What happens to life after college? For so many of us it’s a time where we don’t know exactly where we are going or heading. Friends get engaged, married, and pregnant while we wonder if life is passing us by faster than we thought. We worry about finding jobs and wonder where to go in our careers once we do find that first gig. In short, the Quarterlife crisis is where we stop being kids and start being grown up.
For the next few days I’ll be hosting different perspectives on our post-college lives because even though we maybe going through times of personal growth and exploration- we aren’t doing it alone.
Much of my career thus far has been stressful – and I KNOW I am not the only one. There are approximately one million blogs dedicated to the subject of work/life balance, and how to achieve it (or what happens when you don’t.)
I went through a lot of mini-quarter life crises even before I hit the quarter life. There was pressure everywhere, and opinions in every direction. When I graduated college, no one really gave me an indication of a next step. In my graduating class at NYU, a ton of people opted for law school instead of moving on to the work force – and for many, it was because of the money. They had the money to spend, so why not continue the perpetual life of being a student?
For me, it was a different story. I also wanted to remain a student, so I decided to do a grad school program that fit with my previous major. I did it while working a full time job at a nonprofit in fundraising. This spelled burn out 2006. And 2007. And 2008.
AND the craziest thing? I am not alone. Many colleagues of mine had just “stumbled” into their careers, and wound up wherever they were by chance. To me, it seemed like everyone – regardless of age – was facing a quarter life crisis. They had let the dice land where they may, and wound up in a stage of no direction, feeling like they had no control.
Today, I am at the quarter life mark for real. I am 25, in a management position, and still confused. Why is this the case? Why do we always look at ourselves in the mirror and feel a breakdown coming on if we can’t sense our direction at such a young age? My take on it so far has been that many twenty-something’s have a hard time setting boundaries.
We take on suggestions of our peers, our parents, fellow bloggers, and society in general. We try new jobs, new clothes, and new cities. We welcome responsibility at work, but have a hard time saying no. This has been the story of my quarter life crisis. I have taken into account what many others think I should be doing – and less what I myself think I should be doing.
I tried fundraising because it was the hand I was dealt. Sometimes I regret it – but I think that mastering the quarter life crisis is also about the need to pick out the good things in each of our decisions (whether they were independently made or not.)
This has most definitely been a boundary to figuring out “who I am” as a worker, and maybe even as a quarter lifer. Whenever I am asked to guest blog post, I always think about the one thing that I haven’t revealed yet in my own blog work – and I think it’s that. I have spent a large amount of time listening to what others think my quarter life should look at, and not enough time shaping it.
Embrace the quarter life crisis and your role in changing it. Only you can influence the outcome, and the result. Tune out the voices. Listen in.