The quarter life crisis: Figuring your next steps after graduation


As young adults in our 20’s, we like to pretend to have it all together. We’ll put on makeup, style our hair and walk with the intention of getting somewhere. Where exactly are we going?

I haven’t the slightest clue.

Lately I have been on the receiving end of cringe-worthy questions that all seem to revolve around the topic of what I plan on doing with the rest of my life. I can’t even decide on where I would like to go for lunch today, let alone tell someone where I will be settling down and braving adulthood in just a little over a year.

To say I’m a little clueless would be an understatement.

From the beginning of time we have our lives mapped out for us. We know we will be attending school for at least 12 years and some of us add another four to eight to the ticking time bomb of adulthood by attending college. Up until now we always had something to work toward, another level of life to progress to.

Quite frankly, I am scared. I am unbelievably scared for the day we begrudgingly walk across that stage, collect our diplomas and the world steals our youth. What will happen once we step off that stage? Who’s to say where we go from there?  The answer may surprise you, but it’s us.

We get to call the shots now. For the first time in our entire lives we get to turn off the GPS guide of life and just drive. Though the idea of paving our own paths may be nerve-racking, it is also the most liberating feeling in the world.

To feel this nervous and this unsure is to really feel alive.

You are your own compass now and you call the shots. You decide which way to take the next steps of your life. You may find yourself on bumpy roads sometimes, but as long as you are doing what you want full-heartedly, there is no wrong direction. There is no getting lost.

We can go and do whatever we want without having to answer to anyone. We can become whoever we want and build for ourselves a future we never could have imagined of, even in our wildest  dreams. My only hope is that when you choose who you are going to be, it’s someone that you can be proud of.  Start dedicating your life to something you are passionate about. You can make a difference and the time to start is right now.

By walking across that graduation stage and accepting your diploma, you aren’t accepting a piece of paper that symbolizes the end of a chapter. That couldn’t be further from true. Instead, by accepting that piece of paper you are accepting an invitation to participate in the adventure of your life.

So turn off the GPS, roll the windows down and just drive.  Just live. Most people settle for just existing, but to actually live, now that’s courageous.