College: the four years that are supposed to be the best years of our lives. We spend them drinking way too much (coffee and alcohol), experimenting with anything and everything, meeting new people, making lasting connections, hook ups, procrastinating, pulling all nighters (because of the procrastinating), ditching classes, learning about ourselves (more so than any subject), and simply making memories that we can (or can’t) tell our kids one day.
We eventually graduate. Then what?
Senior year is always bittersweet. Or, at least that’s the way I see it. Graduation, the end of all exams, papers, and classes, is finally within our reach. But, so is the end of “the best four years of our lives.” We panic because we realize that this is it, then end of our college career, and we need to start looking for a job, in the REAL WORLD. No more answering to professors, who can be easily lied to, now we answer to bosses, who usually take no excuses. We dance through the months in anticipation of donning our cap and gown, the anticipation of our futures, the anticipation of making a salary, the anticipation of doing something “meaningful.” That is, once we get that job offer. Until that rolls in, we dance around with the fear that the shit hole that is our current economy will directly affect our pursuit of professional happiness.
Everyone knows this is the cycle. We await it; welcome it even. We go into senior year making promises of recklessness; to end this year with a bang. We are very aware of the emotions and life changes we will go through. But, what really happens after we have that job and we’re off living the lives of adults?
Enter the Quarter Life Crisis. Yes, it does exist and I’ve witnessed it first hand. A guy I’ve been seeing is four years older than me, making him 25. Since I met him five months ago, he’s been dealing with this depression and confusion about his life. He is so afraid of making any decisions and he can’t figure out what’s right or wrong or how to face his problems. I’m like hey, you have an awesome job, make great money, and you have all the possibilities in the world. What is the problem? Then I read this amazing article about being in your “twenty somethings” and it all made sense.
The problem is that once we are granted access to the realms of the “real world” post graduation, we are suddenly given all these endless possibilities and opportunities. It sounds great at face value, but think about it. The article says it best, “They can’t make any decisions, because they don’t know what they want, and they don’t know what they want because they don’t know who they are, and they don’t know who they are because they’re allowed to be anyone they want.”
It’s so true though. I know so many of my older friends who had all these plans in college. Now, they’re left wondering what their real purpose is after all, because either their plan did go accordingly, or they realized that what they wanted to do all this time doesn’t really make them happy. So what is that solution?
Hell if I know. I’m stretching beyond my scope of experience as it is. As a rising senior, I’m bubbling with excitement about what’s to come. I hardly want to think about being depressed in four years.
It just goes to show that nothing (or almost nothing) we plan out for ourselves is what ends up happening. After reading this article, I could prepare myself as much as possible for the impending doom that will eventually enclose around me. But, I won’t. Life will always happen at whatever speed or direction it wants to. All we can do is adjust.
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, even if that includes a couple years of deep, dark confusion in my mid twenties. I’ll embrace it. We don’t have much time here on the earth if you really think about it. The summer is already almost over, then college will be almost over, then before you know it you’re going through a mid-life crises with 3 kids, an annoying husband, and a mortgage.
In short, I am graduating college this year and no, I don’t know what I’m getting myself into. I do have a semblance of a plan but who knows what will happen to that. As my dad always says, “Que sera, sera.” What will be, will be.