Tag Archives: growing up

The Quarter-Life Crisis: You Are Not Alone!

Although our center provides assistance to our alumni and adult degree completion program students, we work predominantly with current, traditional, undergraduate students. More and more, we are finding students very stressed out because they have a) a fear of committing to a career path and never succeeding in it or b) getting out and never being able to get started in the real world. We’re also finding that recently alums are stressed and feeling “stuck in a rut” and unhappy with how their life is going.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the quarter-life crisis. Usually hitting anyone between the ages 25-35, people are getting depressed and frustrated because they aren’t making $60,000 right away or they don’t feel fulfilled in their life. They’re in a job they hate, they have no work-life balance, they still live at home, their friends are too busy to hang out, etc. More than likely, they have been told that they will walk across the stage at graduation and get a job the next day, they’ll get married, buy a house, and have a child and fulfill the American Dream, just like they thought in their five year plan. Unfortunately, that isn’t how it works anymore.

As studies are done on this population, we’re finding that there is a cylce in the quarter-life crisis. Research is showing that on average, it takes about two years to complete the process.

1. The person realizes they are stuck in life, or feel like they’re just running in a hamster wheel with no sense of personal satisfaction. 
2.They find a catalyst and decide everything needs to change. They may quit their job, break up with a significant other, move to another city or state, or any combination of the above. 
3. They do some self-learning and figure out what needed to change to help make their lives more satisfying. They may go back to school, find a new job, or find a way to make more connections. 
4. They will begin to start over, with a better sense of who they are and feel happier.

This can be a very scary and apprehensive time for young people. Many people can sympathize with them, so they feel alone. They are ridiculed with “not sticking with it” or “it’ll work out eventually” or “it’s all just in your head.” They aren’t sure who to ask for help, and many times it doesn’t seem smart to leave their job or take the time to understand themselves. In the end, it’s worth it. It’s always better to follow your heart.

Please know you’re not alone in this, and there are people who can help you. Connect with your family and friends, or reach out to your schools Alumni or Career Services. If you know a young adult who is struggling, reach out to them and help them find ways to change their life for the better. At this point in time, growing up is never easy, but it’s better with a little help and guidance.