25 to Life: How to Conquer the Quarter Life Crisis

Use this strategy to combat the inevitably scary transition

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Your 20s are supposed to be the best decade of your life. Your education is wrapping up, you’re starting your dream job and your plans for your future are all in place. However, this period can also be a time of confusion, stress and uncertainty, ushering in the inevitable quarter life crisis. Occurring about a year or two after you graduate from college, you may be well into the second year of that 9-to-5 and find yourself asking, “Is this it?”

“Being twenty-something now is scary—fighting millions of other graduates for your first job, struggling to raise a mortgage deposit and finding time to juggle all your relationships,” says Damian Barr, author of Get It Together: A Guide To Surviving Your Quarter-Life Crisis.

Experts indicate that after years of learning how to succeed in school, college grads are thrown into the world of work with no real understanding of how to succeed in it, thus provoking a profound come-to-Jesus moment. Others cite the warped way pop culture has portrays the concept of work, leading to unrealistic expectations among young professionals. Either way, the struggle is real. Here’s how to beat the post-graduate blues:

Develop realistic expectations. Unless you’re extremely fortunate, odds are, you aren’t likely to land the corner office and a 6 figure salary straight out of college. While some of us dream of being the next Oprah or Tyler Perry, working at an entry-level job is where you have to pay your dues in order to move up. It will help to develop a mentoring relationship with someone in your same profession and learn the steps it takes to make the kind of progression you hope to make.

Discover your passions. Spend some alone time to conduct some serious self-assessment. What are your passions? What are your favorite activities? What do you dislike? What first inspired you about your college major(s)? This time should allow you to begin getting clarity about your next steps in terms of career and education. Keep in mind that your passions may change as you experience more things and grow as a person.

Cultivate your own definition of success. Be comfortable in your own shoes. The only person you need to impress is yourself. Don’t measure your success by somebody’s success. Comparisons will only lead to criticisms and lower your self-confidence in return. Set your goals and work towards accomplishing it.

Have you faced a quarter life crisis? How did you handle it? #SoundOff and follow me on Twitter @JayNHarrison.

  • I’ve dealt with some hard times after graduating from college in 2006. First thing I learned is that college is a university setting with no real-life reflections of how the world actually is. I obtained a very entry-level job and could not afford anything, especially my student loan payments. I lost my job 18 months later, ended up moving in with my folks and had a bad break-up. The things that kept me going with strength in God and my family, and keeping busy with some pasttimes such as writing and music. I had a strong routine, and when the routine didn’t work, I would switch it up. Since then, I ended up getting a better job (then, left that job to get even better one), met someone else (on the right track to marriage) and landed a beautiful job which allows me to travel the world. My advice would be to never give up and always work hard. Some things are temporary, but as you get older the things that you’ve been through strengthens your character for years to come.