I was twenty-seven years old when I was diagnosed as having experienced the quarter-life crisis. I was actually twenty-six years of age when I first began to experience the symptoms. However, at that time, I didn’t know that there was a name or classification for this condition.
I was twenty-six years old when all of my plans for having a life collapsed. I was supposed to begin studies in a doctorate degree program in music. I am a classical pianist and composer. However, although I had an ‘A’ average in my studies and for nearly my entire life, I was not accepted into the programs to which I applied. Without music, I was another youngster with a useless education. I had no job and no prospects of ever receiving a job in my field… even the local fast food restaurant rejected my application for employment, and I have a Master’s degree!
I was always a scholar and I thought that excellence in school would bring mounds of success in life afterward…
Suddenly, I began to play the piano at the age of six, with no prior training. At the age of twelve, I temporarily abandoned piano studies because I discovered that my instructor’s style of teaching was counterproductive to my progress as a pianist. After about seven months, I resumed piano studies for another year with a new instructor. Unfortunately, the instructor retired, thereby leaving me to continue to provide my own piano instruction. As a teenager, I became a teacher. I had to teach myself in order to become an advanced musician. I discovered that I could uncover my own strengths and weaknesses and, alone, I could work to improve. Therefore, I continued to instruct myself until I arrived at the university. At the university, I studied piano for seven years, percussion for three years, and composition for two years.
I was the ‘exceptional’ child. I learned to recite the alphabet at eighteen months of age, I learned to read the Bible at the age of three, my musical talents became apparent at the age of six, and I was usually academically beyond the children of my age group. I was the valedictorian in elementary school and high school; I graduated from high school early.
I was accepted to several universities, including even being offered a $50,000 scholarship to Tuskegee University. However, attending college far from home was often discouraged in my family. I attended a local university and chose another local university when my family relocated. I studied biology for three years; I was a junior in college at the age of nineteen. After turning twenty years of age, I suddenly decided to change my major to music. I completed a BA and MA in music by the age of twenty-six. When I was not accepted into the doctoral program of my choice, my plans were shattered. I was stunned; I completed both degrees with a nearly straight-A average and was turned down for the final stage of the sculpting of my career as a professor.
I was trapped in a maze and I had to figure out a method of escape. I was offered an entry-level corporate job and I accepted it. However, I still had more to learn about the world of business. I quickly excelled at the position and I began to take on extra assignments that were not my responsibility. Senior management began to approach me for advice and ask me for special workload favors. Surprisingly, these managers would hide this fact from the corporate managers because of my age and the fact that they would have been expected to give me a raise or promotion for completing the excess work. Sadly, I learned that business transactions are sometimes dishonest and I am now, again, unemployed.
However, I am currently enrolled in the university to complete a technical degree and I am completely changing my career goals. I hope that I will be able to find a career that allows me to use my skills in such a way that I am not being disrespectfully used by others.
It has been an exhausting decade…
If you are interested in contributing to the Quarterlife Crisis series feel free to contact me.