During my first year of teaching, I learned the hazards of asking college seniors their postgraduation plans. I had mistakenly thought that a good way of getting to know the senior students in my spring seminar would be to ask them about their future. Instead of hearing about plans, I received anxious and concerned looks combined with tentatively spoken hopes and uncertainties.
Adolescence has a relatively brief history. It did not emerge as an identifiable life stage until the early 20th century. Perhaps the most important influence on its development was capitalism's second technological phase, which rendered the unskilled labor of youth unnecessary and unwanted.
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