Growing Up: Turning 21 and Other Reflections on a Quarter Life Crisis

According to many, I’ve crossed the final threshold into adulthood. On February 14, I turned 21. For many people this means trips to Vegas, wineries, and (if you live on Capitol Hill in Seattle) a “21 Run” which consists of a parade through a minimum of five bars the night of your birthday.

For me, my 21st was just a confirmation of what I already knew to be true: I’ve reached the so-called ‘grown up’ part of my life.

Turning 21 is just another reminder that in the next year I’ll be graduating from college and crawling into my first career, whatever that may be.

Honestly, I don’t believe college students are given the recognition they deserve. At my university we joke that if you’re not over-involved and over-committed, you aren’t getting the full Seattle University Redhawk experience.

For example, my average Wednesday looks something like this:

6:30 am – wake up, shower

7:45 am – venture to Starbucks, grab a coffee and breakfast sandwich

8-10:30 am – work on homework for this morning’s class

10:55-12:20 pm – attend French lecture

12:20-12:45 pm – walk to eNotes, stop at QFC for a quick lunch to-go

12:45-4:45 pm – eNotes internship

5:00 pm – arrive home, attempt to eat a balanced meal

6:00-7:30 pm – attend/work Student Events and Activities Council event

8-9 pm – SEAC meeting

9:15 – arrive at home, work on homework for Thursday morning

11:00 pm – you guessed it… bed time

This schedule is on par with many of my peers’ typical days as well. Just looking at that hour-by-hour breakdown makes me tired (and a little bit nauseous).

I think we, as a society, tend to believe that if we aren’t productive every hour of every day, we are somehow failing ourselves and the expectations put in front of us.

This image demonstrates what many consider to be a daily struggle, excluding some key factors. Many students work multiple jobs and juggle additional extracurriculars which aren’t really accounted for below.


Realistically, this graphic would serve us better if it was a pentagon or something larger!

Growing up has meant re-evaluating the priorities in my life on a fairly regular basis in order to find a balance that is satisfactory. I’ve by no means perfected this balancing act yet, but I’ve at least come to the realization that not everything can be perfect. Not every assignment I turn in will get an ‘A’, not every class I take will intrigue me, and not every week will I feel capable of doing it all, but acknowledging that these factors only make up one, individual part of my life, gives me hope and faith in myself.

Overall, learning that it’s okay to drop the ball every once in a while has proven to be my most valuable ‘grown up’ lesson.

I recently stumbled upon a quotation that seems well-suited for a post of this nature:

Perfection is annihilation.  It paralyzes us from working from our heart. Humans by nature are not perfect and imperfections are what make the world beautiful.

Have you ever felt utterly overwhelmed by the pressure to perform in every facet of your life? What helped you through that point in your life? If you’d like to shoot me an email and share your stories and commiserate, I can be reached at or in the comments below.

With excitement and sincerity,

Katie R.