The Life-Identity Crisis: How to Cope

Well, I grew up. Now what?

So you’re a recent grad finishing your first year out of college. Or you just graduated and are still waiting for your diploma to arrive. Or maybe you still have a few semesters left and pre-graduation panic is setting in. Whatever it is, there may come a time when you question what you’ve been doing and wonder if you’ve chosen a career path that’s not for you. Don’t worry, this sort of life-identity crisis is normal, and I’m going to help you get through it.

Let’s start with my story. Going into college, I knew exactly what I wanted to do as soon as I got out: I was going to study Media Production and upon graduation, move to LA and work in television. For four years, I devoted myself to Student TV and even got an internship working at a production office. All this was amazing and I truly loved it, until it became very clear to me that I wasn’t going to move to LA after graduation as planned.

A friend’s similar story… In college, she caught the journalism bug, was a star for her school’s news team, and had killer internships anyone would be jealous of. Because of the job market, she found herself working in Public Relations – not where she wanted to be – and is desperate to get out.

I could go on and on, but I want to cut to the chase about how exactly to get yourself out of a rut if find yourself in the same identity crisis. A few important things to remember are:

First of all, breathe. I promise you, your life is not over (although, I have certainly felt mine was at times) and you can get through this. It’s key to remind yourself of that, especially if you get really down. Lean on friends and family for support. Chances are, they’ve been through this as well!

Remember that it takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your perfect career won’t be, either. As much as we all wish we could jump right from college to a fabulous job, it doesn’t always work that way, especially in this economy. Unfortunately, we might have to wait it out longer than other generations.

Consider grad school. If you’ve gotten into the real world and realize you may not have had the most practical major (coming from a Media Studies and Production major, hi!), think about if going back for a master’s, a PhD, or a law degree would help – even in a subject completely different from your original concentration. This can be a great way to get more experience (not to mention a higher salary).

Throw yourself into your hobbies. A year ago, I was just a TV junkie. I still am, but I’ve also cultivated a blog and started writing for online magazines like our wonderful Love Twenty. It’s put me in a great place career-wise as I begin to apply for social media marketing jobs.

Going through the life-identity crisis is super scary for everyone. Just know it’s only a bump in the road, not a life ruiner. (It’s no Regina George.)

♥AUTHOR: JORDAN SWAIM of Early Twenties

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2 Responses to The Life-Identity Crisis: How to Cope

  1. Kate says:

    Interesting post. For what it's worth, though, I'm not sure I'd encourage people to necessarily go to grad school just because they don't know what they want to do! Debt from receiving a Bachelor's is bad enough 😉

  2. Jordan says:

    Oh, no… I didn't mean to encourage putting yourself into debt with grad school, although that does tend to come with the territory. (Gotta love our education system, right?) Simply trying to suggest a way to get un-stuck if you find yourself confused about what to do post-graduation. It seems like so many people are putting off the “real world” by going for a Master's nowadays.

    Thank you for reading!

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