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"quarter life crisis'


I am having an interesting reaction to something I have been hearing around campus lately. I'm hearing a lot of students in their mid-20s talk about frantically trying to cram in as many hours as possible because they are having a "quarter life crisis" and don't want to be old by the time they finish their degree, they must finish before they're 30, etc. This is all really bothering me, particularly the use of the term 'quarter life crisis." It bothered me so much that I looked up the term to see exactly what it is and if, in fact, it is a legitimate term.



It is a legitimate term. However, these kids in their mid-20s who have come straight out of undergrad and in some cases are getting two Master's degrees at once are not experiencing quarter life crises. Quarter life crisis is something I know very well, and that explains why i am disturbed to hear basically happy people throwing the term around. These are people who have neer had the experience of graduating and being unable to get hired in your field, not having a life partner while the rest of your peers raise families, not having a clue what you want to do about the rest of your life since you had to move home with your parents due to inability to support yourself, etc. That is quarter life crisis. Worrying that you might be 31 when you finish your second Master's degree is not quarter life crisis. 31 is a normal age for the completion of a second Master's degree. It is often a normal age for the completion of a first Master's degree, especially when a person has spent some time doing ministry, working, etc.



On top of this, some of these same people have said to me upon hearing that I'm concerned about passing my classes, "You can always take an F and take it again." No wonder they're worrying about not finishing those degrees before they're 30! I will be 35 years old next month. I have at least three years left on this degree--probably three and a half just to leave time for disability mess that comes up. I will be close to 40 when I finish my Master's degree. I'm talking about getting a doctoral degree--and I'd like to get a D.Min. as well as a Th.D. I will be one old lady by the time I get done with this stuff. I don't want to hear about quarter life crises. These kids are going to have entire lifetimes to do their ministries: 25 to 30 years! i will be lucky to have ten years between my age and my health.



But I think the thing that is most disturbing to me is the fact that while they talk about "quarter life crisis," they waste time taking Fs in classes because "you can always take it again." It's one thing for something to come up and totally crash your efforts at something; but it seems so wasteful to start something and then throw it all away. If time is so precious, then treat it as precious! But I am afraid to say any of this--I don't want to offend.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
kookie_chick
Apr. 23rd, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC)
But I am afraid to say any of this--I don't want to offend.

But maybe some of these kids NEED to hear what you have to say. You have the benefit of having more life experience than they do. What good is it to have accumulated wisdom if you don't share it? That's not to say you need to be nasty about it, but I think you should tell them these things - especially your last paragraph. Deliberately failing a class to take it again? God has blessed them with the gift of time. This is NOT being a good steward of that gift. Just my two cents.
orpheus42
Apr. 23rd, 2007 08:52 pm (UTC)
The question I would ask is whether the attitude "I can take an F and take it again later" is really an attitude that glorifies God with our studies, whether it meets Paul's expectation that we should "do everything as if for the Lord, and not for people." (Col. 3:13).

I can understand the quarter-life crisis bit, I'm kinda there right now. But at the same time, I want Jesus to define me, not a "crisis".
sophiahagia
Apr. 23rd, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
Argh, people in my age bracket disgust me.

I didn't hear quarter-life crisis come into usage really until the movie Garden State was released. (It's about a guy who had a legitimate quarter life crisis, if you've never seen it.) People in their late teens to mid twenties seem to have taken this film as gospel. It's very disturbing.

