Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Anna Schultz-Girl On Computer Stress
Anna Schultz-Girl On Computer Stress
Anna Schultz / Her Campus
Wellness > Mental Health

Your Quarter-Life Crisis is More Normal Than You Think

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at App State chapter.

How many times in your life have you heard the phrase, “it’s a phase, you’ll get over it”? You probably heard it more times than you could count in middle school, whether you were emo, a horse girl, or obsessed with Lilly Pulitzer, but now more than ever we seem to be hearing it more often from an older generation. I consider myself a generational cusper – I was born in ‘99 – but Generation Z, along with Millennials, have been thrown every expectation, demand, and requirement I can think of, and the effect of that weight on their shoulders hasn’t been healthy, for them or for me.

woman student doing homework
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels
“It’s a phase you’ll get over it.” The quarter-life crisis feels like an entirely new phase that we have to deal with as young people. I know I often feel overlooked sometimes and that my efforts go wasted, although the quarter-life crisis is hardly anything new for anyone who’s ever been in their 20s. We struggle through high school and maybe some college, sometimes unsure of whether we even want to be there, and when the time comes to emerge, we falter. There’s an entire world out there that we know nothing about, that we feel largely unprepared for, and we panic – rightfully so, in my opinion. 

“The quarter-life crisis is hardly anything new for anyone who’s ever been in their 20s”

The quarter-life crisis is becoming more and more common due to the mental health issues that Gen Z faces. Gen Z is more open to talking about issues of mental health, and in a study by the American Psychology Association, participating Gen Z individuals were more likely to report their mental health as “fair or poor.” Already, when the phenomenon of the quarter-life crisis has affected 86% of Millennials in the past, the effects on Gen Z could be even worse due to their reported higher levels of mental health struggles.

However, it all doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. I’m certainly struggling with my own quarter-life crisis now and find it difficult to see a way out sometimes. Many aids on the internet will tell you when you Google search “quarter-life crisis” that it can be one of the best things to happen to you – although I think whoever came up with that bright idea in the first place needs to take their lunch break. I’m not so sure if I can personally look at this experience so positively right now; I think there are other ways around the issue than just a good attitude and positive thinking.

overhead view of a woman sitting in front of her laptop
Photo by energepic.com from Pexels
In an article for Forbes, Robert McNaughton lists these five tips for getting back on track when in the depths of a quarter-life crisis.


  1. Step up and create the things you want to see in the world.
  2. Stop trying to please others.
  3.  Listen to your inner voice.
  4. Uncover your identity by trying new things.
  5. Tap into your resistance.

Everyone’s struggles with mental health are different. What I experience and grapple with in my quarter-life crisis may not be the same as what you have to undergo. Not all of these tips listed above may resonate with you, but I hope at least one does, as they did for me. 

It is not an easy journey, nor will journeys of mental health ever be. That is not to dissuade you from trying. The best advice that I can give you as a young person struggling to come into their own in the world is to know yourself. Knowing yourself is the first step. The first step to finding out just where you belong in a world where other people go through the same things as you and understand your crises. I know how scary it can feel to try to find your place in everything, but the world is only big as you want it to be; I encourage you to expand your horizons until they don’t exist.

“Knowing yourself is the first step”

Caroline is a senior English major at Appalachian State University concentrating in Film Studies with a minor in Theatre Arts. After she graduates in the spring of 2021, Caroline hopes to either work abroad teaching English as a second language, in the American school system or artistically to pursue creative writing. Caroline has been a member of HerCampus App State since 2019. Along with being its 2020 - 2021 Campus Correspondent, she has also held the positions of Senior Editor, Social Media Director, and was a part of the Campus Trendsetter Program.