The dreaded quarter-life crisis


For those that aren’t too familiar with it, the quarter-life crisis (QLC) generally rears its ugly head in the second term of the third year. Early symptoms can include induced sobbing when receiving emails about graduation and spending the entirety of your maintenance loan on inappropriate dresses that you will never wear again. I recently got told off for announcing in front of my boyfriend’s parents “I’m getting old now”. With a combined age of about 110, they looked at me quizzically as I droned on about the job market, rent prices and how I’d rather spend Saturday night with a cup of tea and the box set of Doctor Who.

Whilst sounding as dramatic as I can, we are stuck in no-man’s-land. This is the place between Freshers’ Week and the Job Centre. The inbetween stage of studenthood and adulthood that presents such problems and questions. Can I still get away with dancing on tables or should I be doing crosswords and listening to Radio Four? What am I going to do with my life? Why isn’t there a Dummies Guide to being a proper grown-up?
And of course, anything can be blamed on the QLC. The fact I never reached those essay deadlines, that need to blow £150 in the Topshop sales, it was all down to my quarter-life crisis.

Everyone else seems to know what they’re doing, too. It scares me as I receive wedding invites and am informed via gossip of an old school friend who is now due to give birth to her second baby. Many of my friends are continuing their study next year: MAs, PGCEs, other such acronyms that I don’t understand. Others have grand plans; gap years and grad schemes, moving abroad. Here I am, permanently busy pretending to be grown-up, planning swanky jobs but all the time having hissy fits about how I’m going to fail my degree and run away to the red light district.

The QLC is dangerous. It fools you into thinking you are a failure, that you will never get a job and that you will be sat at home picking your nose, forever alone with a dozen cats. It makes you think that you have to be sorted in every aspect of the word by the time you don that silly hat and gown. Well, sorry, but this is a myth.

Yes, in years to come you will be paying taxes and acting like a sensible human being- it doesn’t mean you have to be one. Next time the panic hits you, remind yourself that nothing is the end of the world (unless it actually is). Wear that knitted panda hat with gay abandon, for you are never too old for animal related headwear. Have a glass of rosé and don’t feel too guilty about it. Now, be gone: a double bill of Jeremy Kyle and a bowl of mouldy Frosties is calling you.

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