Delara Youssefian interviews former TWSS editor Joy Molan, and Emily Parker, the co-founders of a new online magazine, Quarterlife.
Their website describes Quarterlife Magazine as an online platform for quarterlifers, by quarterlifers. Their content is ‘inspired by experiences of how challenging life can be after education’, hoping to ‘inspire, entertain and empower you by sharing all the things education didn’t teach us about careers and real life.’ (Check out the magazine here: https://www.quarterlifemagazine.com/)
Why do you think there is so much pressure on graduates to have their entire lives sorted out as soon as they finish their degrees? Best advice for someone feeling overwhelmed by that pressure?
Speaking from our personal experiences, this pressure seems to set in during the second year of uni; a phenomenon we call ‘second-year fear’. It’s that anxiety-inducing time when relatives start asking ‘what are you planning to do after uni?’, which can quickly descend into ‘what’s the point of degrees these days?’ if said relative finds your answer to be lacking the clear-eyed decisiveness of a hedge-fund manager in the making. Pressure can also stem from well-meaning friends; friends who have somehow got the jump-start on the rest of us and applied for six grad schemes before we’ve even chosen our final year modules. Conversations with overly-on-it friends can make it seems like you’ve already failed before you’ve got through the gate.
But the truth is that no one really knows what they are going to do when they graduate. Even if they seem to have it all figured out, those plans will change. Never compare your progress to others. Let them do them, and you do you.
The best advice we’ve received on this subject actually comes from the oft-quoted Baz Luhrmann classic, ‘Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen’. He writes,
Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind
the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
Baz goes on to say “do one thing every day that scares you”. We’d rather live by that mantra than any other. It’s so important to take risks and try different options, even if they don’t work out. Uni prepares you for academia, but it doesn’t expose you to the plethora of different opportunities out there once you’ve left. Travel if you have the money. If you already have a career in mind, ask your heroes for a coffee to pick their brains. Or do that shitty day job in your home-town – the unavoidable reality for most of us – but make time for fulfilling side projects. See where it all takes you. Pushing yourself to do stuff that excites you will help you figure out what you really makes you tick.
What do you think is the biggest delusion about life after university?
We spent our whole time at uni looking forward to the time when we’d graduate and have loads of money to do all the fun things we couldn’t afford as students. Turns out we were still poor when we graduated, we had just somehow acquired a cheese plant in a macramé holder. Many grads, us included, make the mistake of pinning their hopes on the shimmering mirage of a future life goal. “When I get this job I’ll be happy” or “when I get on that Masters course, I’ll be set for life”. The trick is to stop living on the promise of future happiness and embrace the messiness of the present. Guaranteed, you’ll find yourself two years from now missing the chaotic student house where your friends were just a knock away.
Things that helped you survive what you guys have called the ‘lost year’ after uni?
The ‘lost year’ is the term that we feel best describes that strange, disorientating year after leaving full-time education. You’re spat out of the education system, torn apart from your friends and plonked back into your pre-uni circumstances. This whiplash can be hard to handle. For us, it triggered serious loneliness and homesickness for a home that no longer existed. What helped us get through this year was scheduling weekend get-togethers with friends, who were also in their hometowns across the country. Having a concrete date to look forward to made the soul-crushing job applications more bearable. These meet-ups provided many laughs and countless hours of much needed free therapy.
What’s the best thing you’ve learnt in the process of creating the magazine?
You’ve got to be bold. We had no idea if the magazine would work out or if anyone would read it, but we went for it anyway because we passionately believed that we could expose an issue that needed to be highlighted. We also brazenly messaged cool start-up founders and inspirational people doing cool stuff out of the blue to ask for interviews for a magazine that didn’t yet exist. We were pleasantly surprised by how generous people were with their time and how patient they were with our less-than-honed interview techniques. Our advice is to be cheeky and reach out to people even if it feels like a longshot. Trying something, even when you don’t know if it’ll work out, and being prepared to make a fool of yourself are important steps in creating something you’re truly passionate about. If it all goes pear-shaped, chalk it up to experience and keep on going.
What do you hope to achieve through Quarterlife Magazine?
Our one goal is to inspire a quarterlife better lived; to do our bit to make 20-somethings feel a little less alone in their struggles. We know how hard this time can be and we ultimately just want to create the resource we wish we’d had.
Future plans for the magazine?
For now, we are focusing on growing our contributor-pool and readership for the website. We are always on the look-out for people to join our team; so, if you are interested or simply want to know more about us, please take a look at our contact page and get in touch!
Image credits to Quarterlife Magazine/ Catherine Scrivener.