I felt lost in early adulthood, so coined the term ‘quarterlife’ as a focus for study

Adrift after leaving university, Satya Doyle Byock turned to psychology to bridge the journey to adulthood

When Satya Doyle Byock finished her studies after nearly 20 years, she felt like she was stepping off a cliff. Adulthood seemed perilously unclear. “I was in my 20s and in crisis, looking around myself at friends in crisis,” says Byock, now 40. Only a few of her fellow graduates seemed clear-eyed about the future, with jobs or further study lined up. The rest had “absolutely no idea”.

After graduating, Byock volunteered abroad, at a prison in Colombia, in tsunami relief in Sri Lanka, before landing a job as a project manager at a software startup in Portland. It was a “good job”, in a buzzy sector, with a decent salary. But Byock’s disorientation persisted. In her journals she wondered if she was on the right path and why she didn’t feel satisfied.

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