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Feeling like Grad School is the end of my youth/young adulthood


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I'm a 22 year old MA student doing it straight from undergrad and I feel like doing this is the end of my youth. In my class, I enjoyed the discussion but I have some folks much older than me like starting their PHD and already working for years now or being married/have kids and since they are my peers, I feel like I'm in the same life stage as someone in their late twenties/early thirties onward and I feel so old compared to undergrads(sophomore-seniors or 18-22 year olds) and I can't relate/am not in the same life stage and it makes me feel like my youth is over. Like I want to make friends and all which will be harder due to Covid and wouldn't mind my own age range. How can I deal with this as it's bothersome

 
 
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I doubt you are alone in your experience and it may be helpful to find a community of others having similar experiences to reduce the sense of isolation.  Perhaps there are professional organizations for your field that have student groups for you to check out.  Perhaps there are interdisciplinary student groups at your University that would be a good fit.  You can also talk to a therapist about your experiences.

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I know that many cultures hold up youth as the best time of your life -- or even the only one that matters -- but that simply isn't true. Each phase of your life will offer new insights, challenges, and opportunities. Each will have its pros and cons. It's not "all downhill from here" unless you /act/ like it is. Instead, consider all that you're gaining in this new stage: independence, knowledge, understanding of yourself -- I could go on.  Personally, I enjoy life a lot more now than when I was in college. I was a hot mess back then!

It's okay to feel a sense of loss, but that doesn't have to define your experience.

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Everyone feels like this at some point in their life (if not multiple points). It is the challenge of getting older.

I recommend you can:

A: See a therapist about it - I believe Canada does have generous therapy options 

B: Just face reality and become an adult now. No point in chasing something that is fleeting anyway. 

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You've graduated from undergrad, so whether you started working or started grad school, you would be in a new, more mature stage of life. Embrace it, it's exciting. You don't want to be one of those people desperately grasping onto their youth and immaturity long past its due.

And just because you're getting older doesn't mean you can never have fun or make friends.

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Just now, drunkenduck said:

You've graduated from undergrad, so whether you started working or started grad school, you would be in a new, more mature stage of life. Embrace it, it's exciting. You don't want to be one of those people desperately grasping onto their youth and immaturity long past its due.

And just because you're getting older doesn't mean you can never have fun or make friends.

 

On 9/22/2020 at 10:31 PM, feralgrad said:

I know that many cultures hold up youth as the best time of your life -- or even the only one that matters -- but that simply isn't true. Each phase of your life will offer new insights, challenges, and opportunities. Each will have its pros and cons. It's not "all downhill from here" unless you /act/ like it is. Instead, consider all that you're gaining in this new stage: independence, knowledge, understanding of yourself -- I could go on.  Personally, I enjoy life a lot more now than when I was in college. I was a hot mess back then!

It's okay to feel a sense of loss, but that doesn't have to define your experience.

I mean, I know my youth will end but I don't think it should end so soon or now. I mean, I'm 22, that's literally in the same age range as 18-22 year old people in uni. To word it better, I'm not going to like exclusively hang out with those, just also have them as optional friend/people to relate.  In some courses, I have people who are like in thirties/onward and the idea of being in the same life stage as someone like 10-20 years older makes me feel so old and my youth has ended

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@PhantomThief, how ever you feel about the waning days of your youth, I think it is incumbent upon you to understand that you are in a pivotal phase of your personal professional development. At this moment, right now, while you're thinking about such matters, members of your affiliation are building the skills and relationships that will make them competitive in the coming years. Competitive for jobs, for loans, for relationships, and other opportunities, many of which will be accessible to them because they're ready.

So I think questions for you to add to the mix include: 

  • What are you doing today to be ready for the rest of your life given the likelihood that the years and decades ahead are going to be exceptionally hard?
  • Is shooting the breeze with undergraduates going to help you get ready for interviews with people making hiring decisions?
  • Is being in a relationship, platonic or romantic, with younger people going to expose you to circumstances in which people hold you accountable so that you will work harder and to be a better person?

