Quarter Life Crisis?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by wimic, Oct 30, 2006.


What should be the #1 priority of a fresh university graduate?

Poll closed Feb 7, 2007.
  1. Gain experience in your field of work (even if it means living far away from home/family)

    20 vote(s)
  2. Making money and pay off debt (even at the expense of your social life)

    12 vote(s)
  3. Invest in a home and get established (might as well get used to being in debt early)

    2 vote(s)
  4. Build a life in your hometown (even though there's not as much opportunity there)

    0 vote(s)
  1. wimic macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2006
    calgary, alberta
    My life in a minute:

    I recently graduated from university with a B.Eng and I'm working with an engineering firm in Calgary. I'm from Newfoundland (around 6000km from Calgary), I live with my boyfriend (who i love very much), in a city that i love. I owe 25k on a student line of credit. We're paying $1k a month in rent.

    Here's my question - what do you do when you're stuck in between the 'fun-loving, hard-working university student' stage and the 'established well-off, hard-workign money maker' that you know you're going to be?

    What do I do to get there? What's most important at this point? The reason that I ask is because I need to decide what, if anything, to change about my life right now. I'm gradually paying off my debt, gaining experience as a junior engineer... but what should i be focusing on? Paying off my debt before i "start" my life? Gaining experiencing at work? Enjoying life? It's confusing because I don't want to wait to have all the wonderful things in life - a home, a car, a family, children... i can't explain why i'm in such a hurry... is that normal?

    Any comments?
  2. kettle macrumors 65816


    May 12, 2002
    England, Great Britain (Airstrip One)
    Have you done the deciding you're not immortal bit yet?
  3. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Just my opinion but all of these things can wait. Enjoy your youth and relative independence while you can. There's plenty of time to slip into cosy domesticity.

    When you look back at your life, you almost always regret the things you haven't done rather than the ones you have.

    Still, I'm writing from the point of view of an immature 43-year old single child-free woman who works far too hard and once in a while likes to play hard as well, so what do I know? Bugger all. :D
  4. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    43 really...you don't look a day over 25;)
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Yes, but it depends on the person. Some people can wait until they're 35 or 40, while others feel like they want it now. I can understand how he feels, although I won't really want it until I'm older (even though I'm likely older than him) since I'm still at uni doing my PhD.

    The fastest road to personal (financial) wealth is home ownership. Right now, I'd continue gaining work experience where you are now (as long as you're happy with the work situation right now), and pay off the debt you have. Then I'd buy a home or condo of some sort and get a mortgage (ie: another debt). :p

    Actually, I'd likely travel first right after graduation (I'm sure your boss would have understood that you needed a 2 month vacation before you started working since my friend took an 8 month absence before starting work at Canadian Tire), but since I've done my fair amount of travelling already, I think I'm not likely to follow my own advice when I graduate. :eek: I'll likely do what you're doing now.
  6. quigleybc macrumors 68030


    Jun 17, 2005
    Beautiful Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
    Couple things.

    1-don't stress too much, it will make things worse (easy to say I know...)

    2-how does one go from an English Degree to Engineering?

    3-you have a job that sounds promising, start with that as a positive and work from there.

  7. wimic thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2006
    calgary, alberta
    I'm an engineer - B. Eng (ie. Eng = Engineering).

    I'm a female btw - for those of you who didn't realize that.
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Do we have to play this game again? :rolleyes:

    FWIW I rather agree with Blue Velvet. But I'm also a really late bloomer in a lot of ways, and I've taken a long time (including my rather extended stint in engineering) working on finding what I want.

    Good luck! :)
  9. ziwi macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Right back where I started...
    If you plan - Life happens, if you don't plan - Life happens

    All I am saying is there is no grand plan and just enjoy your days responsibly or irresponsibly or perhaps a little of both - don't stress on one thing, spread yourself out to thin and don't do anything stupid to screw up the rest of your life ;)
  10. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    It sure sounds like you are in a terrible rush to meet some preconceived notion of what you should be. Nearly everyone I've ever known who was like that was old by thirty.

    What it seems like is that you are setting yourself up for a mid life crisis... the "is this all there is" thing that'll wreck your life and everyone's around you.

    Home is where your heart is... for me, home is with my wife, and my wife is my family. That only takes finding the right person to want to share the rest of your life with.

    A car is a car. It is transportation. The only time a car is more than a car is if it is your hobby (I collected/worked on Porsches from 1986 to 1997). But a car doesn't make your life.

    And kids... I got married at 19 and I'm still no where close to ready to give up my life by having kids (I'm 38 now).

