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The development of purpose among emerging adults and its implications for educational research
Purpose in life has been significantly researched in many scholarly journals, but the development of purpose among emerging adults has yet to be properly explored, especially considering the implications that it has for educational research. Emerging adults generally enter this life stage with openness to explore opportunities. Achieving a sense of purpose has been described as exploring opportunities that benefit oneself such as goals, achievements, and are long-term commitments that precede an overall purpose in life. Whereas a purpose in life is described to incorporate altruism, motivation to achieve goals, an awareness of one’s purpose, and a willingness to take action on their purpose in life. This study aimed to aid educational researchers by understanding the development of purpose among emerging adults, barriers in developing purpose within emerging adulthood, the impact of education on purpose, and purpose as a developmental concept. In order to achieve this goal, a content analysis was conducted. Educational researchers would benefit from understanding how education plays a role in formulating a purpose in life due to the impact that education plays on formulating a purpose in life. The results indicate that emerging adults are uncertain of their sense of purpose and purpose in life. The participants credit this uncertainty to experiences within school, such as lacking time, financial stability, and motivation to access resources and being unready to enter adulthood. Therefore, future educational research can assist in reducing the amount of uncertainty that emerging adults face in their educational journey.