19 Going on 20

Cartoon by Jake Huffcut
Cartoon by Jake Huffcut

By Trevor Squire

The age of 20 is the ultimate paradox.

It’s the single year of adulthood, with your teenage memories behind you, where you’re not allowed to partake in the bar scene — a meeting ground of people who’ve gone through the similar transition into adult life.

Two years removed from the structured curriculum and activities related to high school, many young adults begin to form an idea of what they’d like to do with the rest of their years. What’s puzzling is which route to take. The uncharted waters of post-grad life are a sea of self-doubt.

The current job market is an ultra competitive rat race, where — even if you get a job — you may end up extremely unhappy with your career after graduation. These are the scenarios I ponder on occasion, second-guessing all the work I’ve done as if it was all a waste of time.

Before you write me off as another lost boy from Neverland, understand many young adults feel  similar unrest. They call it the “quarter-life crisis”, a phenomenon that can affect anyone from the age of 20 all the way to into the early thirties. Angst arises — especially in millenials — about future relationships, employment and lifestyles. We are investing more and spending more than any other point in history, all to finance a stable career to build the rest of our lives around.

Success is the root of anxiety. Stress that students on the verge of exiting college succumb to it.

Some of your peers are succeeding in relationships or have already been married, while other peers are finding opportunities in the job market. A young adult in college is exposed to, for lack of a better term, the “real world” and understands their potential in it. You can do whatever you desire with your life, which warrants indecisiveness of what’s next.

How does one cope with the quarterlife crisis? It’s simple: be confident.

Allow yourself to be open to new opportunities and believe you can make the change. You may find yourself in a job field that you had no intention of pursuing, but with a newfound confidence you know you’ll have the ability to excel. This leads to another point.

Fake it til’ you make it. This stands especially true for any type of creative work.

Any skill takes time to develop. Just like muscles, you need to work them out everyday to grow stronger. Have passion and confidence in what you do, and soon enough you will also begin to have pride in your work.

The first 20 years of our lives are learning from self-experience. You learn about the contemporary world and, more importantly, you learn about yourself. The next 20 years of life are how you implement what you’ve learned into a plan of action.

Create your own road map to the lifestyle you want to live and religiously follow this plan to start traveling in the right direction. You may be surprised where you end up.

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