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UEL graduate finds calling coaching young people through their 'quarter-life crisis'

Psychology brain prop

Dina Grishin has a thriving career using the positive psychology and coaching psychology she studied at UEL 

A University of East London (UEL) graduate who went through a ‘quarter-life crisis’ is now a life coach helping other young adults when they hit a wall of their own. 

“The quarter-life crisis is real,” explained Dina Grishin (pictured above), who graduated from UEL with a master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology.

She said, “It’s easy to just go through life tick-boxing the usual things like qualifications, job, holiday, renting through our teens and early twenties, but we don’t update our version of what happiness or success looks like as we get older.

“Instead, we look to our inner circle of parents and peers, and read about high-flying entrepreneurs, inventors, and leaders and see them happy and sure-footed, while we have no idea what makes us happy, and then we feel lost or stuck.”

A quarter-life crisis can happen when people begin to feel doubtful or depressed about their lives as they reach their mid-twenties and early thirties.

Dina said people need to train their brains to stop thinking negatively about current life situations, because a single negative thought starts can ‘leak’ into other areas of life and relationships. 

She said, “Step back from your own life, make a life plan and talk to a coach who can help. Together, come up with some experiments to break out of the ‘stuckness’.” 

Whether it is a date, networking event, conference or just water cooler chat, Dina advises us to be bold and ask deeper, more meaningful questions. 

She said, “I think it comes from my Russian upbringing. We don’t tend to do small talk. It’s more about the bigger questions in life."

Dina's family left Moscow when Dina was six years old to start a new life in London. Her father set up his own insurance business – something that inspired the entrepreneurial Dina.

After graduating from university with a degree in psychology, Dina held down a series of jobs – coordinating patient appointments in the NHS, an office role in a university psychology department, teaching English in Argentina. She even worked for a firm helping ultra-wealthy Russians with luxury purchases. 

“But nothing stuck. The question ‘Where’s my place in life? What am I supposed to be doing with my life?’ remained," she said. 

A chance encounter with positive psychology in a book she was reading ultimately led Dina to the doors of UEL.

One year into her studies, UEL launched the world’s first Master’s in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology. Dina switched to the joint honours programme.

She said, “The degree was the culmination of a long journey, my own quarter-life crisis, the answer to the question ‘Where’s my place in life?’” 

Now she helps others answer those questions.