Friday, April 6, 2012

Quarter-Life Crisis

Earlier today, as I stared at myself in the mirror, I realized that I am in the middle of a genuine quarter-life crisis. Even though I have been peering into the same mirror everyday for the past few years or more, this morning was different. What am I doing still living in a residence hall…at my age? Why am I still working a job that has not made me feel completely fulfilled for some time? Did I waste my potential by taking the hall director position? Did I make a mistake choosing Education rather than Accounting?

Today, I spent hours poring over every major decision I have made in my life and critically questioned each of them. I have tried to be a person who lives without regret—everything happens for a reason is my motto. But, at times like these, I wonder if I should have taken college more seriously. I goofed off and skipped too many classes, which made my trip to graduation a longer one. What if I had taken the typical four years to get my Bachelors? Would I be the same person typing this blog post?

And, what if I chose Accounting or Computer Science as my major, which I had wanted to do when I was younger, rather than Education. Would I be a more successful person? Would I have my own home and a corner office with a view of the city? Would I be happier? Would I have more money? Does more money equal happiness? I love what I do—sometimes—but, there are days when I wish I had taken a more conventional path. Who grows up wanting to be a hall director anyway?

As I impatiently wait for the phone to ring with a job offer, or at least an invitation for an on-campus visit, I sadly wonder if I made the right decision. To assuage the stress and doubt, I try to remind myself that who I am today would never be if it was not for the mistakes, the challenges, the risks, and the crazy decision to postpone paying rent. To quote Batman, I guess I am the person I deserve, not the person I need or want to be. 


  1. I know exactly how you feel! Almost everyday I question why I chose the route of becoming a hall director. I love working with my students...well most of them, but at times I would love to have work life/personal life balance. I question why in the world did I choose higher ed...or did higher ed choose me.

  2. You and me both, my friend. I don't know your exact age, but I'm 23 and I suspect you are close to that range if you're experiencing a quarter-life crisis. At this stage of our lives, I think it's perfectly natural to second-guess every decision we make. Like you, I spend a great deal of my time wondering what I could have done differently, but more importantly, where I should go from here. There are no easy an episode of Lost, the search for truth only brings more questions.

    I think it's about reinvention. To experience a quarter-life crisis you have to have some degree of satisfaction with your current lifestyle. I know I do, and that's why I'm in this boat. But breaking out of a comfortable cycle is one of the most difficult things you can ever do. You don't have to pay rent, and I'm still a grad student so I get to shy away from certain responsibilities as well (my student loans pay my rent). I'm not necessarily saying you should change your career, unless you are really burned out. Res Life is very draining...and makes the work-life balance very difficult to manage.

    You know yourself better than any of your readers, so all I can say is take a very honest assessment of yourself. What you see as your strengths, what you see as areas of improvement. What don't you like about where you are now? Where do you want to be? Identify a goal, then chase it. Even if it doesn't go as planned, that outcome will still be better than wondering "What if?"

    (Disclaimer: this advice is really easy to give, but tough to follow. As much as I desire to do the same thing every day, reality always seems to interfere. I feel ya. Trust me.)