Why is it that as soon as we hit our twenties, society places an immense amount of pressure upon us?  There is a sometimes unrealistic perception that the transition from teenage years to adulthood is smooth and linear, that we must immediately have our lives on the right track, job, and future-oriented from the very beginning. Many question the value of being so career-driven so young, with some even arguing that young adults aren’t always ready for the workplace and that pressuring them to pursue such high stake goals early on may detriment their personal development and mental health.

Expectation vs Reality:

Without a doubt many changes occur during our twenties; education, careers, relationships, and friendships to name but a few. This is all expected to be figured out and some in their twenties feel as if they are behind if they do not have set out plans.

Many individuals experience an almost “quarter-life crisis” and this is often exacerbated by social media, a constant reminder of the success stories of our peers. Despite the fact that in reality, everyone experiences uncertainty or bumps in the road during this period of life, this generation of twenty-somethings more than any other feel the pressure to compete with others their age for the best job and grades, social life and friendship circle.

University and your first job:

Whether you are just starting university or have already graduated, it can safely be said that most students experience ultimate stress at this stage of life. We all have career goals that we aspire to achieve but in the midst of countless other life considerations, we may discover we can no longer follow the route we’ve mapped out for ourselves. Moreover, those who have completed university may feel lost for direction with pressure to immediately secure a permanent graduate role.

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Entering the working world means there is no longer a set curriculum or path; much more is left up to us to work out for ourselves. Some argue this should drive us to promote and normalise travelling, further study, and self-development during our twenties, to enable those of us who haven’t yet found a career path we truly wish to follow.

Balancing your social life:

In the current climate, many worry about their future; intense pressure falls upon young adults to be highly ambitious and career-driven. We often forget that we are still young and have plenty of time to fulfill all of our goals. Our twenties should be a time to experiment, meet new people and network. Understandably, turning twenty comes with a little more responsibility, but many either find this hard to accept or difficult to handle.

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High expectations are often held of us regarding building relationships, considering marriage, moving out of family homes, but the reality is this is not possible for everyone. Turning twenty does not mean that you have aged significantly and must throw away all excitement in your life to “adult.”  Many argue we should defy traditional notions of what we should aim for and achieve at this age, defining our goals and ambitions for ourselves, regardless of what might be expected of us.

It is your own journey:

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t plan out our lives. However, to navigate our twenties, we should understand that although blessings may come our way, life happens and curveballs may interrupt our perfectly planned futures; we are not always in control of the cards life deals us. This stage of life is about finding our own way, deciding, and carving our future paths.