Quarter Life Crisis

John Mayer songs aside, I feel like the quarter life crisis is a legitimate concern for myriad twenty-somethings out there right now. I’m honestly not even kidding – it’s a documented epidemic amongst our generation, and books have been written on the subject matter. For most people suffering from one, it has to do with adjusting to the real world after leaving college. The vast majority of their lives up until that point had been dedicated to academic competition, striving for grades, fighting to beat out their fellow students, and knowing, for the most part, exactly what is needed of them in order to succeed in the classroom. Even the less ambitious students have an understanding of what hoops they have to jump through in order to advance further through life. If they go to class, pay attention, complete their assignments, and pass their tests, they should, for all intents and purposes, be able to move on to the next semester or year of their education.

But don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

Once they finish, a growing number of twenty-somethings are lost as to what to do next. Maybe they hate their job or maybe they’re unsure of whether or not they should apply to graduate school. Maybe they’re having an especially difficult transition from college into the harsh realities of 21st century America. There’s a widespread feeling of being overwhelmed by the changes that are synonymous with life outside of the collegiate bubble. Massive insecurities abound as the new professional fails to find a job at their perceived intellectual level and constantly feels like all of their peers are performing better than they are. In short, the quarter life crisis fucking blows.

Let me throw one more dice
I know that I can win
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

Mine is starting to hit me, but it’s not the same as the average American’s experience. It’s not so much that I feel aimless or less successful than my peers. With my situation, I’m having a terribly difficult time adjusting to graduate school. I didn’t expect it to be exactly like undergrad, where I had a robust social life of parties, dinners, philanthropies, and adventures. I knew there would be an adjustment to seeing school more as a full time job than something else I was doing in addition to my extracurriculars. What I never saw coming was the sheer volume of work expected of me. This semester, I have three separate people expecting me to publish, two presentations of about an hour apiece, an entire residence hall of about 112 people to maintain, and a student organization to guide. Given the fact that I’m surrounded by the same amount of parties and nights out as I had undergrad, it’s downright depressing that this vast level of work impedes me from simply going to a football game tailgate or joining some friends for a drink downtown.

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
And I’ll check my machine, there’s sure to be that call

I’m not trying to pull my Debbie Downer card, but it is a very strange predicament here. I’m 24 and in charge of my own residence hall, so I can’t slash shouldn’t go out with undergrads. I have little to no desire to go out with people from my own cohort because of their severe social retardation. And going out with the professional staff is uncomfortable and blurs too many lines for me. To be brutally honest, I’ve basically just resigned myself to a semester in my room and the library as I trudge through the minefield that is my masters program.  So I sign off on my most depressing post of all time, hoping that it hasn’t significantly changed my readers’ view of this blog. I have to go read another 100 pages for work, then sit on three separate meetings from noon through nine tonight, and teach myself literally hundreds of pages of information so I can run training for several undergrad students. I hate to say it, but to paraphrase Smokey Robinson – there ain’t too much sadder than the tears of a clown.

Don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

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1 Comment

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One response to “Quarter Life Crisis

  1. A

    I randomly stumbled across your blog, and I must say, that I agree with this post tenfold. I, too, am 24 and experiencing my quarter life crisis- trying to find my place in the professional world, and disengage from the normal-college lifestyle, it’s tough but I’m learning a lot about myself!!

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