Young girls of today, women of tomorrow — the years of uncertainty

The transition from being a female teenager to a young adult is a complex process. Change is scary enough. Add the internal pressures of having it all figured out and you’ve got yourself a quarter-life crisis. From the ages of 17 to 25 you’ll begin to experience what it means to find yourself. This development will often incur in setbacks, identity confusion and disappointment. On the plus side, they’ll be the best years of your life. Exploration into the unknown is often exciting as it is daunting.

“This acute decrease in the psychological health of young women is being driven by numerous factors within the index: rising rates of anxiety, depression, panic attacks and stress combined with a diminishing proportion who agree they are optimistic about the future (69%, down from 85% in mid-2013) or lead a ‘full and busy life’ (now 56%, down from 62% in mid-2013).” (http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/6264-australian-wellness-index-march-2015-201506032309)

Over the weekend I conducted a survey based on how young adults (females) felt about a variety of matters between the ages of 17–24. These topics covered matters of mental wellbeing, Social Media, body image and education/work.

Of the 79 young adult respondent’s, 85% believe that they have experienced some form of anxiety, 60% believe they had suffered from depression and 14% had some sort of an eating disorder.

Almost every young adult would agree that our mindsets are fixed upon limiting ourselves to staying in our comfort zones. You can’t AFFORD to lose your job. You don’t have TIME to learn new things. You just take every day as it comes and watch the world go by. There are so many things you want to achieve and do, but how many of us actually go out of our ways to do it? Social Media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook have begun to take over our lives; we gawk upon the lifestyles of successful individuals, celebrities, travellers and fitness models, yet believe that we are incapable of achieving our own type of greatness. It is inevitable that we will often compare ourselves to other portrayals that people have illustrated. Yet all that time spent refreshing warped depictions, could be better used to start living.

Applicants’ average time spent on each Social Media platform a day.

We often probe into the fears of choosing between innate intuition and logical idealism. My teenage years were the years of security; I often underestimated the sanctuary my family and lifestyle structure gave me. Those crucial years of growing up, involved the desire to know what I want and who I am. Last year, half of me wanted to bury myself into schoolwork and yoga, while the other half wanted to go out and party every weekend. This year, I’m learning about sensibility; balancing and prioritising the things I need and want to do. Still discovering I have learnt that being a young adult consists of moments of frustration, anxiety and confusion regarding the goals we seek to obtain.

With all this opportunity and prospective there has never been a better time for identity exploration. For the next 50 or more years I will continue to reinvent myself as I learn and experience new things. During the young adult years, you finally have the power to break free from the things that make you unhappy and create your OWN path.

Education and the workforce — or the struggle to juggle both at the same time:

When 100 young females were asked about their satisfaction levels regarding work, only 12 percent were highly satisfied.

Studying full-time, working part-time (which often feels like full-time), working full-time, whatever you’re doing, at least you’re doing something. All too often your commitments will extend into ridiculous hours of the night. We repeatedly tell ourselves that we will be organised this semester. Is it week twelve already? You’re down to your fourth coffee and if you have another, it’s possible that you may have a heart attack. Next up, celebratory drinks for finishing yet another semester, the next morning you have a 9–5 Saturday shift (the shift of death). It seems and feels like you never have a break. Additionally, you probably don’t even like your job but hey, you need money for those unneeded drinks. With all these assignments and work deadlines, you still somehow manage to have a social life/Netflix addiction, there’s no wonder why all these duties significantly contribute to stress factors.

  • 55.56% of the 99 young adult (female) participant’s on a scale of 1–5 believed that 5 (strongly agree) best represented how much they had changed as a person since their early teenage years (ages 12–15).
  • 70 of 99 participants would rank 4 (agree) to 5 (strongly agree) believing there is a high amount of pressure to go to university.
  • An astonishing 46 percent of 100 participants ranked 5 (strongly agree) when asked whether there was a certain amount of pressure to know what career they were meant to work in.

Body Image — Let’s talk about the emerging Kardashian appearance fads. I mean, surely a ‘waist trainer’ cannot be good for you.

28 percent of 100 young female adults rank their satisfaction with body image a concerning 2 when choosing between 1–5 (1 highly dissatisfied — 5 highly satisfied)

When I admire Kate Moss’ freakishly thin frame, I try to remind myself that Kate Moss probably doesn’t even remember what pizza tastes like.

Over the weekend I asked my fellow female Facebook friends to complete a survey for the purpose of this piece. One of the questions asked ‘Do you believe any of the following Social Media platforms trigger feelings of insecurity? If yes, please explain which platforms and why?’ over a 100 participants had a strong opinion in regards to the tainted connection between Social Media and insecure self-comparisons.

Working out — Acai: it’s pronounced ‘AS-AI not ACK-AI’:

What’s the deal with cult workout trends? Don’t get me wrong, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, but protein shakes, pressed juices and Lorna Jane clothes are not necessities for a perfect workout. What was initially a positive way to stay fit has now become a danger field for severe competition. Everything is good in balance, including fitness regimes.

Material Possession — The ‘Kookai’ epidemic:

Linking back to Body Image, there is a severe concern that celebrity idolisation leads to unhealthy splurges on material possessions. We are in an era where fame is rarely based on talent, rather product endorsements and scandalous headlines. When we see icons wearing a Hermes bracelet, a part of us believes that purchasing these items will make us happier. In actual fact, it doesn’t. The term ‘retail therapy’ is only momentary, that outfit you NEEDED for the weekend is probably scrunched up on the floor. Emotional wellness is filled by much more than a-nice-to-have item.

69 of 99 applicant’s ranked 4 and 5 (the highest rankings) when admitting that they often compared themselves to others.

On my last note, it is important for young women to understand that no matter what variables and stressors life throws at us, it will always be okay. I once read a quote about a 6 month rule, it goes as follows: Ask yourself will this matter in 6 days?…. 6 weeks?…. 6 months?…. 6 years? if not, then it’s probably not worth worrying about.