I'm Only 22. So Why Am I Having A Midlife Crisis?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling 22.

Have you ever found yourself walking outside and thinking to yourself, "I wish a car would hit me so the person driving can pay for my school?"

I know I definitely have, and I’m not alone. Getting hit by a car isn’t necessarily the best route to paying your tuition, but it sounds a hell of a lot better than drowning yourself in debt and having no idea how you’re going to pay it back.

Which brings me to the issue at hand: While we're growing up, everyone around us preaches that our adolescent years are supposed to be the “best times of our life." I use that phrase loosely because how are we expected to be enjoying ourselves when a good portion of our time goes toward being incredibly stressed about finances, school, and relationships? Rather than having the time of your life, you’re experiencing these pivotal moments of growth at a rapid pace with no room to breathe. The pressure continues to build until one day you find yourself exploding.

Sometimes you just have to stop and wonder: Is there a right answer to life, or is it just a series of enigmas that choose to remain unanswered? Am I doing something wrong? Is there an instruction manual for adulthood?

As soon as we graduate high school, we are propelled into a world that we don’t quite understand. This can partly be attributed to the public education system failing to teach us the necessary life skills needed for the real world. Society pushes the idea that students entering college for the first time should know the exact career path that they want to take. How are we supposed to do that when we are barely considered adults? To be fair, legally, yes, we are adults. Mentally? Not so much.

The sad truth is that most of us have no clue what we’re doing, and we’d rather go on Netflix to escape our problems and watch someone else’s. At least that’s what I do. To make matters worse, there is also the fact that finding a job after college isn’t even guaranteed. This means we will spend countless hours studying and losing sleep over a career we might not even get a chance to start. If you do happen to graduate with a job offer in hand, consider yourself lucky. Not many people receive that generosity and, unfortunately, they have to spend months searching for an entry-level job in their field.

I want to backtrack a little to the part where I said students lose a generous amount of sleep as a result of studying. We as students know the drill: Go to class, do your homework, freak out about a test, and then proceed to pull all-nighters for said test. How’s that for more stress?

Sleep is important — it’s a necessity that our body craves in order to regenerate itself. Without sleep you face the possibility of sleep deprivation (a major cause of accidents), a weakened immune system, and the increased chance of gaining a mental illness. A study at Stanford University showed that at least 80 percent of the students sampled were showing signs of sleep deprivation. Students suffering from sleep deprivation have been proved to show signs of poor judgment, anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of suicide — you’re basically on drugs. Personally, my sleeping schedule is so messed up that I’m lucky if I get more than six hours of rest, but then again, it's hard to get your mind into a peaceful state when you’re on the verge of an existential crisis.

I’ve spoken about a few different topics that young adults face, but I have one more I’d like to elaborate on – money. Nothing brings more stress and mental breakdowns than not having enough financial resources to do anything. You need to pay for school, transportation, rent, food, clothing, etc. The list is endless.

I know that a lot of people say that you don’t need money to be happy but, honestly, I call bullshit on that. I would definitely be a lot happier if I had enough funds to be able to sustain my family and myself comfortably.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to think that, either. I have a friend who recently moved from California to attend a community college in Tampa, Florida, since his town didn’t offer much education-wise. Unfortunately, circumstances arose and, well, money became an issue. He decided to take off a semester to get his finances in order and find a way to be able to attend school without submerging himself in debt before he even attends a university. I asked him how he feels about his situation; this is what he had to say:

“My situation with school really sucks. I wish I had control over that, but the reality is that I don’t. The thing with school and me is that I’m putting my financial needs over my educational needs. I hate that I have to think about money when it comes to school, because all I want is to have a good education, but in order for me to do that I have to be in a good financial state… which I won’t be if I continue paying out of state for this school that I’m attending. Why does out-of-state and in-state tuition even exist? Why should it matter where I'm from if I just want to get an education? Also, the biggest question that I have is why does it cost so much money? What exactly am I paying for? Seems like I'm paying for stress and anxiety; at least that's the way I look at it. I'd much rather wait until I'm financially stable to go back to school than go to school knowing that I'm already in debt.”

These are all thoughts that cloud my mind as well as others' on the daily, but I just wanted to highlight a few things that are prominent with people my age. With that said, even though we feel as if our world is crumbling around us and we can’t breathe or catch a break, I try to tell myself that this is a minor part of the bigger picture. We’re going to get to where we want to be; we just have to get through the series of trials and tribulations that life oh-so graciously throws at us.

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