The Quarter Life Crisis

Posted on July 25, 2012


A couple of weeks ago I came across this article, The Quarterlife Crisis: Young, Insecure and Depressed, on the Guardian’s website. Reading through it I started to think that this sounds a bit like me.

Starting University was one of the scariest, overwhelming, most exciting times of my life. But no one tells you that leaving will be just the same, without the excitement. One minute you’re chilling with your friends, trying to stick to deadlines and having way too many late nights. The next your back home with your parents, far away from the people that you have spent the last 3 years with, wondering what to do next. Plus, if you’re anything like me you’re skint. If you haven’t completely lost touch with your friends at home you can’t afford to go out with them.

Around the same time as reading this article I had to make the decision whether to go to a friend’s graduation party. It was far away, I couldn’t afford the travel or the dress, but I really wanted to go. So used to using my overdraft until the next loan came in, the complete lack of cash has left me stunned. So I tried to be an adult about it and say I couldn’t go. When you don’t know where your next lot of money is coming I guess it isn’t smart to spend the little you have. But when you’re used to having your friends so close when you need them, it is a lot to get used to.

So is this Quarterlife Crisis a real thing? It’s nice to see that the young people are getting sympathy from the newspapers for once. A Mail Online article says that around 4.1 million young people in Britain are suffering from it. It says, “Of these, 1.7 million were in the grip of a ‘severe crisis’. Most believed they had fallen hopelessly behind with financial goals such as buying a home or paying off student debt and a third were putting themselves under huge amounts of pressure to succeed in their careers or jobs.”

It’s no wonder when we’re being told that there are no jobs and ‘a degree isn’t everything.’ Well it could be to us. We don’t want to be told we have wasted three years of our lives. The good jobs are apparently all in the big cities. But we can’t afford to move there, and unpaid internships are out of the question if they are three hours away on the train.

So far I have been unlucky in my job search. But it’s early days. I was put off signing on because people told me they’re not very nice and make you get any job you can. In my experience so far it hasn’t been like this. But again, it’s early days.

So how do we escape this Quarterlife Crisis? These are just some of my thoughts

  • Stay on target… Before you started University you had goals, you knew why you were going to do the course you chose (hopefully), and you were excited. Keep that in mind. You have the qualifications you wanted (again hopefully) and you know way more about getting where you want to be.
  • Ignore the people around you… The ones asking what you’re doing next and have you found a job yet may be trying to be nice but when you haven’t found a job yet it can be disheartening. Don’t let it get you down. If you’ve worked hard, and are continuing to do so you’ll get where you want to be soon enough.
  • Totally against the advice from the adult side of my brain, I’ve booked a holiday, which I recommend to any graduate if they can afford it. It’ll leave me completely cash-less but you don’t realise until it has finished that University is exhausting. Although you have to be careful when you don’t have much money, the way I see it is that some people at home have been neglected while you were away, so rather than getting caught up in yourself, doing something together would be nice.
  • Get help… If you really think you may be depressed, see a doctor. I hate when people say that depression isn’t a real illness. It is, and there is a lot of help out there if you look. It can only get worse if you don’t.
  • Grow up a bit… no one said it would be easy. The whole point in University was to get us into a situation where we could get the job we want. But there’s still more work to do. It has to get easier eventually.

So are we really suffering from this Quarterlife Crisis, or is it just a touch of the Post-Uni Blues? We’re too skint to go out and buy a sports car like those going through a mid-life crisis, and too young to get a toy boy. So I guess we’re going to have to suck it up and get on with it. I think we are a smarter generation than we’re given credit for.

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