Quarter-life crisis, the point in a young adults life in which they are met with the task of deciding what to do with their life. The crisis aspect arises due to the importance of this task and the fear of failure. The problem with the term quarter-life crisis is that it is not a period of crisis but rather a necessary transition period into the real world.
The ending of one period of life and moving into the next is a time filled with the unknown. People who are moving on from college have quite a lot on their plate. They are working to figure out their career path or grad school, where they are going to live, and adjust to the possibility of moving away from friends and family. Perhaps the most crushing pressure is that which the twenty-somethings apply to themselves; expectations.
Often times, people expect that life after college will be immediately perfect. What recent graduates are lead to expect, based on how this period of time is represented within the media and advertising, can cause a sense of panic when things are not going as assumed. The reality that is being presented by the media and advertising is something that is achieved over time, not immediately. To avoid this sense of anxiety, recent graduates should realize this necessity of time and adjust expectations to more appropriate goals.
An additional factor that perpetuates this fear of transition is the fact that people are constantly comparing themselves to others. This is preoccupation with the lives of those around us in comparison to our own is often called “the other OCD” or Obsessive Comparison Disorder. This is particularly prevalent in people graduating from college as one of the most common questions to be heard asked is , “what are your plans for next year?” This not so subtle check of what others have in store or have accomplished can breed a feeling of inadequacy or of falling behind everyone else. A simple solution would be to work on not over-analyzing others’ lives and instead focusing on self-improvement.
The main thing to keep in mind is that everyone has to go through this transition period or something like it at some point in their life. The transition will likely take a large amount of hard work in order to achieve each person’s desired end result but it will be well worth it. Keep a steady, focused mind and it will be a smoother transition.
For more insight into the idea of the quarter-life crisis, check out this article from Relevant magazine.