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Young Adult Interview

Essay by   •  January 23, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,405 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,009 Views

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My interviewee is a young person not much younger than me, but someone I have watched grow up from about age 10. We used to play together, she the girl I made fun of because of "cooties", and I was the boy she used to call "apple head". I chose to interview her because I know her history, and she is someone I have always been meaning to get to know her more now that she is older and this was a good opportunity. She also is a multiracial adolescent much like myself, and I anticipated that this might be beneficial to our conversation because we have that in common. This interview was very conversational, and it really went wherever it liked without needing questions to guide it. I did try and reframe some of my questions in order to stay somewhat on track with my outline for the conversation. Some of my main questions were:

1. What negative things do you remember about your childhood?

2. Negative?

3. Who was most influential for you?

4. Did your parents understand your struggles?

5. Where did you go when you needed understanding?

6. What were your friends like?

Below are some of her thoughts on these.

I often hear my elders and those from earlier generations tell me they are simply astounded at how difficult is has become to be a young person. This statement used to make me wonder what it was about being a young adult these days that makes it so seem so dire, but now having progressed through that stage I believe there are certain elements that are simply "tough". I think that it is important that those who have gone ahead of us, who have raised us, can look upon our journey objectively and see that there are challenges present for us that they never encountered. Drugs and alcohol have been around for a few generations now, but never with the magnitude and presence that it holds today. With that said, both the interviewee and I could relate on many things because of our many similar experiences and our age. Many of the things they said I could instantly relate, and others I could sense an increase in prevalence.

The following is a depiction and an analysis of this individuals experience on a daily basis.

I began by asking about their experience in their family, what their role was, and who made sure they stayed in line. They told me that the rules were never enforced by her parents; rather she knew that to disobey them would not be to her benefit. Being the only child she really did not have much to fret about, in fact the only thing she mentioned as unwanted was if her parents were upset with her, they would not talk to her. She says this hurt her the most because they were practically two of her best friends. She is an 18 year old biracial young adult raised by middle class parents. She identifies herself as "mixed" and says that she derives her identity by mixing her mom and dad. She notes that she was a bit confused because she knew that she looked like neither of them, but with a bit of exploration she found that she could not identify the way either of them could, and this forced her to decide on something in the middle. According to Erikson, young adults experiments with different identities before they decide on one (Ashman & Kirst, 2004). I assume that this identity confusion she experienced was a result of her context given the differing race of her parents as well as her.


We then moved to talking about her behavior during that time, and some of the activities she was taking part in. She said that it was a time in her life when she felt as if she did not belong anywhere. In fact, the only place she felt she belonged was with the other social rejects that happened to be into drugs, tobacco, and alcohol among the least. She admits to experimenting a bit but only because "they accepted me for it". Inevitably it was the rejection she felt that caused her to seek acceptance in any place she could. She says that when she looked deeper though it made her more apt for rejection than she could have dreamed. Once she got over her initial feelings of rejection she decided that neither drugs nor alcohol were what she wanted; instead as she reflects today she realized that she would have done anything to be accepted, but drugs and alcohol was what came her way. As she reflected she made a very assertive insight. She said that it was societies fault that she was rejected because of her obscure racial appearance and that was the fault and ignorance of others, but the drinking and smoking to her were only more concrete reasons for most people to reject her. "After all, who wants a drug abusing alcoholic who is having and identity crisis?" She later realized that for her to be accepted as is she would have to be an exceptional



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