Writer, essayist, and author
New Trier High School Class of '22
An Ordinary Age: Finding Your Way in a World That Expects Exceptional
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.
- Beacon Academy
- Bennett Day School
- Catherine Cook School
- Chiaravalle Montessori School
- Christ Church Winnetka
- Compass Health Center
- Countryside Day School
- Evanston Scholars
- Family Service Center
- Family Service of Glencoe
- Foundation 65
- Fusion Academy
- Glencoe D35
- Haven Youth and Family Services
- Kenilworth D38
- Lake Bluff D65
- Lake Forest Academy
- Lake Forest D67
- Lake Michigan Association of Independent Schools
- Loyola Academy
- Mindful Psychology Associates PC
- New Trier High School D203
- New Trier Parents’ Association
- North Shore Country Day
- Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy
- Pope John XXIII School
- Regina Dominican College Preparatory High School
- Rogers Park Montessori School
- Roycemore School
- Sacred Heart Schools
- Science & Arts Academy
- Spirit of 67
- St. Athanasius School
- Stevenson High School D125
- The Alliance for Early Childhood
- The Family Institute at Northwestern University
- Wolcott College Prep
- Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart
- Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.)