By: Jennie Barr
One of the most confusing and stressful times while growing up is better known as the quarter-life crisis—a moment in your life when you question your career, relationship status, living arrangements and overall purpose. Don’t worry, everyone has been there. It’s a time in life where we want to be young and free, but also grounded with direction. And at this time, we might have not landed that dream job or be in the exact position that we pictured ourselves in at this age. Panicking, we start to question our major and why we even went to college. After working hard, getting experience out of the classroom, maintaining a high grade point average and being involved in many student organizations, why is no one hiring me?
Take a step back, take a deep breath, reflect on everything you’ve learned over your past four years and let’s find a cure for this quarter-life crisis. There are seven simple ways to cure this quarter-life crisis.
1. Organize and reflect
Alright, we just finished the four most stressful years of our life. With the completion of more than 120 credit hours and learning overwhelming loads of information, organize all of it. Maybe you still have clothes from high school (for people like myself, maybe even middle school) or you have books from your freshman year that are collecting dust in the corner of your room. Clear out the clutter and organize your paperwork to help relieve some of that built-up stress. Avoid feeling like something is wrong with you because you don’t have a job lined up, or that perfect internship. After four years of growth and information overload, this is your time to sort out everything you’ve learned. Take a month, or year if you have to, to reflect and process everything you learned throughout your time in college.
2. Have me time
After using cheap fast-dry nail polish for the past four years and dealing with constant back pains, treat yourself to a spa day. Pamper yourself to feel fresh and re-energized to begin this new chapter in your life. Catch up on a series of Netflix or invest in all of the books you have been dying to read. It’s okay to take time for yourself, and doing so will help clear your mind and motivate you to take your next big step.
If you’re guilty of not going abroad, like myself, take this time to do so. Before you fully invest in your career or find a full-time job, take a month off to backpack across Europe, volunteer in Africa, or simply travel across the United States. Bring your best friend with you, or even go by yourself. It will be a life experience that helps you grow as a person and can help you find yourself.
4. Move back home
Living away from home for four years is a blessing and a curse. We were given our freedom to stay up as late as we wanted and the opportunity to procrastinate, while living up to the title of a “broke college student.” As much as we loved living away from home, it’s okay to move back (if you have that option) and save money. It’s a grounded environment to get back on your feet, save money and focus on long-term goals.
5. Polish your resume and cover letter
At some point in time, you had to create a resume and cover letter in class. If you’re like me, I focused on developing something that would get me an interview rather than actually focusing on the importance and impact of this piece of paper. Take this time to seek guidance in perfecting your resume or cover letter, edit it, and leverage it to get you in the door of a company.
6. Utilize your network
Remember the collection of business cards you’ve gathered at every career fair, networking event and any other professional meeting? Take this opportunity to connect and send them an email. They may not remember you, but if you take the time to let them know their presentation, speech, or company is interesting, then they are likely to reach back out to you. Maybe you are not interested in their particular field of study; however, they can be a stepping stone to connect with their personal network of professionals.
7. Apply, apply, apply!
Set a goal to apply for 10 jobs per week. You might not hear back from all of them right away, or you may have multiple companies contact you to schedule an interview. The more applications you send out, the greater your chances are of scoring an interview. Just keep applying to as many places as possible until you land that perfect job, in the right location, doing what you love.
How are you surviving your quarter-life crisis? Any other tips that helped you bounce back?