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Patrice Bendig

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Life After College -- My Crash Course into Adulthood at 22

Posted: 04/23/2012 1:56 pm

It's a term that's been quite popular over the last few years: quarter-life crisis. The whole concept may seem absurd to older generations, who believe that twenty-somethings have it all. Sure, we may be wrinkle-free and have less cellulite, but I've come to realize that the twenties are a crash course in actual life and self discovery.

For the last 19 years of our lives, we have dedicated all of our time and energy to reach an end product: a college degree and full-time employment. In this economy, being able to get through college financially and then finding a job that will allow us to make the minimum payments for our student loans was hard enough. So now here we are, seated at our brand new cubicles, trying not to be complete newbies at our first jobs.

Now that a few months have passed, the newness has now become routine, and it's quite clear that this is life. There is no set, defined next level to achieve. Some of us are trying to figure out if we've chosen the right career path, others are trying to map out the direction of how to become their company's youngest CEO. For the the first time in many of our lives, we have to make choices for ourselves without little guidance. Sure, family and friends can give their two cents, but they're not the ones putting 60 hours a week into a career hoping it will take off.

Career aside, there is the other social aspect to take into consideration. It seems that each time I log into my Facebook account, another high school or college friend is getting engaged or having babies. Pictures of pastel bridesmaid's dresses and engagement rings set off bells in my head. Am I missing the curve? Is my spinster clock slowly ticking? Nightmares of cats and becoming a lonely hoarder fill my mind till I finally shut the laptop. Not only am I worrying about whether or not my career is going in the right direction, but now my biological clock is ticking in my ear.

In less than a year I've gone from a college student who could walk down the hall to have dinner with friends to going months without seeing friends who live nearby due to different schedules. I filed my taxes for the first time this year and have been called Ma'am for the first time (after which I cried the entire way home.)

Will I find my groove into adult life? Eventually I will, but this transitional period is something that I'm excited to pass. When I enter my thirties, I hope that although I may not be as youthful as I was at 22, my role in life will be a little bit more settled.

 

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