    Kids are a 24/7, 20 years plus responsibility. They'll interfere in every (and I mean every) aspect of your life. Kids aren't something you try out. They are like sky diving... once you step out of the plane, your committed.

    Frankly, the only people whom I think kids are a good thing for are people who have nothing else to do with the next 20 years or so of their life.

    Basically, don't be in such a rush to be what others have told you you should be. If you have bills to pay, pay them. If you love some one, love them (even marry them if you want). If you enjoy what you are doing, keep doing it. If not, try something else.

    Just keep your options in life open. Don't settle for house/car/kids... from what I've seen, it is basically like being sentenced to 20 years to life, with no possibility of parole. :eek:

    As for the poll... I pick none of the above. :cool:
  11. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
    When you look back at your life, you almost always regret the things you haven't done rather than the ones you have.

    Worth repeating.
  12. MarkCollette macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2003
    Calgary, Canada
    One thing to remember, is that every object you have, in some way ties you down, reducing your freedom. As soon as you have a house, it's a lot harder to move or travel. A car can help you travel locally, but the car payments will hinder your ability to travel to far-off destinations. And having kids pretty much throws everything else into stasis for years on end.

    Personally, if I were in your shoes, I'd focus the money on paying down debt, and being able to travel. After enough trips around, that you're still sure you want to live here, then I'd look at getting a house. And put off on the car as long as possible.

    Before buying a house, one can always put one's posessions in storage, or pack them into the parents' basement, and go off wherever for 3 months to a year.

    A car can easily cost well over $400 per month, when you add up the car payments, insurance, gas, and maintenance. That's 2 bus passes, and $260 worth of cab rides (say ten cab rides). But one can stop getting bus passes that month, whereas car payments are typically a 3 to 4 year commitment.

    As for kids, all I can say is I'd try to wait until 2 years after marriage before crossing that bridge.
  13. Smallville macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2004
    Who knows?

    All I can say is make sure you think things through. I wish I had.

    I'm 25, married, no children, no prospects for career advancement.

    Those are the three big things in life.

    Love: I found someone who is my best friend and we've gloried together and we've suffered together. Going through life is tough sometimes, but at least there's someone there for you and for you to be there for.

    Family: My wife can't have kids, and we know we're too selfish to give up the life we have now even if she could. But we're too different people when it comes to family. She's very family-oriented. She's from Idaho, and I'm from Alabama. She spent four years away from her family to stay in 'Bama while I finished my degree. Resents me for that lost time. Now, I'm stuck in Idaho for no reason other than she wanted to be around family. As for me, family is not a huge priority. I haven't seen my family in over a year, and that's okay with me. My extended family? I never saw them even when I lived in the same town.

    Work: Either you'll make a lot of money doing something you won't like, or you'll find something you like that won't pay squat. I enjoy writing, and I'm a sports writer at a small newspaper. I like my work, but I hate the people I work with and the company I work for. Also, I'm paid an annual wage of less than the amount of my student loans. My boss would love to see me fail. I'm only in the job I have now because it was cheaper to reassign my duties than hire another person. My work is insulted at every turn, my love for writing is gone, and most of the time, I'd rather cut meat at my father-in-law's grocery store.

    Now, speaking of expenses: cars and homes are nice, but they're just something to keep you financially tied to a job you don't want to do. I'm so fed up with work that I'm going to sell my house so I can quit. Why? Because I'm going to net double my annual wage if I get my asking price. Isn't that sad?

    I don't know if this helps in any way, but I need to rant for my own sake.
  14. Dubba macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2006
    Nairobi, Kenya
    I asked myself many of the same questions; the bottom line is that there is no right or wrong answer - you should do what is right for you at any given time, while also giving the future some consideration. Here is my life in a nutshell:

    Born in California, moved to Kenya when I was 13, then moved to the UK for university. Did and undergrad in Management at the LSE, then began working for an investment bank; they let our class go after seven months, so I went to a small, start-up investment bank and was there for 4 years until I left this past June, with a plan to do some charity work in East African, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, and go to India - all in seven months. In that time, I bought a flat, sold it, and then bought another, so I do currently have a mortgage.

    Anyway, I ended up doing charity work in Sudan and Uganda, and subsequently did climb Mt. Kilimanjaro; however, along the way an opportunity to buy a business [in the UK] at a good price came along, so I have come back [and am now not going to India :(] and am doing that now. Oh, and I will be 26 in January...

    I guess the moral is this - you never know what life is going to throw at you, but just remain open minded about things and take them as they come. With hindsight we might have all done thigns differently, but we have to make choices now, and for the most part, have to live with them, so go for it - live a little, and remember to love a lot.

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