of Americans, especially young adults, to move in with family members. The share of 18- to 29-year-olds living with their parents has become a majority since U.S. coronavirus cases began spreading early this year, surpassing the previous peak during the Great Depression era.

In July, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47% in February, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of monthly Census Bureau data. The number living with parents grew to 26.6 million, an increase of 2.6 million from February. The number and share of young adults living with their parents grew across the board for all major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, and metropolitan and rural residents, as well as in all four main census regions. Growth was sharpest for the youngest adults (ages 18 to 24) and for White young adults.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Sociology, Young Adults

(RNS) Tara Burton–How millennials make meaning from shopping, decorating and self-pampering

[Millenial]…’values hold that the self is an autonomous being, the self’s desires are fundamentally good, and societal and sexual repression as not just undesirable but actively evil. These millennials, which in my new book I called “Remixed Millennials,” are at once attracted to moral and theological certainty — accounts of the human condition that claim totalizing truth or demand difficult adherence because the challenge is ultimately rewarding — and repulsed by traditions that set hard limits on personal, and particularly sexual or romantic, desire.

That, for better or for worse, is where corporations come in. Increasingly, companies have recognized that there is a gap in the needs of today’s Remixed: institutions, activities, philosophies and rituals that manage to be challenging and totalizing while also preserving millennials’ need for personal freedom. It’s the dot-com bubble for spirituality, a free marketplace of innovation and religious disruption. No sooner does something become a viral movement than an ingenious startup finds a way to re-create it at a more profitable price point. (Columbia Business School is currently hosting an incubator for “spiritual entrepreneurs,” offering a certificate in spiritual entrepreneurship for those who complete a 20-week course.)

Consumer-capitalist culture offers us not merely necessities but identities. Meaning, purpose, community and ritual can all — separately or together — be purchased on Amazon Prime.

As journalist Amanda Hess wrote in The New York Times, “Shopping, decorating, grooming and sculpting are now jumping with meaning. And a purchase need not have any explicit social byproduct — the materials eco-friendly, or the proceeds donated to charity — to be weighted with significance. Pampering itself has taken on a spiritual urgency.”’

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Uncategorized, Young Adults

(Inside Higher Ed) A Yale University student voices her concerns about reopening campuses in the fall.

Special circumstances. I am an only child, and my parents have health conditions that put them at a risk of getting very ill. Who is going to take care of them if I am at college? Not their siblings, who are also high risk, and not my grandparents, who are in their 80s. What happens to students who suffer from underlying medical conditions? What about graduate students and nontraditional undergrads who have children? What if elementary schools do not reopen in the fall or close midsemester? What if we see more young children develop COVID-related Kawasaki syndrome?

Worst-case scenario. The death rate for university-age students is estimated to be about 0.2 percent, and the hospitalization rate is estimated to be 2.5 percent. At a university like mine, with a student population of roughly 13,000, we risk having 325 students sick enough to be hospitalized and 26 students die in a worst-case-scenario outbreak. Our professors, though fewer in number, face even higher hospitalization and death rates.

Is this a price we’re willing to pay? If the decision were up to me, I would say no. If a vaccine or effective treatment were developed between now and January, such deaths would be entirely needless.

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Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Young Adults

(NYT Front Page) Face Masks Instead of Frisbee: One College Envisions the Fall

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Fever checkpoints at the entrances to academic buildings. One-way paths across the grassy quad. Face masks required in classrooms and dining halls. And a dormitory turned quarantine facility for any students exposed to the coronavirus.

That was one vision for the fall semester at the University of Kentucky conjured up by a special committee last week — and not the most dystopian scenario.

In a series of planning meetings on Zoom, dozens of key leaders at the university, including deans, police officers and a sorority and fraternity liaison, debated whether and how to reopen its campus in Lexington, Ky., amid an active outbreak.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Young Adults

(CJ) The Therapeutic Campus–Why are college students seeking mental-health services in record numbers?

“I don’t know anyone [at Yale] who hasn’t had therapy. It’s a big culture on campus,” says a rosy-cheeked undergraduate in a pink sweatshirt. She is nestled in a couch in the subsidized coffee shop adjacent to Yale’s Good Life Center, where students can sip sustainably sourced espresso and $3 tea lattes. “Ninety percent of the people I know have at least tried.” For every 20 of her friends, this sophomore estimates, four have bipolar disorder—as does she, she says.

Another young woman scanning her computer at a sunlit table in the café says that all her friends “struggle with mental health here. We talk a lot about therapy approaches to improve our mental health versus how much is out of your control, like hormonal imbalances.” Yale’s dorm counselors readily refer freshmen to treatment, she says, because most have been in treatment themselves. Indeed, they are selected because they have had an “adversity experience” at Yale, she asserts.

