April 23rd, 2007


"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.

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