*Curtsies* Dear Duke, I'm actually having a quarter-life crisis. I just finished undergrad and am completly lost to what to do now. I'm not even sure in what area I really want to work and whenever someone asks me about my future I get depressed and sad and anxious. I considered taking a year off but have no idea what I would do with my free time. Do you have any advice for this situation? I'm just very lost. Thanks for your time.
*Curtsies* I think your instinct to take a year off is probably the right one, because the last thing you want to do is throw yourself into a career or a graduate degree you’re not even sure you want to pursue. It’s okay if you don’t have a plan nailed down for that gap year. That then just becomes the first thing you sit down and iron out. The first concern is probably going to be getting some sort of job so you can feed and clothe yourself. And here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be a stepping stone to your dream career. All work experience is good and there’s nothing at all wrong with taking a job (or two) with hourly wages. The year after I graduated I worked three and sometimes four of those jobs, and not at any point did I feel like I was wasting my time, partly because I tried to find jobs doing things I was at least interested in. I worked in a bookstore, a wine bar, and for two different theatre companies. Those were all things I enjoyed and jobs I learned a lot from. So that’s the first thing. Don’t expect to be making $60,000 a year, but find a job that’ll keep you engaged and afloat so you can pursue other stuff without starving.
That’s part two, the pursuing other stuff. If you’re feeling lost and like what you don’t know what to do, take the pressure off yourself for a year and experiment. Figure it out. Research career options for someone with your degree. Take a stab at artistic interests you haven’t had the time to explore. Look into different grad school options if that’s something that appeals to you. Do some volunteering. I don’t know. All I know is that a gap year is only a good thing if you do something with it. I’m not saying you have to solve world hunger or paint a masterpiece, but a year down the line you don’t want to look back on it and feel like you just wasted a year of your life. So brainstorm. Talk to friends and family who know you well. Do some soul-searching, and when you find yourself saying, “Maybe I’d like to do that,” learn more. Go try it.
Here’s the last thing I’d say to you: Nobody knows what the fuck they’re doing at age 22, so don’t freak out thinking you’re a failure or any of that, because you’re not. Everybody has some sort of identity crisis in their twenties. It’s scary, yes, but it’s also totally normal. Chin up. You’ll be fine.
Forever bitter that I’ll never have a love so wonderful in life. I related so much to Alex’s coming out story, but I also relate to Maggie’s coming out experience. I always knew I was gay. I would stay up late at night thinking about how I feel. There were butterflies in my stomach thinking about girls. I’ve always wanted to be accepted by girls. I have always loved girls. Meanwhile, guys were just friends that I’d watch the game with drinking beers. However, as a lot of people know, many parents aren’t accepting of their child being gay. Some say that it’s okay and they still love you, but you can see the disappointment in their eyes. It breaks your heart. But all in all life is about my happiness. I’m just hoping those I love will all be able to accept me & who I love.