An Ordinary Age: Finding Your Way in a World That Expects Exceptional
Date and Time:
Nov 4 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Note: Event start time is Central Time (CT).


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Rainesford Stauffer

Writer, essayist, and author

Luisa Struck

New Trier High School Class of '22

An Ordinary Age: Finding Your Way in a World That Expects Exceptional

Activism | Adolescence | Advice | Anxiety | Career | Character | College | Connection | Creativity | Culture | Digital Age | Education | Empathy | Entrepreneurship | Ethics | Identity | Leadership | Mental Health | Psychology | Relationships | Stress | Well Being | Youth

At a time when young adulthood—and milestones associated with being in your twenties—have been altered profoundly, now is the time to take a closer look at how many of our most formative moments aren’t just chasing GPAs or dream jobs, measuring self-worth by accomplishment, or living a #bestlife defined on narrow, unattainable terms: Some of the most formative moments in young adulthood are ordinary ones.

In conversation with young adults of different ages, locations, and backgrounds, and experts who study this age, in An Ordinary Age: Finding Your Way in a World That Expects Exceptional, millennial journalist Rainesford Stauffer takes a close look at the pressures young people face, and how they manifest. The pressures of young adulthood—how not having your life figured out by 25 doesn’t mean you’ve failed; how external markers of success become placeholders for self- worth—are ripe for renegotiation. Amid mounting student debt, a job market in disarray, and a society that makes perfectionism seem like the best shot at stability, coming-of-age during an intersection of crises isn’t simple.

The world is demanding more of young people these days than ever before, and it’s leaving little room for them to ask big questions about who they want to be, or what makes life feel meaningful. Through extensive reporting and interviews, Stauffer unpacks the tropes of yearning to be special and the structural dispossession that encourages it, pressure to have it all figured out on a picture-perfect timetable, and how the characteristics of young adulthood, like feeling in-between and identity exploration, are unfolding. Young people described finding solace in communities, establishing self-worth beyond GPAs or job titles, and thinking about what they want, rather than what they’re supposed to, as means of feeling good enough. Turns out, in young adulthood and beyond, that’s an underrated pursuit.

Stauffer will be in conversation with Luisa Struck, a senior at New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL. Struck is a co-founder the North Shore Hub of the National Sunrise Movement and is the recipient of the prestigious 2022 Wilbert F. Crowley Citizenship Award as well as the New Trier Principal’s Award for Leadership.

This event suitable for youth 12+. It will be recorded and available on our website and YouTube channel.

BONUS AFTER-HOURS EVENT: Attendees who purchase a copy of An Ordinary Age from FAN’s partner bookseller The Book Stall are invited to attend an AFTER-HOURS event hosted by Stauffer and Struck that will start immediately after the webinar. Details on the webinar registration page.