Expectations and Young Hopes: a research with graduate students in Education
In the last few years, most of Italian literature on adult education reported a change in the widespread conception of adulthood. In the recent past adults were associated with features of stability, certainty, security and the current generation of forties has grown up with many illusions: the permanent position at work and the stability of family relationships. The reality is very different and today’s adults are managing situations that profoundly differ from the past, characterized by flexibility and insecurity, whether at work, both in human relations. On the other hand today’s twenties seem more prepared to live in an uncertain word, and their vision on future and on hope is changing. They accept more consciously to essay with the unforeseen and they feel better in temporariness. This paper reflects on the nature of hope as experienced by young adults living in the North East of Italy. The aim of this article is understand how the concept of hope is connected to the personal and professional idea of future of the “new adults”. This qualitative study analyses the data from 18 interviews with students three years university graduated in Education in three Italian Universities (Ferrara, Padua, Trieste), discussing the orientation towards hope is perceived: as a condition required for the individual wellbeing or as a competence to learn for the future. Research questions of this exploratory study are: How young adults with a degree in Education think about their future? Is their representation hopeless? What kind of hope? Which is the idea of hope derived from their university courses? Is this idea in contrast to their current job in education? The initial results of this research – to be followed by further investigation and deep analysis – demonstrate that our respondents, belonging to the current generation of “young adults”, testify how in the contemporary age we are experiencing a paradigm shift regarding the identity of adult. In fact, although the characterizations and expectations consistent with the traditional connotations of certainty, solidity and stability of adult status and its role in society still persist, the connotations of flexibility, dynamism and, also, uncertainty and insecurity are beginning to spread; they are not perceived as exceptional situations, but as a “new normality” of being adult today and in the foreseeable future. New challenges are now facing Adult Education: on the one hand to reflect on emerging models of adulthood; on the other hand, to realize projects and actions to manage multiple transitions towards adulthood.
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