Life on Hold: Coming of Age in the Recession

Life on Hold: Coming of Age in the Recession

You're 20-something, a grownup. You've got no job. Your dreams are derailed. It's like someone hit the pause button. So what do you do now? (The Tennessean)

The recession has dashed the dreams of many 20-somethings who grew up in more financially stable times. They assumed by now they would have a job, plenty of credit, and a place of their own.

But when the economy sank, those assumptions died. Many of these young adults now find themselves unemployed and strapped with large college loans or living back at home with their parents.

This in-depth multimedia project by The Tennessean set out to explore how the recession is affecting people in their 20s. The project profiles six young adults, all of whom are facing detours on what they thought would be a clear path to the future.

The profiles include Brent Litchy who counted on his good college education to get him a job; DeShun Smith who lost his director of photography position when the magazine he worked for went under and aspiring actress Brittany Byrd who isn’t completing her college degree because she worries she won’t be able to pay back the loans she needs.

Whether unemployed or not quite working in the field they’d imagined, all six of the young people profiled remain remarkably optimistic about the future.

The project includes six videos, articles, resources, comment pages and a forum for other young adults of Generation Y to tell their stories.

CHANNEL: The Tennessean

Photo/Videography: Sam Simpkins
Reporting/Narration: Jessica Bliss
Editing: Jim Keutzer, Knight Stivender
Production: Chris Rapking, Phonethip Liu, Nancy Broden, Scott Andrews
Project Editor: Meg Downey