Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Jason Wozniak, Ph. D

Committee Member

Dana Morrison, Ph. D

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D.

Committee Member

John Elmore, Ph. D


Ideally, higher education is a realm in which students can freely explore themselves and discover what it is they choose to focus on for the remainder of their lives. As such, higher education functions as a setting promotes and readily provides opportunities to confront and reevaluate one’s long held ideals. As students progress in their education they become closer to graduation and becoming a fully-realized member of society. This act of growing up is commonly referred to as “adulting,” a phenomenon in which individuals begin to take on the tasks associated with being an adult. Adulting in the age of neoliberalism has become increasingly difficult, as result from neoliberalism equating one’s capital to their value as a person. This creates a pressure to constantly increase one’s capital while simultaneously performing the standard tasks of an adult in society.

The unprecedented pressure to work distracts from other areas of the human experience. This problem persists within higher education where it reduces the purpose of receiving one's degree to simply being a tool that will allow one to increase earning capital. This goes against some of the original purposes of higher education. To address this current dilemma, I have designed Adulting 101, a program that will help third year students develop their life’s purpose through workshops and brown bags. During these events participants will discuss the challenges they will face in post-college life. The hope is that this program will ultimately reframe what is thought of being an adult in society.