Coming of age -- Fiction


As a writer, I feel like dealing with conflict in real life is the best way to deal with conflict in my fiction. Quarter-Life Crisis or How to Get Over College and Become a Functioning Member of Society, while a fictional novel, is very much about many of the conflicts I‘ve experienced over the past few years. Sean Easton is a twenty-five year old college graduate living in Miami, trying to balance out his life in a world that doesn‘t make as much sense to him as it did when he first graduated college, happy and looking forward to the future. Suffering through the aftermath of a major breakup as well as the death of his best friend, Sean is in the midst of a year-long alcohol binge when we are introduced to him, a period of time characterized by sporadic bouts of self-loathing interlaced with sardonic internal dialogue directed towards the world at large. Sean‘s story eventually intersects with the second protagonist in Quarter Life Crisis, Lauren Ellis. Lauren is a twenty-four year old college dropout turned pharmacy technician. When we are introduced to her, Lauren‘s life is characterized by her child—Justin—and her husband Rick. Rick‘s a mechanic, and he, Lauren, and their son are all living a comfortably mundane life until the day Lauren comes home to find Rick having sex with eighteen year old Natalie, Justin‘s babysitter. From there, Lauren‘s entire life is thrown into disarray, forcing her to confront desires and dreams she had previously filed away in the mental category of ―lost.‖ Together, Sean and Lauren represent a large portion of our society, a generation of individuals entering their mid- and late-twenties in the new millennium. Many of them have been told to dream big and aim high throughout their entire lives, that the next four years will be the best of their lives. And then the next four years. A few of us fulfill these dreams. Most don‘t, and iv in a time when acquiring a college degree has become more an expectation than an accomplishment, Sean Easton and Lauren Ellis are two of many that are defined by their uncertainty as to where their place in society is. Quarter Life Crisis follows their journey from complete uncertainty to little less uncertain, bringing their lifelong dreams into direct conflict with what they are actually capable of achieving. Though the circumstances of Sean and Lauren‘s shifts in character are both distinct, their mentality and outlook on love and life are similar. In the end, they both find a balance that gives them hope for happiness which, they both realize, is the most they can really get in the long run. The underlying theme of Quarter Life Crisis or How to Get Over College and Become a Functioning Member of Society is that college has become a fixture in American upbringing. The novel isn‘t saying this is a good or bad thing, just that it is something that hangs over everybody in the current generation‘s heads growing up, whether they attend college or not. The novel is an attempt to examine how people function in the new millennium after reaching the point in their life when college is no longer a factor, when they are thrown into the real world and told to fend for themselves. It‘s the story of how two people end up doing exactly that, and the hellish process they go through to get to that point.


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Graduation Date





Rushin, Pat


Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities










Release Date

July 2016

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities