OPINION: The disastrous decade

Why are ‘20-somethings’ struggling so much when navigating change and choices

OPINION: The disastrous decade

Lauren Sabia, Editor-In-Chief

I am currently 21-years-old, just four years away from my quarter-life crisis, which feels like it started a bit prematurely. As a senior in college with graduation right around the corner, the fears of change and uncertainty of my future keep me up at night. 

In just a few months I will maybe start my first, new and shiny job and move from the town I have called home for four years. I will no longer live with my best friends in a neighborhood of all college students, or have a meal plan on campus. The luxury of being a ‘dependent’ of my parents will soon dissolve. 

The entire graduating class of 2022 will be spit out into a pandemic-riddled world with a limited job market. This statement alone makes me want to stop the clock and slow down time that I already feel I have run out of. 

The reason why a person’s twenties can be so challenging is because, for maybe the first time, they are no longer restricted by the title of ‘student’ and are released into adulthood with no real manual (wouldn’t that be nice), expected by society to have everything figured out.

Well I am here to tell you that that is a load of bs. 

Just because I picked a major four years ago, does not mean I have my five or ten-year career plan lined up. Especially since every entry-level job on the market currently requires years of experience that I do not have.

All four of my roommates are going to graduate school, I am the only one that isn’t. One of my good friends just got married at the age of 22. Another one graduated three-years-ago and still does not have a job. 

Being a teen consists of attending school and choosing to attend college. Being in your thirties for most consists of starting a family and/or furthering your career in that field of expertise. Whereas the decade tucked right in between is completely up in the air. 

Grace Williams, a student at Georgia Southern, just turned 20 and said goodbye to her teen years. “Some of my fears would be not knowing where to live,” Williams said. “Do I move back home? Do I get my own place somewhere?” 

These questions need to be asked by 20-somethings and as graduation nears because of society’s expectations for them to be fully-functioning adults. Williams went on to say, “Something clicked about a week after I turned 20 that was like ‘okay you need to get it together’. ” 

Being a 20-something means making choices that feel permanent and life-changing and petrifying. The fear of getting stuck in a career and not being able to escape or moving to a new place for a job where you do not know anyone is what many are forced to contemplate at this age. 

John Blewett, a 2020 GS graduate, reflected on the notion that no one can guess all of the ways their life will change in their twenties. He said that since life changes so much after college graduation, the main things people want include safety and comfort knowing their next life-altering decision will work out. 

Anytime we lose the job or leave the university or change the plan, we leave the safety of that certainty,” Blewett said. “Oftentimes, the best things happen when you step out of your comfort zone. We’re just afraid to take that step.”

It is okay to not have everything figured out. Some can argue that your twenties are for making mistakes and wrong choices, while learning from them. 

“It’s really about taking it day-by-day, you have to stay in the present and not let the future or past control your mindset too much,” said Micayla Civetta, a GS graduate student getting her master’s in counselor education.  

Your twenties are a pivotal decade, where your choices do matter, but it is not like you will never be able to change your mind. 

Deciding to go to graduate school for a particular subject does not mean you can only work in that field forever. Moving back in with your parents because you were unable to find a job does not mean that you failed or that you won’t find your dream job in the future.

Do not forget to have fun in your twenties when you are still young, just because society expects you to already have a 401k and know exactly what you want in life. Spoiler alert, no one knows what they want even well beyond this disatriously, defining decade. 

For all of those that need to hear it, because I know I sure do– you have time. Embarking on a new chapter in your life and accepting change is not easy, but the lessons learned and experiences made in your twenties will make for some pretty cool stories to tell the grandkids one day.