EVERY YEAR MANY COLLEGE STUDENTS FEEL THE SYMPTOMS OF THE MID-COLLEGE CRISIS.
ARTIST: BIANCA ADAMO
By Maddy Saunders
For junior Erika Barger sports were her life. She spent years practicing and training to make the Chapman women’s lacrosse team. But at the beginning of her junior year Barger decided to leave her lacrosse stick behind.
What caused this great change?
Barger suffered from the mid-college crisis.
“I realized I had only two years left of college,” Barger said, “I decided to make a huge change in my life.”
There is no official diagnosis or definition for the mid-college crisis. But it is an epidemic spreading from one campus to another, plaguing Chapman and other college students every year.
“First, you panic because you realize you are halfway done with college,” said junior television and broadcast journalism major Andrea Hammer. “Then you begin to question everything you have and haven’t done.”
Hammer began to experience symptoms of the mid-college crisis during the first couple weeks of classes at the beginning of this year. Hammer’s experience may vary compared to others’ experiences but for the most part the mid-college crisis can be defined as the moment when students realize they are halfway through their college career and that their alleged “best years of their lives” are almost up. It’s basically the college version of the midlife crisis, except instead of buying new sports cars or having an extramarital affair, students switch their majors or join new clubs.
According to Dean of Students Jerry Price the crisis for students is usually unavoidable and in some cases necessary.
“You have to be true to yourself,” said Price. “The earlier you can have this self searching the better.”
Price said that for some students it can be very stressful. Usually students have to come to terms with their identity change before they can act upon it.
Barger, a kinesiology major, said her mid-college crisis was triggered at the beginning of this year.
“After being a Rho Gamma and an Orientation Assistant and being surrounded by a ton of freshman I felt really old,” said Barger.
Barger said she made huge change in her life; she decided to quit lacrosse and joined the snow club instead. Her parents thought she was crazy to quit being a college athlete, especially just so she could go snowboarding. While she understands their perspective Barger realized that she wanted to be happy and snowboarding makes her happy.
“Actually, this mid life crisis hasn’t made me too sad,” Barger said. “It made me feel carefree and less stressed.”
Barger felt like she had spent too much time during her freshman and sophomore year stressed about schoolwork and grades.
“I’ve put so much pressure on myself to get good grades that it has kinda taken out the fun part of college,” Barger said.
Emma Rigl believes that there is more pressure on juniors to know what they are hoping to do after graduation.
“Junior year comes along and it feels like you really have to know what you want or else you’re behind,” said the junior business major.
Rigl also felt anxious that she was too late into the internship game compared to her friends; most of them already had extensive internship experience. Rigl turned her anxiety into productivity and was able to find an internship that she believes will be beneficial to her for when she enters the workforce full time.
Along with finding an internship Rigl also figured out what her emphasis is within her major, deciding to add both marketing and international business
Junior Maggie Rogers said her mid-college crisis is ongoing, that she often experiences the feeling that college is flying by and she worries that she will not have enough time to accomplish all that she hopes to during the limited time she has left at Chapman. Her symptoms started at the beginning of her second semester sophomore year.
“I found that coming to college opened my eyes to so many different opportunities and interests in my life and I began to feel increasingly dissatisfied with only my dance major,” Rogers said.
Since her sophomore year she has added psychology as a second major. She also has made other changes such as reaching out to people she lost touch with since freshman year and has decided to study abroad. In the spring she can be found in Madrid.
For Rogers, the mid-college crisis is a constant struggle.
“My ‘crisis’ brought me to make changes in my life that changed my plans for the future, and I am learning to accept that I cannot plan for everything,” said Rogers.
Although the mid-college crisis brought stress to Rogers she is grateful for it. It caused her to make changes in her life that she didn’t think she would have made otherwise and has inspired her to make sure her time left at chapman is fulfilling.
“I don’t know if I will ever be totally comfortable with the way my college years are flying by, but I am definitely going to make the most of them,” Rogers said.
While it does appear that the mid-college crisis is widespread and prevalent among Chapman students one thing is for sure: It isn’t fatal.