Monday, December 27, 2010

Shattered dreams and the quarter life crisis

Despite the current state of the world, millenials "remain optimistic, despite a job-killing recession, two wars and the threat of terrorism" (USA Today).

We are also called "wildly optimistic" by the Atlantic.

Yet even with this optimism, twentysomethings are experiencing what is coined the "quarter life crisis." Instilled by teachers and parents that going to college would lend to a rewarding career and a happy life, many are finding that it may be more complicated than that.

OPB's Think Out Loud did a very interesting show on this phenomenon - many interesting perspectives of young adults finding themselves dissatisfied with where their life is at. Listen to it here.

This "quarter life crisis" is riveting, especially as it relates to efforts to keep kids in school. For the longest time, the reason kids who were disillusioned with school were convinced to stay was the promise that it will pay off financially and they will be happier.  I have used this argument countless times with students.  But now that life has proven otherwise - I wonder how this will influence such a philosophy. What motivation is there for students who are not interested to stay? What perspectives/philosophies/strategies in education need to change in order for the educational system to remain valuable? Our world is changing a lot - and youth are watching and finding fodder for their arguments against the system. My belief was that education led to a better paying and more satisfying job - I know my standards in what I want my life to be like are pretty high, and I know many of my peers experiencing this crisis.  Do we need to re-evaluate what we expect from a job? Do we acknowledge that adult life generally isn't as cool as we were led to believe? Or are there deeper issues at play here?

I find this topic and general research about our generation fascinating.  What are your thoughts?

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