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5 Pieces of Advice to My Quarter-Century Self

Pretty brunette binging in secret in a coffee shopTurning 25-years old can be a difficult time in a young person’s life. After graduating high school and possibly now college, they find themselves in their first career job, trying to meet new people for friendships and love, and for the first time in their life they might be solely responsible for their bills and finances.

After having school be the end goal for so many years, it’s weird to go to the same job day in and day out without a final destination in mind. Friendships and communities aren’t as easy to come by as they were in the dorms or classrooms. And finally being out in the “real world” isn’t as great as some hoped it would be.

All of these changes may lead some individuals to experience a quarter-life crisis. Here is some advice for those young people going through this new and challenging time.

  1. It’s okay if you don’t love your first job.
    You probably won’t land your dream job right out of school. Getting experience, learning your industry and having a good work ethic will all pay off, no matter where you start. We all have to begin somewhere to get experiences on our resume and our foot in the door. Be a hard worker and know that you won’t be stuck here forever.
  2. It’s okay to leave your first job.
    If the management is horrible or the company is poorly run, it’s okay to cut your losses and find a new job. Although, you should find a new job before you officially resign from the old one. When you are young, you can take more risks with your job and move around a bit. However, don’t job hop, but after one to two years at the same place, it’s okay to start looking elsewhere.
  3. Start a 401K.
    Even if you are eating noodles every night, you should contribute to your company’s 401K if they offer one. If your company matches, try to put in the amount they will match up to so you aren’t losing out on free money. There are huge benefits to starting early and your older self will thank you later for the years of compounding that makes savings grow.
  4. Don’t stress over finding “the one.”
    It might seem like everyone around you is getting engaged or married at this age, but remember that you are still pretty young. If you aren’t in a serious relationship by age 25 you haven’t missed your chance at love. Get out, meet new people, have a life of your own and most likely Mr. or Mrs. Right will come along soon enough.
  5. Now is the time to travel. 
    Plan a trip with friends to Europe or go on that mission trip with your church to Honduras. If you think you don’t have time now, it will only get harder as you age and have more responsibilities. If you don’t have kids, now is definitely the time to pack your bags and go!

Know that at age 25 you don’t need to have it all figured out. Most 60-year olds still don’t. So give yourself some grace and patience in these early years and just learn as you go. It takes most of us some time to figure out what we really want in life. The best part at your age is that you still have a lifetime ahead of you to discover it.

5 Pieces of Advice to My Quarter-Century Self

Kurt Smith, Psy.D., LMFT, LPCC, AFC

Dr. Kurt Smith is the Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching and writes a blog about the issues facing men (and the women who love them). As an expert in understanding men, their partners, and the unique relationship challenges couples face today, he regularly appears on The Huffington Post, NerdWallet and PsychCentral. Dr. Kurt is a lover of dogs, sarcasm, everything outdoors, and helping those seeking to make their lives and relationships better. Check out his weekly tips on Facebook or Twitter.

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APA Reference
Smith, K. (2018). 5 Pieces of Advice to My Quarter-Century Self. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 20 Feb 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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