No matter how many times you wished for school to finally end, you are never really prepared for what’s next after your journey as a student.
I graduated cum laude, with several jobs offers even before I marched. I have a pretty solid understanding of who I am and who I want to be. Basically, I thought I had life figured out… Until reality hit me with the emptiness that an ending brings.
We all know what’s next: get a job.
But it’s not just going to be about that, isn’t it? It’s a whole new chapter, blank pages waiting to be written on.
Coping with this major shift in my life has been tough for me. After going on and on for years, months, and the last few days of my student life, right after I submitted my hard-bound thesis, everything just stopped.
Of course, my initial reaction was relief, but I remember how tight my chest was while I was walking out of UST. I couldn’t breathe properly, and my back started aching, I thought I was just tired of walking under the scorching heat. I should’ve known that it was already the start of another anxiety episode.
I held up fine for a few days of nothingness until I woke up the morning of my graduation practice, palpitating. The anxiety lasted for a month. I was anxious during the baccalaureate mass. I was anxious during graduation day. And I was anxious through three job interviews.
I told myself I couldn’t proceed with the next chapter of my life feeling this way, so I went back to my therapist. The first thing she asked me was if I already graduated, I said yes, and from there she started explaining what I’m really going through, something I am failing to see through this anxiety episode.
I am transitioning from a place of comfort to a place of uncertainty.
When I was a student, everything was laid out in front of me. Tasks after tasks are piled in front of me, and once they’re done, I just move on to the next semester, the next school year until it’s finally over. I relied my identity on the things I’ve done and achieved in school, I relied my identity on being a student.
After that session, I let myself be quiet for a while. I let myself be alone. I let myself think things through. Some of the important questions I had to ask were “Who am I?” and “What do I really want to do with my life?”
Slowing down and being quiet made me realize that, ‘hey, I know all the answers to these all along!’ It’s just that I was overwhelmed with everything that was going on, everything went by so fast that I didn’t have the time to actually ponder about these things first.
We need to mentally prepare ourselves for this post-graduation depression, and in order to do that, we must not hesitate to slow down, stop, and just be quiet for a while.
Leave this fast-paced, noisy world to itself for a while, think, and then come back equipped with the knowledge of how to proceed to the next chapter of our lives.
Have you experienced this too? Share this post with some helpful tips, you’ll never know, you might just help a fellow post-graduate.