Over the past six months, I have noticed a major change in my personality and levels of happiness, which can only be described as a "Quarter-Life Crisis."
Starting in the Spring of my senior year of college, the realisation that I would soon be graduating slowly started to sink in, and I knew my life as I knew it would change drastically. For starters, I had grown so used to being independent over the past four years at university, so it was definitely an adjustment to move back home with my family. My parents are definitely what most people my age would describe as "cool parents", but no matter how cool your parents are, there definitely comes a time when you feel the need to be independent and live on your own. (Or, more realistically for recent college grads, with about two or three roommates.) Secondly, I have kind of lost touch with most of my friends from home, because we have all changed a little bit over the past few years. I was really lucky to meet some great friends from all over the country and world through my years at Elon and my semester studying abroad in France. But, while it's amazing having such a geographically diverse group of friends, it's hard too. I still talk to a lot of my friends regularly through texting, Facebook, and Skype, but I haven't been able to just meet up with a friend to go to a movie or shopping. It's sad thinking that I'm in my twenties—this is supposed to be the most exciting and social time of my life! But, living at home in a small town, far away from all my friends, is far from the glamour associated with being a twentysomething.
And of course, there is the biggest factor: the fact that I am still unemployed. Not only am I unemployed, but I am also completely confused as to what it is that I want to do with my life. It's tough because I want to find a job that I will enjoy, but at the same time, who knows when this dream job could come along, and I'll need to have an income soon. There are some companies that I've applied to and am really excited about, but I know the positions in these companies are so competitive, and I'm up against hundreds of thousands of other young people from all over the country. In the meantime until I find a job, I have been working at the local ice cream shop where I worked when I was in high school. The owner of the shop is so nice, but I have to say, returning to work there has been pretty depressing. I was so sure I would have a job after graduating and wouldn't need to work there again. But unfortunately, the job search process is harder than I expected it to be.
When I was talking to my mom recently, she suggested that maybe the reason I've been feeling depressed over the past several months might have to do with the fact that this is the first time in my life that I don't know what my next step in life is and that things aren't going exactly the way I had thought they would in my mind. And after thinking about that, I think I agree that has been a huge factor in my post-grad depression. When I was a kid, I knew I had school up until I was 18, then I was accepted into my first-choice college, then I landed great internships two summers in a row, and lastly, I was accepted into the on-campus position that I applied for at university. Since everything else had worked out for me in the past, I was so sure that the job process would go just as smoothly (which, of course, it hasn't).
It's now been almost three months since I graduated. I am trying to stay as positive as I can and am continuing to look into different job opportunities. I have also decided that, in case I am still struggling to find a job a few months from now, I am going to start looking into different graduate programs or teaching abroad. I already know of a few great programs that I think would be great experiences and make me really happy! And until I can figure out that next step, I am going to try and stay as positive as I can and channel more of my energy into things that I enjoy: blogging, making YouTube videos, spending time with my family, reading, and keeping in touch with my friends from Elon and abroad.
Thanks for reading, and I will keep you informed of when I decide what that next step in my life is going to be!