College Mid-Life Crisis: the sudden realization a student undergoes upon entering his or her junior year that he or she is going to graduate and enter the real world in two years or less.
If we’re being totally honest, my roommate and I have been in a perpetual college mid-life crisis ever since we got to college. We have never had a semester where we didn’t sit up late and night, loudly panicking about how we were going to graduate, in our words, essentially “tomorrow.” Obviously a gross exaggeration, but you get the idea.
No matter who you are, you will undergo the college mid-life crisis, perhaps not your freshman year, but likely in your junior year. Your junior year is when your classes start getting far more complicated and related to your major; when you need to start looking for internships, jobs—the like. There’s a lot on your platter and there’s certainly no going backwards to when you were a toddler.
If only, if only.
1. Full-Body Rejection
The onset of the college mid-life crisis is unforeseen and sudden. Upon recognizing that you have only two or so more years left at your respective college, your body begins to shut down. Your mind cannot handle the idea of sending out your resume, writing cover letters or not having homework anymore (although, it would be nice). You have been programmed for years to be some sort of academic and the mere thought of having to turn into an adult sends your body into panic mode.
2. Mild Acceptance
Okay, so maybe the thought of making actual money for the work you do doesn’t sound too bad. In fact, it sounds a lot better than writing ten plus page papers in the wee hours of the night for no pay whatsoever. Your body and mind calms down at the thought of a healthy bank account.
Alas, it is only temporary.
3. Rejected Acceptance
“A NINE TO FIVE!?” you exclaim wildly, looking at how your DegreeWorks is alarmingly complete. You can barely wake up for your eight a.m. that meets once a week, how in the world do you intend on waking up at around six or seven a.m. five days a week?! Your body and mind shuts down once again as you throw yourself onto your bed face down.
Being smothered by a pillow seems like a better fate than the adult world.
4. Full-Blown Panic
Now you’ve officially lost it. With your DegreeWorks telling you that you’re on-time for graduation either this year or the next, you physically can’t handle the idea of not being in school anymore. Perhaps you should consider graduate school—postpone this whole “job” thing for a little while longer? You run through every possibility that prevents you having to wake up for a nine-to-five, but none of them are plausible.
It’s too late.
5. Eating Your Feelings Therapy
When the knowledge of knowing that your fellow students are going through the same exact panic you are isn’t enough, the comfort of a midnight slice of pizza or seventy will do. Why stop at pizza? Try a deli sandwich, ice cream, wings, McDonald’s. The possibilities are truly endless.
6. Sudden Hatred Of Academic Advisers
Your academic adviser is currently breathing down your neck constantly. You hear more from him or her than your own parents. With the ever-so-helpful reminder that you’re on-track to graduate on time and that you have to fill out such-and-such form by such-and-such date, you want to march down to his or her office and give him or her a piece of your mind.
Or just cry a lot. Generally crying a lot.
7. The Breakdown
The Breakdown the college mid-life crisis climax. In this glorious stage, the tears flow freely from your eyes as you lie in the fetal position on the ground, crumpled and defeated by your impending doom by the real world. You are inconsolable. Even as your roommate, best friend, neighbor comes to join you in your broken mess, you feel hopelessly alone.
Best mop up your tears lest you have to pay for flood damage.
8. Regular, Loud, Sobbing Conversations With Your Parents
Shout out to my parents for putting up with my once-a-semester college breakdown since freshman year. You the real MVPs.
Instead of sympathizing with your fellow panicking student, you’ll turn to calling home bawling opening and very loudly to mom, dad or even both. They have no idea what to do with you and, to be honest, neither do you. They offer some sort of comfort, but it’s not enough. Once you hang up the phone, after calming down for .03 seconds, you’ll run back to your bed, tuck yourself in tight and cry even more from the undue stress you’re going through.
9. Rejection of Academics
Your mind refuses to entertain the idea of academia any longer. Perhaps if you fail all of your classes, you can stay in college a little while longer! Much to the chagrin of Mom and Dad, of course. You’re using most of your mental energy to the activity of panicking—there just isn’t enough to actually do work.
10. “What Can I Do With A High School Diploma” Google Searches
Because giving up is far easier than pulling through.
That’s why jobs that require college degrees generally pay more, people. Work ethic.
11. Late Night Panic Sessions With Your Roommate
You’ve finally allowed yourself to connect with another fellow student in your similar panic. You sit up into the late hours, clutching your blankets to your chest as you both loudly moan and groan about how you’re going to graduate tomorrow.
No, that’s not how it works. You still have to finish the semester which is months away.
12. The Collective Decision To Become Strippers
You can dance, you have somewhat of an attractive body—why not consider stripping? It’s like an exercise routine and job all rolled into one. You and your roommate have chosen to forget your studies entirely and to take up the roles of strippers.
13. Academic Panic
Yeah, remember how you decided to avoid all of your schoolwork? Well, now the economic factor of staying an extra semester at school is coming into play and your parents are arguably the angriest people on the planet. You need to kick into high gear, fast, and raise those grades.
Have fun in the library!
14. The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Your attitude has reset to the one you had at the beginning of your freshman year (if you’re unlike me and my roommate). You are now back to doing your schoolwork appropriately, no longer crying in the fetal position on the floor and leaving your parents be. You have realized that you’re not actually graduating tomorrow, it just feels like it.
You have another two years or so. Enjoy them while you can—college goes fast, but I don’t think I need to tell you that.