Updated: 02/06/2014 00:03

Finances and careers top worries of youth facing 'quarter-life crisis'



Finances and careers top worries of youth facing 'quarter-life crisis'

Many young people in Singapore are anxious about life after graduation, and it could be because they can't cope with the many life decisions ahead of them. 

This contributes to what a Nanyang Technological University survey of nearly 400 students describes as a "quarter-life crisis". 

Nearly half of the survey respondents say they feel lost about life after graduation. 

Ironically, it could be because they face a "paradox of choice", says NTU student Agnes Ho. 

"It happens in complex industries like ours, economies like ours. Because there are so many choices out there. Our young adults don't exactly know what they want. And this is a reason why people actually feel lost, or rather they are not really certain about what they want to do in the future." 

Ms Ho is part of the group of Wee Kim Wee School of Communication final-year students who conducted the survey in September last year. 

They asked the respondents, who included students from local universities and polytechnics, to rank aspects of life they are most concerned about. 

They included choices like work-life balance and finding romance. 

8 in 10 of them ended up saying that they are concerned about pursuing assions, building a career -- and their finances.

Ms Ho says it's not hard to see why. 

"Partly because I think a lot of uni students like me are actually having a tuition fee loan. It's not cheap, like for myself, tuition fee loan is about like 30 thousand, 36 thousand? Thereabouts."

NTU assistant professor of psychology Albert Lee says the respondents are feeling what's called a "quarter-life crisis". 

"After graduation, many kids would have the expectations for themselves that they should be financially responsible for themselves. And also, they should be adult that make good life decisions. But the reality is that after graduation, it is their first step coming out to the real world and there are tons of obstacles in front of them. And that discrepancy in what they believe and what the reality is might trigger a lot of anxiety and uncertainty." 

Ms Ho and her group-mates have started a social campaign called "The Next Stop" to help young adults overcome their quarter-life crises. 

They're working with DBS Bank, the Health Promotion Board and the National Youth Council to put young adults in touch with financial experts and career consultants through a variety of events. 

The project will officially end on March 15th, but Ms Ho hopes to keep it going for as long as possible after that.

-By John Yip

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