“I don’t want just words. If that’s all you have for me, you’d better go”
Well hold on there F. Scott Fitzgerald (#namedrop), you haven’t even seen what we’re going to do with them yet! Jeez, this guy.
In a previous post, we looked at how the quarter-life crisis was represented in news media, and now we’ve gone back to the features, news stories and guides to the quarter-life crisis to look at the words it’s couched in.
For our purposes, these word clouds pull out the most frequently used terms – the bigger the word, the more times it was used in the original articles. In this first overall word cloud (above), there’s a lot of peripheral information to sift through, particularly irrelevant numbering.
The themes that pop out (aside from obvious terms like ‘crisis’) aren’t that surprising; ‘work’ and ‘jobs’ were used frequently enough to correlate them with QLCs. However, some are more interesting. ‘Parents’ would seem to reflect on both a comparison with previous generations and a need to live at home for financial reasons.
If we break it down further, we can see trends more clearly. For example, if we focus only on the long-form news feature articles and raise the bar for times a word is used, a slightly clearer picture emerges. We combined this guardian article, this telegraph article and this msn article to create this:
Again, we see ‘parents’, ‘jobs’ and ‘career’ are frequently used, but so are more personal terms: ‘trapped’, ‘depressed’, ‘feeling(s)’ , fear, ‘age’, ’25’ (a key age as opposed to the spectrum of numbers in the first word cloud), ‘want’, ‘phase’ and many others that display the universal feelings of distress that people can feel in these situations (incidentally Damian Barr, previously interviewed on this blog, also pops up a few times).
Blimey, this is getting a bit depressing; are all QLC articles this gloomy? Well, no; as any of our regular readers can attest, the rib-tickling levels of fun and hilarity that can be squeezed from the QLC knows no bounds; but what do these funnier articles on the topic from Metro, Buzzfeed and our very own Alex Horne (in this post) tell us?
Well, possibly slightly less. Although things are a bit less doom and gloom in these articles (as you might imagine), they also tend to gloss over key parts of the QLC experience (except the one from us, of course. We’re amazing). There are still trends that emerge, however; education, careers and emotional themes keep rising to the fore.
But perhaps you want something a little more helpful, and so for this last word cloud we’ve drawn together some articles which offer practical advice:
It’s essentially what you’d expect. Keep your ‘faith’; one ‘stage’ at a time. ‘QLCs’ can make your ‘twenties’ intolerable, but ‘even’ during them, you must know they’re ‘just’ a ‘stage’.
That might seem pat and cheap, but it’s true. The language of the QLC is as universal as the experience – but also as the simple techniques to get past it are. So that’s what the investigations, the lists and the advice tell you.
As the last word cloud says: Your Move.
(Well, technically it says ‘youre’ and ‘MOVE’ separately, but it’s close enough. Ssh. And Robinson.)
With thanks to www.jasondavies.com for the word cloud programme.
Full list of articles:
The quarterlife crisis: young, insecure and depressed (The Guardian)
Feeling depressed? It may be your quarter-life crisis (New Scientist)
7 Cures for Your Quarter-life Crisis (Relevant magazine)
My 20s Weren’t Supposed to Be Like This: Getting Through the Quarter-Life Crisis (The Huffington Post)
Are You Having a Mid-twenties Crisis? (The Huffington Post)