Part I: Some rituals of transition in the United States could include learning how to ride a bike, getting your drivers license, or even buying your first house. There are a lot of different points at which you are considered to be “growing up” and thus are becoming apart of adult society. Additionally, going away to college and moving out of your parents house could also be examples of rituals of transition. They may not be rituals in the traditional sense of the word but they are turning points in which you transition from one group to another.
Part II: One ritual of transition I feel I have/am going through is going away to college to get a degree. I feel like this is one of the longest rituals of transition we go through and the most important. It is essentially the transition between teenager dependent on their parents for most needs to self sufficient adult (in most cases, I am aware of students who graduate but still heavily rely on financial support from parents). Although I am still in college I look back at the early years, specifically freshman year when everything was new, and can reflect on those. When I first started college I was excited to hopeful of what it had to offer. I wanted to experience just about everything because this was the first time I had that much freedom to do as I please and govern my own life. Looking back at the experience I find it very valuable that I was able to explore freedom in a setting where if things did go wrong I had many safety nets to catch me- advisers, professors, and TA’s were there if my academics were struggling and my parents were still around and I could always go back home. Of all the rituals of transition I have experience, going away to college has so far been the most important.
Part III: I believe that the idea of belonging-liminality-belonging perfectly describes my college experience up until this point. I also think that the liminality may begin in high school for some people. College is the time that most people explore ideas that may be considered taboo without fear of judgement from their peers. College is typically when gender rules are more fluid and ideas are more liberal in the sense that trying everything you were originally told was taboo is normal. Additionally, you do not feel like you are a part of society; you’re no longer a child but you do not feel like you belong to adult society. It is a sort of in between where almost anything goes because you do not have the constraints that come with belonging to a society. For me, I do feel like college is a liminality point in my life. I do not feel like I belong to high school society nor do I feel like I belong to adult working society. I notice as I spend more time at college and then go back to my home town that there are a lot of things that would be considered odd or unhealthy at home that would not be at college. For example, binge drinking is a huge aspect of most college students life. This would be unhealthy for most adults that are not currently in college. Furthermore, relationships are more open and fluid in college- this is somewhat true of the adult world but far less likely and far less accepted than it is in college.
I have received many mixed messages about how I should behave in college. My parents expect me to be studious and participate in legal, safe, and fulfilling activities such as volunteering, tutoring, or participating in clubs that interest me- such as the Pre-Health club. Some of my peers, however may expect a typical college student to party and participate in some illegal activities such as underage drinking or drugs. Furthermore, they may expect a typical college student to participate in things that interest them that may not be great resume builders. For instance, even though I may be a biology major and plan to go on and get further education with biology I may take a couple pottery classes- some adults may consider this a waste of tuition money but I know many of my peers would consider this an enjoyable activity that should be incorporated into your schedule so that you feel fulfilled. Implicit messages could include my friends only inviting me to parties where there is underage drinking and explicit messages are my parents telling me they expect me to get good grades and do activities that will help me get into secondary school.