Book by Christine Hassler
Review by Brittany Sheehy 
Graduate Assistant
Transitional Advising Center
University of South Florida

Christine Hassler has written a comprehensive text regarding life issues that have twenty somethings stumped and feeling alone. This is the millennial generation that has been entering universities across the country for the past ten years. Hassler confronts the sense of entitlement this generation has for success, careers, love, and money as she prepares them for what she calls “Expectation Hangovers.” She describes these dilemmas as being similar to alcohol hangovers: a feeling of discontent mixed with the same physical sensations felt after a long night out. She also outlines information that will guide advisors and teachers in understanding twenty somethings’ way of thinking. 

Hassler presents the material in a simple way using analogies. Nowhere does the author mention advisors in a formal sense; however, she does provide practical advice any advisor could give to students.  For example, Hassler forewarns that those twenty somethings who stress over the idea of finding their passion and matching it to a certain major or career are heading for an Expectation Hangover. She suggests that readers avoid confusing passion for a career with purpose in life: “Purpose in life includes our entire lives, not just our working lives” (p. 233). Many twenty somethings experience anxiety not knowing how to incorporate their love for a hobby with their career interests. Hassler says that purpose in life covers many areas of our lives e.g., being a good daughter or son, spouse, or friend, but our lives should create purpose and passion not just careers. 

One twenty-something expressed disappointment that his advisors and professors built up his confidence about all the possibilities he would have after college (p. 20). Hassler concedes that twenty somethings can shoot for the stars, however she says students who expect their dream job immediately after graduation set themselves up for an Expectation Hangover: “These celebrations are often followed by grown-up doses of disappointment and reality of deferred gratification — something the instant gratification generation often forgets exists” (p.18). 

Because there are so many potential bumps in the road for twenty somethings, the author tries to cover many issues and jumps from one topic to another. Some topics are explained in great depth while others are brushed over briefly. At the end of each chapter, Hassler provides reflection activities that provide twenty somethings with reality checks that will help them navigate their life experiences; however, some of these activities are time consuming or unrealistic while others are practical. 

Overall, the text is a great resource for advisors. The index will help advisors search for examples of different issues faced by today’s college students. Academic advisors who read this work will gain a better understanding of student issues and will be able to encourage students in their developmental journeys. Most of all, advisors will be able to assure students that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

20 Something manifesto: Quarter-Lifers speak out about who they are, what they want, and how to get it (2008) Book by Christine Hassler. Review by Brittany Sheehy. Novato, CA: New World Library 352 pp., $15.95, ISBN # 978-1-57731-595-7

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