My Almost Sorta Quarter-Life Crisis
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Student Life

My Almost Sorta Quarter-Life Crisis

You can say I was going a bit crazy, but that'd be an understatement.

My Almost Sorta Quarter-Life Crisis
Taylor Stetzar

Turn back time to the fall semester and I could almost guarantee you that, on any given day, I was having a breakdown over something. Whether it was a pop quiz I just wasn’t prepared for, my shorts fitting a little too snug or Panera Bread running out of my favorite salad dressing; I was always a big ball of teary eyed, stressed out mush. To top it all off, I had just confirmed with my collegiate form of a guidance counselor (advisor, life coach, pseudo mother?) that I would be graduating a whole year early from school.

At first, I was pumped because that's a whole year's worth of debt I escaped. However, terror slowly creeped into my skin, flowing deep into my veins and poisoning my carefree attitude. A year early meant year less fun, friends, road trips and making memories. But worst of all, graduating a year early meant that I was 365 days closer to becoming an adult.

(Insert scary music here)

I was devastated. I can't simply put on a cap and gown, walk across a stage and pretend I know what I'm doing. Where do I do from there? Do I move out? How do I apply for a real person job? Do I even like my major?

All these questions sent me into a perpetual state of anti-anticipation. I began researching graduate schools, law schools, even apartments in Nashville, because for some reason I've always had a liking for Tennessee. One night I even came home at 2 a.m. and tried to buy a one way plane ticket to Florida to run away from my responsibilities but passed out before I could decide if I wanted to spend the rest of my life in Orlando or Miami. I dreaded the next week because that brought me closer to next semester, to graduation and ultimately, to death.

You can say I was going a bit crazy, but that'd be an understatement.

All around me were kids from the "fund," aka the business school kids who are sure to be millionaires before they're 25, discussing the stock market and their five year plans, yet I was still trying to plan my weekend. It scared me knowing that all these other people had more time to figure things out, and that some of them already had, while I was still trying to remember that Kansas City is not the capital of Kansas (seriously, why not.)

However, as time has passed, I began to realize that I've been worrying myself to death over absolutely nothing. I've seen so many of my peers grow up, and yet so many still where they were five years ago, that it has changed my whole outlook on my path. Over the course of my second year in college, I learned some really important things about "adulting" and planning for the future.

1. Shit happens.

You can have a well thought out five year plan complete with a 20 page, single spaced essay with in text citations and a cover letter, but within 24 hours of finishing it, something could happen that ruins the whole thing.

Sure, having goals is a necessity if you ever want to make something of yourself, but trying to plan out everything is, simply put, a waste of time. Instead, set small goals for yourself, work toward them and go with the flow. Use the little goals as stepping stones to the bigger picture that changes with every stroke of your life's brush.

2. Don't be afraid.

When they say nobody has a clue what they're doing, believe them.

The other day on a plane ride to Newark, New Jersey (don't ask) I met a very outgoing and interesting man. He told me that he and his wife had moved to the area from California and that he had been a pretty successful lawyer for some years before deciding that the job wasn't for him. That's right people, he went through college, law school and a move to possibly the most depressed area in the nation for him to realize that what he wanted to do was become a professor.

Crazy, right? Well, not for him. It just goes to show you that you may think you've got it all figured out – a beautiful spouse, a great paying job, living in paradise – only to pick up one day and find true happiness in a place like Scranton, Pennsylvania.

3. You'll figure out all of this "adult stuff"... eventually.

So taxes make your head hurt, you just burned your hand making Ramen noodles, and the though the thought of calling to make your own doctor's appointment gives you heinous nightmares. But, have no fear; it gets easier. There are over 7 billion people in the world and I think it's safe to say that most of them are "adults." If they can figure out how to parallel park on a busy street, so can you. Just be patient and give it a try.

Speaking of "adult stuff," can we please stop calling it "adulting"? There is no such thing as adulting. There is either life stuff, or life stuff that gets taken care of for you, which only happens when you're under the age of 15 or if you're super rich. You're most likely neither, so let's start expanding your cooking knowledge beyond pasta, shall we?

4. Take risks while you're young.

Recently I started working at a hair salon as an assistant. I do the basic stuff to keep the shop running like clean, do laundry, wash hair, answer the phone when I'm not too afraid, etc, etc. It may not seem like a glamorous summer job, but throughout my day, I meet some of the most amazing and inspirational people.

Let's be honest, a hair salon is gossip central, so I can't help but get invested in these people's lives. They tell me of their past and how they got to their present. They tell me stories of things they did while they were my age and all the places they’ve seen, oceans they've swam, and mountains they've climbed. They also tell me their regrets, and of the things they wish they could have experienced before they settled down.

Most importantly, they give me advice. They tell me to go out and make something of myself, to take risks. They push me to move across the country, take that job, go on that date and book that trip. Because one day, I'll be like them: married and settled down, getting my hair done at some hair salon in some city in this world, praying to God that I have the chance to take those opportunities again.

So while I look toward my futures with a quadrillion questions and roughly zero answers, knowing that literally anything can happen somehow makes me worry just a little bit less.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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