The Quarter-Life Crisis: Doubts Brought On By College
Start writing a post
Student Life

The Quarter-Life Crisis: Doubts Brought On By College

Are you feeling overwhelmed by college and expectations and the uncertainty of the future?

145
Personal Photo
Lexie Pitzen Personal Photo

At 11:22 p.m., my best friend texted me, "I think I just had a quarter-life crisis."

She had come to the realization that she's turning twenty next year. We both are. We still have to turn nineteen this year, but the number twenty has a certain terrifying ring to it.

"I've been questioning the last year of my life all night tonight," she continued.

So, naturally, I started questioning my own. I started thinking about all of the things that I haven't done yet. I haven't traveled the world. I haven't gotten engaged. I haven't landed my dream job or sculpted my ideal body or built my fantasy lifestyle. I'm still tired, I'm still unhappy, I'm still lonely. I'm eighteen years old -- I'm turning twenty next year -- and I have no idea where I'm going. So, I understood how my friend was feeling.

I tried to validate the last year of my life, thinking of all of the good things that happened, practicing gratitude. I dug out my bright yellow bucket list from the bottom of my desk. I counted the checkboxes I've filled.

Move to college. Check.

Sell my art. Check.

Get a new job. Check.

Write for a publication. Check.

Fall in love. Scratched out. (You can't put love on a to-do list.)

Choose a college major. Check.

Why doesn't it feel like enough? I'm writing this article from my college dorm, six stories above the Florida State University campus, watching my coffee swirl and my string lights sparkle. From where I'm sitting, I can see so many happy little things -- a letter from my family, the sketchbook I've been filling, and a ticket to the concert I'm going to next month. Someday, these things will all be gone. I should appreciate this life now. But why doesn't it feel like enough?

Though overwhelming, this feeling is not unusual. Former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, in a video for PragerU, described experiencing her own quarter-life crisis as a young professional. "A lot was going my way -- at least, on the surface," she said. "So, why didn't I feel great about my life? I was working as a press secretary for a congressman. I should have been happy about that. But, instead, I just felt trapped, anxious, and uncertain about my future."

"On the personal side, things weren't much better," she continued. "I hadn't had a boyfriend in years, and there were no prospects on the horizon. Marriage seemed like an impossible dream. I loved my friends, but I still felt lonely."

Perino described strategies that she used to work through her own quarter-life crisis. She recommended moving -- whether to a new city or a new school or a new job. Rather than confining yourself to one place, move and explore and chase opportunities while you still can.

Then, she recommended taking inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Determine how you can use them to build the life that you desire, set goals, and, finally, take steps towards achieving them. "When you set goals and work toward them, positive things happen," Perino said. It might not be the things that you expect. It might not be the life that you envisioned. And that's okay. "You gain skills," she continued, "and those skills will create opportunities that never would've existed if you weren't working toward something."

Before I turned eighteen, I set big, bold, daunting goals -- they're the best kind -- determined to shatter my comfort zone and grow into an entirely new person. And, to an extent, I did. I grew in many ways and accomplished many of my goals. But it wasn't enough. It didn't magically fix everything. Turning eighteen, I had visions of becoming happy. I thought that checking off my goals one by one would increase my happiness step by step, and it didn't. My own expectations of my life held me back from appreciating the good things that were actually happening as I worked towards my goals. My quarter-life crisis came from examining the contrast between my real life and the idealized life that I envisioned.

"All These Things That I Have Done" by The Killers is one of my all-time favorite songs because of one main line, "You're gonna bring yourself down."

It's true. I am going to bring myself down. My eighteen-year-old uncertainty is going to bring me down. My life is unfolding right in front of me, and my idealized vision of it will stop me from running full-force in the real direction that it's taking.

Maybe you're having your own quarter-life crisis. Maybe you don't know where you're going anymore, or maybe your life doesn't look the way you envisioned. These feelings will try to hold you back. They will try to consume you, and they will try to stop you from pursuing the opportunities right in front of you. Don't let them.

Keep working hard with pure intentions and patience, and life will eventually align. After all, there seems to be only one true cure for a quarter-life crisis: time.

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

Unlocking Lake People's Secrets: 15 Must-Knows!

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

932528
Group of joyful friends sitting in a boat
Haley Harvey

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people.

Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Top 10 Reasons My School Rocks!

Why I Chose a Small School Over a Big University.

108379
man in black long sleeve shirt and black pants walking on white concrete pathway

I was asked so many times why I wanted to go to a small school when a big university is so much better. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a big university is great but I absolutely love going to a small school. I know that I miss out on big sporting events and having people actually know where it is. I can't even count how many times I've been asked where it is and I know they won't know so I just say "somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin." But, I get to know most people at my school and I know my professors very well. Not to mention, being able to walk to the other side of campus in 5 minutes at a casual walking pace. I am so happy I made the decision to go to school where I did. I love my school and these are just a few reasons why.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lots of people sat on the cinema wearing 3D glasses
Pinterest

Ever wonder what your friend meant when they started babbling about you taking their stapler? Or how whenever you ask your friend for a favor they respond with "As You Wish?" Are you looking for new and creative ways to insult your friends?

Well, look no further. Here is a list of 70 of the most quotable movies of all time. Here you will find answers to your questions along with a multitude of other things such as; new insults for your friends, interesting characters, fantastic story lines, and of course quotes to log into your mind for future use.

Keep Reading...Show less
New Year Resolutions

It's 2024! You drank champagne, you wore funny glasses, and you watched the ball drop as you sang the night away with your best friends and family. What comes next you may ask? Sadly you will have to return to the real world full of work and school and paying bills. "Ah! But I have my New Year's Resolutions!"- you may say. But most of them are 100% complete cliches that you won't hold on to. Here is a list of those things you hear all around the world.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

The Ultimate Birthday: Unveiling the Perfect Day to Celebrate!

Let's be real, the day your birthday falls on could really make or break it.

52045
​different color birthday candles on a cake
Blacksburg Children's Museum

You heard it here first: birthdays in college are some of the best days of your four years. For one day annually, you get to forget about your identity as a stressed, broke, and overworked student, and take the time to celebrate. You can throw your responsibilities for a day, use your one skip in that class you hate, receive kind cards and gifts from loved ones and just enjoy yourself.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments