I am officially one week into working full-time after graduating college (I’m writing this blog post as of 1/8/2022), and ultimately I am feeling great and felt like I should share with others some things I learned and noticed. Graduating from college can be a really scary and sad time since you are uncertain how your after-college life will change, your friends may be moving, you’re suddenly working nonstop on a job you may ultimately love or hate, and so many new changes and experiences.
The situation may be all too familiar: you have an important event coming up, or worse, happening the very next day. It’s a job interview, a big test, the playoffs for the sport you play, a move to a new apartment, the start of a significant school year. No matter what it is, you can’t seem to sleep, like, at all. Your body is waking you up throughout the night, or it might not let you go to sleep at all, and you’re just lying there, trying to keep your eyes closed in your dark room despite being fully conscious.
As I scroll through Instagram, my feed is starting to fill up with a plethora of creative graduation posts, from tossing graduation hats to making nostalgic videos of old schools. Similar to my Instagram feed, my mind is starting to fill up too. I am so overjoyed to see my friends succeeding and smiling and I’m curious as to what everyone’s future plans and goals are. It is sad to feel some FOMO, both within myself for not being able to physically congratulate those who I love, and for others who may not be able to attend in-person ceremonies. But I am also anxious, frequently wondering, “will everything be okay?”
Like many people, I struggled with my mental health through quarantine. I was very unproductive and was constantly distracting myself with my phone. I developed bad physical and mental habits. I felt angry over quarantine at myself and the people around me. I was afraid to express this anger and my feeling of anxiety and stress because I knew my family members and friends were dealing with their own problems.
I can confidently say the best years of my life have been in college. I need the structure, the crumbs of responsibility, the freedom from paying health insurance. So when people remind me that there are two more days of classes, I don’t even feel anything. No emotion, because my brain can’t understand that this period is closing.
Now that we can (hopefully) see the soon to be light at the end of the tunnel for the quarantine and the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, I want to make sure we continue to check-in with ourselves and our own mental health. Things are starting to open up again after over a year and things will slowly begin to work their way closer to “normal.”
I was at a plant warehouse sale a few days ago. We had to wait in line for about an hour before going in. Lucky for us, it was nice out that morning. The sun was beating down on us, a cool breeze was blowing, and there was a food truck selling biscuits and coffee. I was standing there taking it all in. I felt like this was the first Saturday that I actually went out and did something planned in so long — since the fall at the very earliest.