I’m about to graduate college and I have never been more lost. Some times I just want to cry, punch a wall, or just scream at the top of my lungs. But I soon realize after that moment of frustration that I’ll only end up with stinging eyes, a broken hand (possibly a hole in the wall), and a sore throat.
To be honest, its scares the sh** out of me that in just a few months college is over. In college, I complain and whine about work but at least there is a syllabus, a plan to follow. After college, there is nothing. I am the one that has to make the plans. And quite frankly, I don’t know where to start.
No matter what I do, I always feel like its not enough. I stay up late doing work, worrying about the future, and eventually falling asleep with tears in my eyes and a nightmare that quickly settles in to my consciousness. More often than not, I wake up with a jolt either from the nightmare or the distinct feeling of failing or being late.
For me, college has been a never ending cycle of stress, anxiety, and depression. Freshmen year I seriously contemplated dropping out. I was lonely, scared, and lost. And the best remedy for that was work. I started my retail job and my blog. Occupying my time with a bunch of responsibilities worked for a few months, but after fall semester of freshmen year was over. My distractions did little to settle my fears. In J-term, I was constantly tired. I didn’t want to do anything but hide under the covers and mindlessly flip through channels.
Sophomore year was probably my happiest year. I finally felt like I found my niche. I had a routine. And working out 6 days a week really helped too. Burning my stress and sweating it out with fun cardio was probably the best part of my day. And I finally had a few classes where I could see a few familiar faces. And having people just say, “Hi!” to me as they walk by made a huge difference. For the first time, I felt included in something.
After finals Sophomore year, I felt great. I did well on my tests and I was done (at least for a few months…). But as life has it, my life was a living H-E-double hockey sticks during the summer. I had relatives visit. And like all relatives, the popular “What are you doing with the rest of your life?” question comes up. After replying that I was an English, you can almost here the jaws drop and the intake of air, followed by a “What will you do with that? Write?” and then they start laughing at the impossibility.
I sat there listening to their advice. They mean well. I get it. But being told I’m useless and doing everything wrong is not really going to help me. I thought I had conquered my anxiety junior and senior year of high school. But I was wrong. This conversation was enough to set my heart in to a frenzy. My hands to start shaking, breathing to become hard, and endless tears to start falling down my face. I tried to let him finish. But I couldn’t, I had to leave. I ran in to my room, shut the door, and tried to take a deep breath. When I failed, I could feel myself getting light headed. I landed hard on my knees and continued to cry with jagged breaths. Eventually my tears slowed and my breathing became regular again. I put myself in to child’s pose and took a few deep breaths. I don’t know how long it took me to get back to normal. But when I went downstairs he had already left.
His words tied me down like a rock as I tried to swim to the surface. And no matter how hard I working to stay afloat, I couldn’t constantly feel the weight dragging me down. No matter how hard I worked it wasn’t enough because I was going down a path that would not lead to success.
I wanted to believe that I could succeed, but his words were like knives.
A few months later and a semester away from graduating, I’m still not sure what I’m doing with my life. But I have become more okay with this. I started freelancing a few months ago and I’m starting to see my work on various company blogs. I even started interning for Play Channel Magazine and RVATourism. I find satisfaction in what I’m doing. And that is the best thing in the world.
“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens”- Mandy Hale