Such voices represent what is universally deemed a mental-health crisis on college campuses. More than one in three students report having a mental-health disorder. Student use of therapy nationally rose almost 40 percent from 2009 to 2015, while enrollment increased by only 5 percent, according to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Pennsylvania State University. At smaller colleges, 40 percent or more of the student body has gone for treatment; at Yale, over 50 percent of undergraduates seek therapy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Young Adults

(IFS) Rob Henderson–Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Ended the Tinder Era of Relationships?

In December 2019, the height of the Tinder era, women and men were setting up multiple dates on the same day. People were sexually carefree, spinning the digital slot machine in their hands, wondering who they would match with next.

Fast forward to December 2020. People will be more careful about who they date because, now, they have to be more careful.

As I wrote in the recent IFS symposium, new relationships and casual hookups will likely decline during this pandemic because of the difficulty to enter the dating scene as bars, clubs, and restaurants have closed. But even after social distancing practices ease up, many people will continue to be vigilant about their sexual partnerships.

When people feel safe, they are willing to take more risks. But when safety is threatened, such as during a disease outbreak, people become more cautious. Indeed, research led by evolutionary psychologists Mark Schaller and Damian Murray found that in countries where pathogens are more pervasive, people are less extraverted and less open to new experiences. They also more strongly urge one another to adhere to social customs.

Furthermore, experimental evidence by Laith Al-Shawaf at the University of Colorado and his colleagues showed that people who read about a parasitic infection expressed less willingness to sleep with someone they just met compared with a control condition. In the world we lived in until very recently, more people were willing to jump into bed with a stranger. In this widely-read Vanity Fair piece about Tinder, for example, a man tells the author that he slept with “30 to 40 women in the last year.” But a recent study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine discovered that people are reporting a decline in the number of sexual partners, as well as a decline in sexual frequency. Additionally, they found that “most individuals with a history of risky sexual experiences had a rapid reduction in risky sexual behaviors.”

In the future, people may be more vigilant about coming into sexual contact with an unknown person. At least for now, Coronavirus has killed the era of ‘Netflix and chill.’

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Men, Psychology, Women, Young Adults

(1st Things) David Randall–Learning how to Die

How should colleges educate students? We have wandered a long way from what Michel de Montaigne thought should be the first principles of education.

For it seems to me that the first lessons in which we should steep his [the student’s] mind must be those that regulate his behavior and his sense, that will teach him to know himself and to die well and live well. Among the liberal arts, let us begin with the art that liberates us.

Montaigne did not mean “liberation” as the devotees of Paolo Freire’s pedagogy understand it. Montaigne wrote, “He who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave. Knowing how to die frees us from all subjection and constraint.” No education matters more.

Modern American colleges dedicate themselves instead to life without limits, and the cant progressive politics of our day. The mission statements sprawl, paragraph piled on paragraph. Bureaucrats and professors unable to edit themselves teach an object lesson in the fruits of indiscipline. “Virtue . . . is a state of character concerned with choice,” said the philosopher; and colleges unable even to choose one guiding institutional virtue educate their students to a similar incapacity to choose, to develop character, to live by virtue.

Of course, students miseducated in such a regime display little virtue in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. They have no knowledge of how to die well, or even that they should.

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Philosophy, Young Adults

(IBT) Indonesian Singles Propose ‘Marriage Without Dating’

Frustrated after a string of break-ups, Dwita Astari Pujiartati quit the casual romance circuit and turned to a growing trend among Indonesian singles — marriage without dating.

The 27-year-old professor exchanged resumes with prospective suitors — helped by a Muslim cleric-cum-matchmaker — until she was contacted by a long-lost acquaintance who also wanted to give contact-less dating a whirl.

There was no hand holding or kissing. The pair didn’t even meet in person for almost a year, chatting on the telephone instead.

“Once we felt ‘the click’, (my now husband) asked my parents if he could propose to me,” Pujiartati said.

The practice known as taaruf, or introduction, is derided by critics as old fashioned and more fitting to conservative Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia than relatively liberal Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim majority country.

But Pujiartati saw it as a way to ditch dating that went nowhere and be a devout Muslim at the same time by avoiding pre-marital touching and sex.

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Posted in Indonesia, Marriage & Family, Young Adults

(Sun Telegraph) Why millennial atheists like me are embracing church

During the noughties, many teenage contemporaries were attracted to the shouty certainty of the ‘New Atheism’, just as today’s youngsters choose the climate change pulpit to lecture older generations. Shamefully, I accused my mother – a consummate do-gooder – of child abuse for baptising me without my consent. The canard “If you’re not a socialist at 20, you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at 30, you have no brain”, may be trite but it reflects a fundamental truth; maturity often involves the realisation that we can learn much from the past.

Indeed, the Church of England still safeguards our architectural and artistic inheritance. National identity is inseparable from its defining texts, the King James Bible and Book of Common Prayer. It is impossible to interpret much great art or literature created before the 1900s without some Bible knowledge.

