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Students tend to differ sparingly on future plans they have after getting their bachelor’s degree. Some are pessimistic in thinking either to get a job or to pursue higher education while others tend to relate their career to their own interest which they consider to suit their future best. In some instances, students tend to believe that the job they will acquire in future will not help them satisfactory to pursue their interest or will not be related to current major issues. It is based on such pessimistic contributions that students tend to alienate their career preferences as influenced by family honor, realistic stress, and social sanctions.

As will be argued, students brought up out of parents with good marriages or relationships normally have positive attitudes of having families in future after their post-graduation. The qualitative interviews conducted with equal male and female students of Berkeley College about what plans each has after graduating from college revealed that their future interest towards having family is contributed by the nature of marriage or relationships their parents had.  Those students who are normally brought up with parents with good marriage tends to emulate and eager the same for their future families. However, students who normally show no future plans in marriages tend to come from families whose parents have not good relationship. Importantly is the fact that parental discourse in marriage or relationship is the might be the reason of such weary standing on future plans among these students towards having a family.

Understanding students’ firm stand on their post-graduate plans is important especially in today’s economic climate. That is, students can only achieve through a good career plan after college. While students generally join Berkeley College with at least a goal in mind, the most important thing is whether they have future plans after graduation that would enable them to benefit from programs they were involved in when in college. Student’s future plans have been discussed by different scholars such as Kathleen Gerson in her article, “The Unfinished Revolution.” They specifically denote how it helps in reshaping family, work, and gender in a society. In this line of discussion, this paper offers qualitative analysis on how parents’ marriage or relationship affects or influences students’ future plans after graduating from the college in having a family.

Literature Review

Kathleen Gerson’s article, Unfinished Revolution, offers an insightful analysis on how today’s ordinary women and men especially of the age 18 to 32 tend to think about the kind of families they were brought up in and how they expect to reshape them. The article portrays a vivid struggle by the children of gender revolution (age 18 to 32) in trying to attain work and family balance that was a difficult task to be accomplished by their parents. The author’s goal and agitation was to find out how indeed diverse social, cultural, and economic settings as influenced by parent’s marriage and relationship contribute to childhood experience and later life chances. As Gerson (232) points out, “my sampling procedure was to yield respondents from a range of ethnic and racial identities and class background as well would help in understanding how and indeed the above mention concepts contribute to childhood experience and future plan.”

According to Gerson (28), non-traditional family forms such as single-parent, same-sex or dual partner have contributed differently to family values and especially on unhappy children. She found out those children from traditional breadwinner-housekeeper families as being dissatisfied with their parent’s gender division of labor either at home or workplace. This contradicted majority of children with work-committed mothers or family involved fathers who seemed to be proud and notably grateful to their parents. She states: “When mothers had good work opportunities and substantial help at home, their children harbored few ifs or buts about their situation. Watching her single mother move up the ladder at a lager bank, Isabella took even more pride than her mother” (p.23). This shows that children’s future positive attitude towards having a family is adversely contributed by parents’ relationship in marriage.

On the other hand, gender revolution is depicted in the article as contributing to children’s agitation for educational shape up. Gerson (28) notes that most children from single-parenthood expressed regrets in life with nearly half believing that it is better to stay with a single parent than being raised in an unhappy two-parent home. This led to their agitation for career involvement that would ensure that they make up single families that is lesser of disagreements that centers two-earner marriages during their adult life. On her narration, she talks of Michelle, a young student who was discontented with her father, a successful architecture from a traditional Filipino family, who opposed her mothers endeavor to have MBA and finance career. Michelle notes that ‘her parents’ created a bitter and dismay battle that made her believe that they could have been better when separated” (p.28).

As presented in Gerson’s book, the quality of marriage and family life that any student would wish to have in future is less of family type but rather how well parents can cope with work-family conflicts. Lareau (12) points out that the social class position of child’s parents normally forms their occupational success and school success as well. She adds that children as they transformed into young adults may make possible actions such in marriage of which parents’ contribution might matter less. In support of this argument, Gerson (24) notes that the gender flexibility in breadwinning and homemaking that creates self-confident within a working mother coupled with external factors is essential for family spirit and outlook. These factors are social and psychological resources that not only lift family’s spirit and outlook, but also work to equip each family with rightful resources to overcome related challenges.

According to Gerson (103), the contemporary young men and women have indulged themselves in self-reliant strategies especially in alienating their career and family lifestyle. The fact that marriage, work, family, and unbounded gender have become uncharted territory leaves them wondering whether the lessons they have been learning since childhood can help them in apportioning work and family tasks. This is immensely contributed by their agitation in future to have families’ different from their parents that of which they are able to balance both their work and family for economic attainability that is lacking within their current families.

Methods

An in-depth interview of 12 young adults (6 men and 6 women) with an average age of 24 was conducted and analysis done afterwards. The population sample was taken randomly and representatively of equal male and female native-born men and women from different economic, racial, ethnic, and family diverse settings. Although my practical considerations only allowed me to restrict my sampling to Berkeley College, the respondents who were randomly selected grew from almost all corners of the United States. Engaging diverse sample makes it possible to discover similarities and differences among class and ethnic groups or even challenges that affect or influence their firm stands on post-graduate plans.

