Due: October 5, 2014
As a non-traditional "mature" student, I was curious about how this study of college students was designed, and if all age groups were equally surveyed. Many people of various ages and stages of life development and life experience have returned to school in an effort to acquire new or additional skills to be competitive in the job market. Shifting global economics and consequent unemployment coupled with our foreign wars and veterans returning from them have skewed our definitions of a college student. My premise, therefore, considers whether there may not be a higher population of older students, and those who through exposure to combat might have different perceptions of stress and mental health issues. Would mental health concerns necessarily be defined in the same way for a 50 or 60 year-old student, a veteran, as it might be for a 20 year-old student who has not retuned from the Middle East after one or more tours of duty?
The second question is at what point in the calender year was this survey taken? Is there a correlate to how I am experiencing the course of the year as having it’s own “shape.” For example, is it an artifact of the school year and the learning process, that most students at the fifth or sixth week of the Fall semester might say that yes, within the last 2 weeks they felt things were hopeless, they were exhausted (not from physical activity), lonely or overwhelmed by all you had to do?
In order to answer this question, I will assume that information was gathered in the survey based within the range of traditional ages of the respondent student population. With this information my answer to the assignment question might be different.
Kegan’s construct as a means for defining identity or meaning-making as “an ongoing process in which the boundaries between self and other become structured, lost, and reformed” (Kroger 2004) resonates powerfully for me. I view the responses on page 13 of the ACHA 2013 summary from a social work perspective as a normative developmental process which may be endemic to any learning process. This also well describes how skill development is an ever expanding ability as one develops. So it would not be surprising to learn that this phenomenon, engaging the learning process, may be experienced as more emotionally laden for someone in their twenties, as opposed to someone in their 50’s. The difficulties inherent in learning new things, engaging with new people, and interacting with larger institutions present on-going opportunities for defining self, and other, and are to be expected as a natural function of growth rather than a presenting pathological concern.
Kroger, J. (2004). Identity as Meaning Making. In Identity In Adolescence: The balance between self and other (3rd ed., p. 159). East Sussex: Routledge.