The First Year OutUnderstanding American Teens after High School

The First Year OutUnderstanding American Teens after High School

Tim Clydesdale

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226110653

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Wild parties, late nights, and lots of sex, drugs, and alcohol. Many assume these are the things that define an American teenager's first year after high school. But the reality is really quite different. As this book reports, teenagers generally manage the increased responsibilities of everyday life immediately after graduation effectively. But, like many good things, this comes at a cost. Tracking the daily lives of fifty young people making the transition to life after high school, the book reveals how teens settle into manageable patterns of substance use and sexual activity; how they meet the requirements of postsecondary education; and how they cope with new financial expectations. Most of them, we learn, handle the changes well because they make a priority of everyday life. But the book finds that teens also stow away their identities—religious, racial, political, or otherwise—during this period in exchange for acceptance into mainstream culture. This results in the absence of a long-range purpose for their lives and imposes limits on their desire to understand national politics and global issues, sometimes even affecting the ability to reconstruct their lives when tragedies occur.