But, yeah. I'll just pause here and apologize for my generation. We're not all the same, I promise.:)
kindletheflame
Apr. 23rd, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
I sometimes feel behind when I hear about other 25-year-olds who are doing their first or second masters degree, but I realize I'm not at all. At my projection I should be done my masters degree when I'm 29. I don't think that's old. I'd rather have it that way and have some work/life experience behind me than have my Ph.D. when I'm 30 but never have experienced anything outside of being a student.
kl1964
Apr. 24th, 2007 01:39 am (UTC)
Gosh, I must be even more out of touch than I thought. Until I saw the reference to it here, I had never heard the term quarterlife crisis before. When I was in school, nobody ever told me that I could always take an F and do it over, but bear in mind that was almost twenty years ago. I think some of those talking about the quarterlife crisis are caught in a bit of an oxymoronic existence. On one hand, they feel they have all the time in the world (as in taking F's and doing it over), but they want what they want now. I wonder what will be next? Ten-year-olds suffering from a tenth-life crisis? *G*
Curmudgeonly yours...
hurricaneamy
Apr. 24th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
My thoughts are, as is typical for me, on two ends of the spectrum.
On one hand, I hear you re taking F's and doing the classes over. That's just stupid, immature, unwise, to say the least. And I echo what Kevin said re feeling like life is passing them by, they want things now, not later, yet they feel they have all the time in the world. I have been there, done that in some ways.

But on a purely emotional level, and please, please forgive me, but I'm having a hard time reading that people in my age range are kids. I think the term "kids" gives a negative conotation, at least in some ways, and I've noticed this reaction from myself whenever it happens from anyone, because I'm not a kid, and while I agree their behavior isn't exactly wise, I think most might not be okay with being called such.

Also... what if it is a genuine life crisis? What if it is a genuine not knowing? I'm kind of feeling like if it isn't the things you described, it's not genuine, and again, I know this is my emotions. Yet the question still remains, and I'm not sure how to reconcile that genuine need I have for an answer, not for myself, but for anyone. I know what you're saying and can even agree to a point, yet...

I can see a balance issue--life's always, always a balancing act--between running with something entirely too much, or not listening to something enough, and that there's a line between what's genuine and what isn't. Yet for each person it's different. On one hand, I want to apologize for people around my age most profusely, say we're not all like that etc. On the other, I see some people who are younger exhibiting a maturity I never knew at their age. That maturity and depth intrigues me.
3kitties
Apr. 24th, 2007 09:08 am (UTC)
sorting out reactions
Is it possible that your emotional reactions are keeping you from hearing what I'm saying here? I'm saying that worrying about not finishing two Master's degrees before one is 30 is not reasonable. That is trying to cram all kinds of stuff into too short a time. I'm talking about people who want to work full time, get two Master's degrees, do a bunch of traveling, etc, all before they're 30 because somehow turning 30 makes them old and decrepit. It isn't good for the emotional health, and it's not an accurate use of the term quarter life crisis.
yummykit
Apr. 24th, 2007 05:58 am (UTC)
Maybe the quarter life crisis that these students are experiencing is related to the fact that they have NOT acquired real life experience during their studies, yet they are acquiring more and more degrees. I have friends who have done this only to eventually realize what they were doing, panic, and try to figure out how they were going to fix it.

I think people have all sorts of quarter life crises. For one, it might be what you've talked about -- being unable to find a job in their given field. For another, it could be the fact that they've seemingly gone through schooling only to find out that they didn't spend a single moment to get to know themselves in the process. For another yet, it may be the fact that they are forced into adult situations and responsibility that they are not prepared to handle. It could be almost ANYTHING and it completely depends on the person, in my opinion.

What seems like nothing may be the end of the world to another and vice versa. It all depends on perspective. Then again, I'm 23 and have my own quarter life crisis to look forward to (ha!!). Although, I feel like I've somewhat gone through my own since having to come home, reevaluate my life and figure out how my career will be able to work with my health. Just because not everyone's crisis is like this doesn't mean they aren't valid. Heck, I'd kill to have a superficial crisis :)
3kitties
Apr. 24th, 2007 09:22 am (UTC)
interesting perspective
Thanks for the perspective. You made me think a bit more about what is actually bothering me. I can appreciate the concept of different types of "crises" that need to be resolved. I think the things that are bugging me are the bad attitude about turning 30 combined with the cavalier attitude about classes. It doesn't compute with the experience of crisis. Then again, maybe that is how csisis gets handled at that point in life. I don't know. Listening to this kind of stuff, I just osrt of want to ask why they are choosing the things they do if there is no joy in it. But my perspective is from having lived life without joy, and I need the joy in what I do even if I'm 45 when I finish it.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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