The transitional age between the 20s and 30s is filled with indecision. It is a complicated age because this is the age where young people define their careers and social lives. The confusion on choices fills this age, but as a consolation, everyone goes through this stage. Balancing between work and social life, giving priorities to our desires and how to handle stress defines this age.
I am a female student (22 years old) at Southern Connecticut State University. Coming from a Muslim family has denied me the social life that my age mates enjoy. My strict parents, from childhood, did not allow me enough freedom to make friends aside from fellow Muslim girls. At Gateway Community College I enjoyed the part-time jobs because I would socialize with new people.
I have been working at Connex Credit Union for the past one year. I worked on a daily basis and would attend classes after the end of my shifts. I realized that the daily work and classes did not allow me ample time to rest. Just like Dave, I did not allow myself time to socialize with my friends. Attending classes late and tired were getting me stressed because I would constantly be rushing. Besides, my grades were affected because I was attending classes while tired.
Working has helped me manage stress because I tend to forget the pressing issues while busy. In retrospect, I was just ignoring the lonely feelings that had built up over the past years. Attending school and working at the same time did not allow me time to think about my lonely life. I would work to ensure that I was tired when I got home and never considered how much I needed a social life. For me, managing stress meant overworking myself to avoid idle thoughts. I agree with Dan that making friends is not easy, “I never imagined that it would be hard to stay In touch with my friends and make new ones,” (Ceridian, 2016, p. 12). Aside from concentrating on my studies, I wanted to ensure I had time to make friends. However, I am still young, and I tend to have some things in common with people. The difference in culture, religion and beliefs have made the socialization process especially fun.
The friends I have created in my new interest of making friends have taught me a lot. From social to academic aspects of life, I have learnt just how much I missed in my previous years without friends. The lot of information regarding academic and career goals have introduced me to a new perspective I had not realized before. From these friends I have learnt to have senior friends because they might help me in getting a job. Also, I am happier because, “Having a personal support network can make it easier to cope with many common sources of stress,” (Ceridian, 2016, p. 14). It is thus through this social networks that I have learnt the importance of friends. From different people, you learn different things.
Making friends while working was primarily a challenge. I now understand that most of my acquaintances felt less appreciated because I was always either working or in class. I had no time to socialize, and hence we lacked things in common. To cite Pauline’s story, lack of similarities in goals or social lives limits keeping up with friends. Evidently, after I quit working on weekdays, I made more friends and could maintain them. I simply lacked the perfect balance between work, school and social life.
It is after consideration of things I wanted to prioritize that I quit working on weekdays. I also wanted to broaden my social network while maintaining work because I enjoyed all three of them. I have more classes this semester hence the need to balance between my daily engagements. Like Brian, I want to start my career early, so I kept the weekend part-time work to better my resume.
Ceridian Training and Development Catalogue. (2016). https://www.ceridian.ca/en/professional-wellness-employee-development/organizational-wellness-catalogue.pdf. Minnesota: LifeWorks. Retrieved March 09, 2018, from https://www.ceridian.ca/en/professional-wellness-employee-development/organizational-wellness-catalogue.pdf