 

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4 hours ago, Sigaba said:

@PhantomThief, how ever you feel about the waning days of your youth, I think it is incumbent upon you to understand that you are in a pivotal phase of your personal professional development. At this moment, right now, while you're thinking about such matters, members of your affiliation are building the skills and relationships that will make them competitive in the coming years. Competitive for jobs, for loans, for relationships, and other opportunities, many of which will be accessible to them because they're ready.

So I think questions for you to add to the mix include: 

  • What are you doing today to be ready for the rest of your life given the likelihood that the years and decades ahead are going to be exceptionally hard?
  • Is shooting the breeze with undergraduates going to help you get ready for interviews with people making hiring decisions?
  • Is being in a relationship, platonic or romantic, with younger people going to expose you to circumstances in which people hold you accountable so that you will work harder and to be a better person?

 

I have my priorities straight and working on that too, I just mean socially on the side outside of work

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6 minutes ago, PhantomThief said:

What I mean was, how can I not feel like some immature person trying to cling to their youth on the side socially while focusing on improving myself for the future and getting work done/building skills and be ready for professional development

The way you feel is the way you feel. Your feelings are an issue if and only if they prevent you from living the life you want to live.

Also, how do you know that those who seem to have their shit together aren't as conflicted as you are? The point here is that one can get wrapped up in how one should feel that one starts to get in one's own way.

If you're really bothered by the way about you feel about growing older, about developing as a person, you can do several things. One, you can attempt to find someone who will mentor you. Two, you can attempt to find someone who will teach/train you. Three, you can talk to people who are going through the same set of life experiences and help each other. (This option includes studying/reading up on people who have done the kinds of things you want to do. Biographical works, journalistic profiles, interviews, published diaries and letters are great but so are the right podcasts and videos on YouTube.) Four, you can talk to a mental health professional.

What I think that you should stop doing is turning the issues over in your head time and again in the manner that you're doing on this BB. At one level, I think I get what you're doing. I think that you're trying to find a way to phrase your issues and concerns so you can put handles on them and carry them. The challenge you're encountering is that (if this is in fact what you're doing) you're doing it in a way that makes it increasingly difficult to support you. What you're currently doing is that you're repeating yourself in a way that is a bit too off putting. You push back on decent guidance without much reflection. You point to examples that are not well developed and not relevant.

Candidly, you're current tactics are especially challenging because you've not put in much time here at the GradCafe to develop a "body of work" that allows people to have any sense of what you're about. If you look at the post history of members who have asked questions similar to yours, you will find that some get more feedback from others and some of this has to do with the way they put themselves out there. And you may also see that those who keep asking version after version of the same question end up getting less and less feedback.

For better and for worse, the personal professional development that one goes through as a graduate student is hard, and at times, more than a little scary. The task before you is to figure out how to figure it out without unduly freaking out. The freaking out gets in the way of the figuring out how to figure it out.

#HTH

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I'm a bit confused on why our friends are either 1) undergrads  'representing youth' or 2) grad students who 'are in a different life phase). Other than that many of my friends are not grad student, some of the most ambitious, 'mature', future-oriented people I've met are among my undergrad RAs. Some of the most party-fun people are grad students. I wouldn't stereotype either as such. 

And that even goes for professors - some come out to bars to have drinks or go to techno parties, others indeed only read. I think you can find people fit to you in any environment.

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22 hours ago, PhantomThief said:

I mean, I know my youth will end but I don't think it should end so soon or now. I mean, I'm 22, that's literally in the same age range as 18-22 year old people in uni. To word it better, I'm not going to like exclusively hang out with those, just also have them as optional friend/people to relate.  In some courses, I have people who are like in thirties/onward and the idea of being in the same life stage as someone like 10-20 years older makes me feel so old and my youth has ended

Like Sigaba said, you're just rewording your original post. You're not actually responding to what I said. I'm not going to write thoughtful responses to your questions if you won't think critically about them.

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