Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

Acknowledging The Quarter-Life-Crisis


You’re twenty, give or take a few years. You’re at a concert joined by your friends and a nagging sense of exhaustion that you don’t remember inviting, or sitting in your bed at 3am scrolling through the Instagram profile of a stranger who lives in Omaha and is followed by the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend you follow, or mentally constructing constellations out of the un-erased scraps of whiteboard marker that you deeply wish your professor would just erase already, or talking to a friend who you’ve known, or thought you’ve known, for years. And inexplicably, the questions that have sat dormantly in the base of your mind begin to well up: Am I employable? Am I likeable? Lovable? Did I pick the right major? Will I regret this in ten years? Where will I be in ten years? How am I already in college? How am I almost done with college? Will any of this matter if climate change dooms us all first?

(Answer to the last question: no.) If the odd specificity hasn’t made it obvious, I’m writing this letter from a personal place. Sometimes I feel like I’m growing up at a break-neck speed, and whenever I choose to look down or up or anywhere other than my embarrassingly un-white Nikes beneath me, I’m overwhelmed with the uncertainty.

And know that I’m not the only one who has felt that way, who has asked themselves those questions. Maybe a wiser editor would invoke the comforting procession of you’re not alone’s now, but I am not a wiser editor. And I believe that, in a way, you are alone. And it is precisely this fact--that no one will be able to fully answer those questions for you, that no one will be as impacted by the answers you give and choices you make than yourself--that makes this doubt, this uncertainty, this quarter-life crisis so uniquely terrifying. 

So, I don’t have a good answer. For anything. But I do want to end the inaugural Letter From the Editor of this year’s first issue of The Wake on an invitation: lean into the discomfort of not knowing. Someday, you probably will have the answers. But, in the meantime, build a community, see a therapist, learn how to knit, register to vote (if you can), and, if you’re interested, write: The Wake happens to have 8PM Monday pitch meetings in Folwell 104. Consider this your formal invitation.

With love, 

Tala Alfoqaha


Wake Mag