When it comes to the word “crisis,” there are many different interpretations that people may have of what it actually means. A crisis can often be associated with a natural disaster or a sudden life-altering event. However, what many people may not know is that going through a crisis is a lot more common than you might think.
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, one definition of a crisis is “an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life.” Right underneath is the hyper link to the word “mid-life crisis.” If there is a mid-life crisis, then surely there’s a quarter-life crisis, right? I’m pretty sure that most 20-something-year-olds out there can say that at some point in their college career, or even post-college career, that they have experienced some form of crisis, whether it was with their identity, finding a new job, change of relationship status or just transitioning from a somewhat adult to an “adultier” adult after graduation. While it’s easy to blame these feelings on stress from work or school, or just overall stress in general, there’s actual research that backs up going through a quarter-life crisis.
A survey done in the UK in 2013 of 1,000 people showed that over 70% of those in their 30s reflected that they had a major life crisis in their 20s that acted as a turning point in their life, and in those over 40, 35% recalled such a crisis in their 20s as well. Some common life events that come into play with these crises include relationship breakups, debt, conflict with parents and friends, dissatisfaction with a current job or unemployment and overall pressure that comes from being a college student. College is hard. Having a social life is hard. Working full or even part time while taking classes is hard. And since the average college age is 18-25, there is a whole spectrum of people who are experiencing different things, so why put everyone in one box and label it “basic school struggles?” So often we choose to put those feelings and experiences on the back burner to avoid dealing with it for fear of it being dismissed.
For some reason, this generation of college students has created an aesthetic around struggling in their 20s and joking about the mental illness that comes with it. We are in a time where now more than ever there are resources and people qualified to help us deal with these feelings, so why hasn’t the conversation of dealing with the quarter-life crisis been started? Let me be one of the first. My name isJocelyn. I am 23 years old, still in my undergrad (I know) and I am experiencing my quarter-life crisis this semester. Almost everything I listed above that may go into a crisis is what I am currently dealing with, and for the longest time I told myself I was okay. However, the people who know me personally noticed that something was wrong, and it wasn’t until I opened up to my favorite professor about what I was going through that I realized I wasn’t okay either. While everything in my life isn’t perfect now, I am happier, healthier and taking better care of my mental and physical health.
We, as students, are in a time where life is changing, we are changing, and the feelings that come with those changes, while they can be scary, are normal. If you find yourself going through something that feels like it’s more than just the “basic” day to day stress, don’t ignore or brush it off like I did. Your feelings are valid, and finding someone you trust, whether it’s a friend, a mentor or a professional, is one of the best things you can do. Sharing your struggles doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human.