Comparative analysis was then conducted based on informants’ responses on how aspiration for family after college graduation is attributed by their attitudes towards their parent’s marriage and relationship. Having respondents from different ethnic, racial, and class makeup backgrounds helps in revealing how indeed parents  marriage and relationship contribute to student’s long term strategy of having a family after college graduation future.

Results and Analysis

Ashley tends to eager her parents’ marriage and relationship in forming future plans for her getting married. She states that, “Id love to get married and live happily just like parents did. Even though they do sometimes have arguments or depression, both of tem have always been faithful to the marriage and never ever have the thought of marriage.” Ashley’s notion on marriage as contributed by her parents’ relationship is accurately demonstrates Gerson’s perception on the same. As she points out, “young women and men normally express support for working mothers and fathers with quality of relationship between parents of which they assimilate their future families to emulate,” (p.9).

Ashley’s sentiments seem to be echoed by Shiny, a Korean-American student at Berkeley when asked what ideals constitutes to her future plan to have family. . Shin states, “Family is my source that gives me a power to work hard. I can feel stable in family and become more responsible as a breadwinner.”  He adds “I want to sacrifice my future life for my family as my parents’ did.” He therefore bases his concerns on economic uplift that would ensure that his future family has is strong in relationship similar to that of his parents.

While appreciating the good marriage her parents have, Autumn tend to have a different notion on the kind of marriage she wishes to have which is an integrate of her parents. She says, “I would get married if a get someone who shares similar interest and values as mine. You never know what life will bring”.  Her notion of being independent supports Gerson’s argument that today’s young women and men work hard to attain self-autonomy. She states that “Women stress the dangers of depending on someone else for their identity or financial well-being; men focus on the costs of failing at work.” This shows “a gender divide lurking beneath the surface of shared ideals for personal autonomy that is essential to survive against neo-traditional men” (p.105).

The idea of personal autonomy in future establishment of marriage seems to come out significantly among the respondent females. Ellen, Jessica, Karla, and Kat among others believe on 50-50 sharing of financial responsibility in marriage. For instance, Jessica states, ““I think we should have an equal share of 50-50.” However, she wants in future to have marriage different from her parent’s. She comments, “I feel that I would want different relationship than my parents, they don’t really seem to be in love.” Similarly, Ellen wants to be married in future like her parents did, however, not on the same cultural values and financial stability that her family has. She states, “I want my marriage to be an egalitarian relationship where am able to fulfill my own personal career goals yet maintain my family and marriage.”

However, Karla believes in 50-50 shared responsibility but with a man expected to contribute more because of his ability to make more money than woman can earn seems to be shared by most male respondents. Josh and Oliver believe that having a good career that would ultimately give them financial income such of their parents especially their father would enable them in constituting happy family similar to that of their parents. Oliver states, ““I am trying to figure out what interests me the most in terms of financial gains that would make me get good financial income to support my family as my father did.”

As Gerson points out, “young people tend to show high expectation of wanting a committed, enduring, and egalitarian partnerships in their future marriage that is different from that of their parents,” (p.34). Jessica, an aspiring doctor is of the contrary opinion of the ideal of relationship she longs for in future.  She does not wish for a relationship similar to that of her parents. She says: “I feel that I would want a different relationship than my parents have, they don’t really seem to be in love.” Just as Gerson pointed out, young women have tried to create personal autonomy that would enable them to become responsible not only to domestic jobs. Such women want to redesign motherhood by postponing parenthood in order to be providers as well as caretakers. However, both male and young female still believe in traditional norms where men should contribute to family welfare.

As Gerson (p.7) points out, today’s young women have grown up in revolutionary times regardless of their family experiences. “They have inherited new options and questions that make them see marriage as no longer the promise of prominence, nor an option of either bearing or rearing children.”Justin, when asked whether in future he would wish to have children, answers: “Definitely, my parents would kill me otherwise.” Unlike Justin willing to get married when 32 years old, Josh wishes to do the same at the age of 27 or 28. He points out: “I don’t want to get married and have kids when too old.”

Even though students provided different aspirations that allude to their agitation which finally reshapes their lives, they noted education attainment, successful career, and family background as forming detrimental consequences for their post-graduate plans. When their assessments were examined, what comes out on the future post-graduate plans is based on what happened over time. This forms their remarkable judgment about life experience. From respondents’ quotes and contributions, the economic and social interests have greatly influenced their career preferences.  .

The importance of conducting an open-ended yet highly structured interview and analysis is the chronological narrative that the researcher is able to discover from informant’s perspective on future post-graduate plans. Through the analysis and findings, important information that links complex personal biographies of these students and their entire social and economic context is investigated. However, the braided skillful research results based on interview material such as the recorder do not help in making solid foundation for the argument under discussion. The findings only present what interviewees think of or expect in future but not actually what they experienced since they have not been at that life stage.

In conclusion, students’ post-graduate plans are highly dependent on the characteristics of parents’ marriage and relationship. Children from families where parents have good relationship in marriage tend to have  firm post-graduate plans in future to have families same as those of their parents. However, those who are not fully happy with their parent’s marriage normally tend to work extra harder to improve the kid of marriage they wish for in future. Thus there is the need for parents to create a suitable environment which would enable children to effectively set their future plans. This would empower them to satisfactorily achieve their goals and be able to reshape the normal outraged traditions and concepts.

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