Harper Perennial

How do outside pressures like starting a family, going to college, getting that dream job, or buying a house impact young adulthood?

Navigating the world while trying to meet exceptional societal expectations can leave people feeling lonely, inadequate, and guilty. It’s an issue Owensboro, Kentucky, native, Rainesford Stauffer explains in her book, An Ordinary Age: Finding Your Way in a World That Expects Exceptional.

Through a series of reported essays with young adults and her own thoughts as she reflects on her personal experiences, Stauffer reminds people that Millennials and younger generations are more than avocado toast, lattes, and allegedly lazy work ethics.

“It (the book) talks to young adults about different pressure points in their own lives,” Stauffer explains. “Things like pressure to have a dream job, or to make college the best four years of your life, as if everyone goes to college. And also, things like loneliness and friendship and figuring out how to tune out the noise of perfectionism and accept yourself as enough as is.”


A seismic generational shift is underway on college campuses across the globe.  With fewer college age students to pull from, the competition for enrollment and retention is intense. 

Jeff Kallay is CEO of Render Experiences, a national consulting firm specializing in the college experience.  He says services are the new amenities for Gen-X parents and their post-9/11 Gen-Z students.

“Academic advising, career services that keep my son or daughter happy, healthy, and on target to graduate on time and to have an outcome to the next level of post professional school or graduate school or getting that job."