Talking through 25 — why I created a podcast on navigating the quarter-life crisis

girl looking off camera in a wintry setting
Photo by Aron Diaz (JA ’18)

Host Andrea Juarez (Journalism '18) talks with people who have already lived through turning 25, one of life's most confusing times. Juarez shares why she created the podcast and what she has learned along the way.


How was your life at age 25? Mine wasn’t what I had expected. I had gone through some disappointments and, instead of having my future all figured out, I felt lost. I was stuck, with no sense of direction where to go or what to do next.

The signs were undeniable — I had hit my incredibly illuminating quarter-life crisis.

To my surprise, I wasn’t alone. Many of my friends felt the same uncertainty and anxiety. My curiosity kicked in and I wondered: did previous generations ever experience this?

I went on a quest for answers and decided to ask my family, friends, and people I admire about their experiences. What were the opportunities they had seized and the challenges they had to endure? How have their lives been transformed since they were 25? And what advice do they have for today’s 20-somethings?

Interviews have always been my favourite part of being a journalist, and I’m a firm believer that by talking with others, we can learn from their experiences and wisdom and, ultimately, learn about ourselves. As I listened to their powerful stories, I realized these inspiring conversations would make a compelling podcast.

So I launched Project 25, now available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube. It features episodes in English and Spanish, my first language, so listeners in Calgary and Mexico (where I emigrated from) can access the podcast and benefit from the advice provided.

As I reach the 30-episode mark, my interviews include five fellow SAIT alumni with whom I connected during my studies, in the workforce and through mutual friends. They’ve provided some of my favourite lessons — check them out below.

Through Project 25, I’ve learned that the feelings that arise during the quarter-life crisis are valid but, more importantly, I’ve witnessed the power of community, learned to find the magic in the unknown, and understood that no matter how weird things get, everything will be okay.

Five alumni insights from Project 25, selected by podcaster Andrea Juarez


black and white photo of Leah Hennel
Photo by HarderLee Photography
LEAH HENNEL
Journalism '98, Honorary Degree '22

"Ask yourself how you measure success — do you measure it as having a big home and making a lot of money? Or do you measure it as how you treat other people and how kind you are?" 

Award-winning photojournalist Leah Hennel's work appears in major publications and international news networks including the Globe and Mail, the Guardian and Reuters. She has photographed Summer and Winter Games for the Canadian Olympic Committee and recently published two photography books.


 


photo of Hector Flores
Photo by Antonieta Rojas
HECTOR FLORES
New Media Production and Design '17

"Take as much as you can from the buffet of life, because if you are still figuring out who you want to be or who you are, the best way to do it is to expose yourself to different experiences."

With a background in business development, communications, public relations, audiovisual and theatre production, graphic design and entrepreneurship, Hector Flores is Student Experience and Business Sustainment Specialist with SAIT's Office of the Registrar. He's also a father, tireless volunteer and accomplished actor.


 


photo of Adora Nwofor
Photo by Kokemor Studio
ADORA NWOFOR
Petroleum Land Administration '07

"Take chances because you're never going to live this moment again. That's for everybody. Know that being old is a privilege and that you don't have to freak out now. You don't have to have it all figured out."

Adora Nwofor is a comedian, an activist, an anthropologist, a stylist, a mom, a public speaker and an entrepreneur. President of Black Lives Matter YYC, she's also the writer, producer and host of Calgary Art Development's Living a Creative Life web series.  


 


photo of Jorge Torres
Photo by Madelaine Meloche (MLT '21)
JORGE TORRES
Business Administration '11

"Don't listen to social media or to the preconception that you need to have everything figured out by 25. All realities are different, and it's okay for you to make a mistake or to realize a certain path isn't for you and start over. Starting over is an act of bravery."

Director of Development at Haskayne School of Business with the University of Calgary, Jorge Torres is a fund development manager, a father, an artist, an avid hiker and volunteer who is passionate about making a difference.  


 


Black and white photo of Candice Ward
Photo by HarderLee Photography
CANDICE WARD
Journalism '08

"If you were successful at everything you did, you're not growing and you're not learning. Put yourself out there and fail a ton, because that's when the funny and memorable stuff happens."

Freelance sports photographer Candice Ward shoots for Getty Images and other outlets. Named to its 2016 Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity list by Canadian Women & Sport, she also received an Aboriginal Role Model Award for Arts/Media in 2018.  


 

🎧 Listen up!

Connect with the SAIT community to hear inspiring conversations with subject matter experts and leaders working in the industry. Start listing to Project 25 or explore other podcasts created by SAIT alumni, including Crime Reporter Nancy Hixt's Crime Beat.

View podcasts