But perhaps the most important lesson is how churchgoing takes us outside the trivia of our own lives – the preoccupations and obsessions induced by social media and that sense of ourselves as the star of our own B-movie biopic. It enables us to escape – if temporarily – such narcissism, focusing on the wider world and taking a longer view. For me it is at least a partial antidote to the illusory optimism, anxiety and depression that has defined my generation.

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Posted in Atheism, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Young Adults

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Education, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Young Adults

(Church Times) Ruth Perrin–How faith survives the turbulent twenties

On the one hand, young adults are losing faith and leaving the Church; others are searching for meaning and belonging, and finding it in Christian communities. What is going on?

My research focuses on millen­nials, which I define as those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s: they are now in their mid-twenties to late thirties. Sociologists suggest that this cohort is not par­ticularly hostile to religion: rather, they are the inheritors of a century of religious decline. The mechanisms that reinforced a Christian world-view in the UK have been eroded, leaving most with no understanding of the basic tenets of Christianity.

Professor Grace Davie, of the Uni­­versity of Exeter, is correct: religious belief has become an option rather than an obligation — something that individuals may embrace if they are interested. But most young adults are not. They are also not interested in pretending to be something they are not. Authenticity is highly prized.

Professor David Voas, of the UCL Institute of Education, argues that, on average, people experience little change in their religious beliefs and practices once they reach their early twenties. He writes that “Church­goers in their twenties will probably continue to attend for the rest of their lives” (Features, 12 January 2018).

My research suggests, however, that millennials and “Generation Z” (those under 25) continue to explore faith for longer. Professor Jeffrey Jen­­sen Arnett coined the phrase “Emerging Adulthood” to describe the lengthening of adult identity-formation among today’s young. Many spend much of their twenties trying to work out who they are and what they believe, and so both convert and reject faith later than in former generations.

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Posted in England / UK, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(Guardian) The power of celibacy: ‘Giving up sex was a massive relief’

In a world where you can get a sexual partner faster than a pizza delivery, it has never been easier to play the field. Yet, despite all that swiping right, a surprising number of people are not having sex at all – not for religious reasons, or because they can’t get a date, but because they find that celibacy makes them happier.

Some have never had much interest in sex, while others are taking a break to address personal problems, recover from bad dating experiences or change the way they approach relationships.

Catherine Gray, the author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Single, gave up sex for a year in 2014. “Between the ages of 16 and 34, I hadn’t spent more than a few months single,” she says. “I felt incomplete without a plus-one and constantly hunted approval. I reached rock-bottom after being disproportionately crushed by the failure of a six-month relationship, so I decided to give up sex and dating for an entire year.”

Although deleting her dating apps felt like “giving up a drug”, celibacy turned out to be a huge relief. “Instead of doing what my boyfriend wanted to, I discovered what I liked, developing a love for yoga, photography and travelling. I dressed differently and no longer cared about attracting men. I started to see myself as a person – rather than a girlfriend or a sexual plaything.” The period of celibacy changed how she approached dating; she is now in a healthy relationship. “I realised that I had an anxious attachment style and that, if I started dating again, I would need to change who and how I date. If I feel insecure in the early stages of a relationship, I know it’s because I’m dating someone who is emotionally unavailable, so I back away, rather than persist.”

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Posted in England / UK, Sexuality, Young Adults

(NYT Op-ed) Richard A. Friedman–Why Are Young Americans Killing Themselves?

Teenagers and young adults in the United States are being ravaged by a mental health crisis — and we are doing nothing about it. As of 2017, statistics show that an alarming number of them are suffering from depression and dying by suicide. In fact, suicide is now the second leading cause of death among young people, surpassed only by accidents.

After declining for nearly two decades, the suicide rate among Americans ages 10 to 24 jumped 56 percent between 2007 and 2017, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And for the first time the gender gap in suicide has narrowed: Though the numbers of suicides are greater in males, the rates of suicide for female youths increased by 12.7 percent each year, compared with 7.1 percent for male youths.

At the same time, the rate of teen depression shot up 63 percent, an alarming but not surprising trend given the link between suicide and depression: In 2017, 13 percent of teens reported at least one episode of depression in the past year, compared with 8 percent of teens in 2007, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

How is it possible that so many of our young people are suffering from depression and killing themselves when we know perfectly well how to treat this illness?

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Psychology, Suicide, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

(Unherd) Ed West–Is a Form of Communism creeping into America?

Next year promises to be a bumper one for political books, at least on the Right, and in America. Ross Douthat has one out in February, The Decadent Society; before that in January Christopher Caldwell’s The Age of Entitlement looks at the US since the assassination of JFK, while I’m looking forward to the reasoned, nuanced media debate that will follow Charles Murray’s Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class.

I can’t see any tripwires there!

Much later in the year is Rod Dreher’s as-yet-unnamed book, which delves into the psychological resemblance between life under Communism and developments in America since the Great Awokening began….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Politics in General, Theology, Young Adults