Perceived standards and unfulfilled expectations
Avril narrated a story of how she saw her life compared to others. She appeared to judge herself in terms of other people’s apparent achievements and to accept these as the standard of successful adulthood. Her experience of crisis started at graduation as represented in the first photo on her timeline.
“I did my foundation degree and before that I knew that’s exactly what I’m going to do. That’s all sorted. But then after that I didn’t really know what course to choose for uni so I chose like a very general course, and that was a problem because then I graduated with like no specific qualifications. S-o then I couldn’t get a job to do with my degree because it was- I wasn’t specialised in anything really. So I graduated. I got my degree but then it’s kind of useless.”
Avril chose a broad degree expecting that, by the third year, it would focus on something specific. However, this did not happen and she decided to take time before making any future decisions, hoping that this would help her make the right career choice. The next photo represents how she travelled as a way of coping with her perceived lack of direction.
After returning from her trip, Avril found herself in the same place and still did not know exactly she wanted to pursue for her future.
“So I went from job-to-job again deciding what I want to do with myself and this is like still kind of where I am at the minute. It does feel like a bit more panicky though ‘cos everyone- all my friends are getting married, buying houses, having babies, and I’m just like kind of where I am. I am now where I am just back then as well.”
Avril expressed concern about where her life was going and, when comparing herself to others, felt that she was lagging behind.
“…the things that my friends are doing at the moment that make me feel really panicky. Like this is my friend who moved to New Zealand. She got married and then they’ve just had this house built and like all my friends seem to be having babies at the moment and this is just like- like one of my gay couple friends and they’ve had a baby as well and it’s just like ‘Oh my god. Even my gay friends are having babies’…”