I remember counting the days until graduation. I felt proud of myself for coming this far. I almost quit after the first week from being homesick but it soon passed and I fell in love with college life. I spent 4 years working my ass off. I was a double major in criminal justice and psychology and a minor in sociology. I had no electives in my last two years, only core classes. I felt so motivated in those years. I loved pushing myself and taking on challenging projects. I had goals and I was accomplishing them every day. I remember thinking all those allnighters were about to pay off. I put my time in and now it was going to be my time, or at least so I thought.
Graduation day and came and went. It was kinda underwhelming. I didn’t get emotional like some of my friends. It wasn’t the lifechanging day I thought it would be. I barely remember it. I remember boiling in the hot sun and ready to get it over with. I went home that night with a similar feeling like it just was going home at the end of any semester. A chapter in my life had ended but I didn’t turn the page.
A month went by and still no luck in the job search. There was no perfect dream job waiting for me and grad school was not realistic at the moment.I soon moved in with my boyfriend a few weeks later. I was beginning to settle. My post-graduation plans were out the window at that point. I got a job as a bartender to pay for rent. I left bartending after a few months because it just wasn’t for me. It was stressful and a cutthroat industry that was never meant for a person like me. But it left its mark, I was a shell of a person. I thought leaving was the best thing for me and my mental health but little did I know I was on the brim of falling into one of the worst periods of my life.
After leaving bartending I was unemployed for two months but what felt like a year. At this point, I had lost connections with most of my college friends who I thought I would be friends with forever. It’s funny how that all works out. I woke up every day feeling empty. I didn’t leave the house. I barely showered. I would spend hours on indeed that only resulted in disappointment when I didn’t meet the job qualifications. I was lost in a sea of uncertainty. For the first time in my life, I had no end goal to work for and felt so utterly alone. I spend way too much time on social media, which only highlighted the successes of my friends. It made me feel like a complete failure. I became withdrawn from everything that I enjoyed. I had panic attacks from the stillness of what my life had become.
It put a heavy strain on my relationship. I relied too much on my boyfriend’s company. It felt like he was the only thing I had in my life and I clung on to him to just feel like I had a reason to live. It wasn’t healthy or fair to him. I forgot how to be an individual, which was something I struggled with my whole life. It felt like all the progress I made in over the past several years in my selfesteem and selfconfidence disappeared before I even noticed it was gone.
I was desperate to find work. I thought it would give me purpose and make me feel whole again. I took a job as a school aide. Again I settled for anything and I paid the price for it. I was absolutely miserable at that job and stayed longer than I should of. I had no passion for the job I was just going through the motions. I would feel anxious and stressed at work then go home and feel the same about having to go back. It was a tiresome and brutal cycle. I left that job feeling hopeless and doubting my life choices. I had 30,000 dollars in loans for degrees that I didn’t want to pursue anymore. It was frightening and discouraging feeling that I thought would last forever.
Today, I am in a much better place. I moved to a new town after my last job and it was like hitting the reset button. I am not perfect and I still have my days but I certainly have more better days than not. I am still trying to figure out a career and the right field for myself but I don’t beat myself up about it (as much). I spent little to no time on social media (one of the best decisions I’ve ever made), which allows me to do better things with my time. I have picked up yoga and meditation as hobbies. I have long term goals and I work toward them every day. My relationship is in the best place that it’s ever been in. It’s been almost two years since I graduated and I am grateful for these past two years. They have made me into a stronger person. I have walked through darkness and came out on the other side still breathing. I’ve grown significantly as a person. I have a broader perspective of the world and what’s important to me and what’s not anymore. I thought I knew what kind of life I wanted two years ago but the truth was I never really had a clue. In order to know what kind of life you want, you have to live it first.