Interviewing with a young adult, my cousin, was a unique learning experience to explore some of the development issues that affect individuals in this age group. The interview was both exciting and informative as I was interviewing someone comfortable to be in my presence. He is the eldest son of my uncle on my mother’s side, who resides a few blocks from our home; thus, he is always around most of the time. At first, my cousin was anxious to participate because he thought the interview was an interrogation that would have consequences if he revealed the truth about himself (Crawford & Rossiter, 2006). Nevertheless, promising him to keep the details of the interview as being confidential calmed him down and helped to alleviate his fears about informed consent (Arnett, 2018, p.34). The interview revealed a side of him that I never knew existed that was both intriguing and depressing. I made an effort to remain as neutral as possible by suppressing inherent biases ignited by the close relationship that we shared as he was my family.
Physical and Demographic Description
My cousin is a 20-year-old male sophomore studying computer science at a local private university. He is the eldest in his family and is of an average built with a height of 6 feet and 70 Kgs. Besides his studies, he loves playing computer games as it is an everyday recreational activity for the majority of computer science students.
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What is your typical day like from morning to night? My cousin spends half of his time awake coding on his computer or playing computer games. He admits that he is introverted as he spends most of his time indoors. Occasionally, his friends from college come around to code, play video games, smoke, and drink. He smokes a lot of marijuana as he claims to boost his creativity as well as enhances his concentration (Corcoran, Osano, Weakland, & Hollingshead, 2009). On a single day, he can smoke five to seven roles or joints of marijuana. He also confessed that gaming consumes a great deal of his time because he has shifted to online games, which are played in real-time. He is not currently dating as he is focusing on completing his studies.
My cousin is the eldest son in a family of three siblings and lives with both parents. Both parents are practicing healthcare professionals at the local public hospital. His father works as a surgeon while his mother is a nursing practitioner specializing in pediatrics. A typical night entails a three-course meal and a game of scrabble or chess, characteristic of a working-class family. About family rules, my cousin revealed that drugs and firearms are prohibited in addition to hosting house parties. Currently, his mother and father are undergoing a divorce, and it is hurting his emotions (Arnett, 2018, p.214). He has turned to drug abuse and excessive consumption of alcohol. Also, he is getting into altercations with his neighbors for blaring loud music when playing video games. He calls it his venting mechanism to deal with the divorce of his parents. Although his parents do not approve of him hosting a house party at their home, he is allowed to spend a night or two out at his friend’s house even when the parents are not around. At his age, he has earned his parent’s trust; thus, he is allowed to stay out without notifying his parents. Despite his parent’s divorce, there are some family traditions that he would like to keep, such as organizing a family barbecue every Sunday and playing chess in the evening.
My cousin has only the two close friends whom they met in college at a local private university. They are into the same hobbies, which include playing computer games and coding. He cannot go a day or two without seeing either of his friends; thus, he spends almost a quarter of his time with his friends (Coelho & Ahmed, 2013). His parents approve of his friendship with students from his colleagues as they share a lot in common. At college, there are numerous cliques, and my cousin considers himself a member of the geek community, which gives him a sense of identity (Arnett, 2018, p.222). He does not consider himself a “primo” as he has no interest in any game other than chess, and neither is he “domina” because he is not from a privileged social background. Currently, my cousin is focusing on his studies; thus, he is not dating.
My cousin asserted that the neighborhood where he lives is a good environment to raise teenagers. There are schools, hospitals, good transport infrastructure, other social amenities, and a low crime rate. Therefore, he hopes to live and raise his children in the same neighborhood.
Self-Concept & Values
If a person who knew me were to describe my personality would say I am introverted and have very few social ties. I am glad to be perceived as an introvert because I do not tolerate mediocrity. Although my cousin is happy to be an introvert, he would like to minimize his dependency on marijuana. Also, he would like to build a professional network that will enable him to develop a successful career in computer programming. As an ethnic minority, I understand my cousin’s concern about developing a successful career in computer programming because I have been discriminated in the workplace due to my ethnicity.
My cousin believes that being a male is an advantage because women face numerous challenges in almost every aspect of society. Men are not tied down to social expectations, unlike women who are still struggling to fight for gender parity and equality. However, my cousin believes that females find it easier to get a job; they can use their bodies as a bargaining chip. Men, on the other hand, have nothing to offer other than to be exceptionally competent and skilled.
My cousin is currently performing well in school, although he is concerned about the increasing workload. The number of assignments has increased since he became a sophomore and is finding it hard to balance between social life and academic life. Nevertheless, he is proud to have joined a school that is well equipped to enable him to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to develop a successful career in computer programming. However, the private college that he attends charges exorbitant tuition fees, which he believes his parents are struggling to pay. He hopes that this will not impede his ambition to proceed to the graduate level.
Activities, Interests, and Work
My cousin is not good at any sport or extra-curricular activities as he spends most of his time coaching or playing video games with his friends. However, he is a member of the chess club at the college where he studies. At the community level, my cousin is not involved in any activity or organization, a symptom of social withdrawal (Arnett, 2018, p.220). He spends most of his free time pursuing his interests and hobbies, which include computer games and coding. He has managed to secure a part-time job at a local IT company where he is developing games for children below the age of 10 years. The job is perfect for my cousin because it will fit in with his hobbies and interests. He is gaining valuable experience in a field that he wants to develop a successful career.
Closing the Interview
Despite the ongoing divorce of his parents, everything else is going exceptionally well for my cousin. For instance, he has managed to secure a part-time job that compliments what he is learning at a college. He hopes that ten years from now, he will be a senior computer programmer at a reputable company such as Google or Microsoft. He is also determined to become self-reliant and move out of his parents’ house. He also has hopes of starting a family with a like-minded partner.
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Link to Developmental Issues
Evidence from the interview indicates that my cousin is experiencing several developmental issues. One of the key issues is drug and substance abuse, which includes alcohol abuse. He admits to being dependent on marijuana in order to perform his daily chores and tasks (Arnett, 2018, p.325). He also exhibits social and emotional development challenges characterized by his introverted personality and his inability to sustain romantic relationships. The ongoing divorce of his parents has also had an emotional toll on my cousin (Arnett, 2018, p.214). As a result, his self-esteem is at an all-time low as he is not confident about his future now that his parents are separating.
Arnett, J. (2018). Adolescence and emerging adulthood (6th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
Coelho, G. V., & Ahmed, P. I. (2013). Uprooting and Development: Dilemmas of Coping with Modernization. Boston, MA: Springer US.
Corcoran, P. B., Osano, P. M., Weakland, J. P., & Hollingshead, B. P. (2009). Young people, education, and sustainable development: exploring principles, perspectives, and praxis. Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers.