You know it’s a funny, and a cruel thing to have hindsight. So many things you look back at and question, and judge what have you done. I was talking to a couple friends about this past year recently, and in particular the pictures from my graduation, my time in the Bahamas and when I first came to the UK. I thought to myself, ” Gosh you look good, nice hair, clear complexion, body looks fit.” Then I remember thinking back to those times and realized, wow I was not feeling so beautiful on the inside.
I remember my mom talking a lot about the pressures students face upon their university graduation, and I always thought it was a bit of BS if I am being quite honest. For me, my four years of university were never at one point “smooth”. I wanted to drop out one year, almost didn’t have the grades in another, but by the end of it I had done quite well, but I was ready to move on.
It started happening in February of last year, a few months before my graduation, and the intense amount of pressure and whatnot began to spring in my head. Now this was not the first time in my life I had experienced these thoughts. In high school was when they first made their appearance, since I hated high school and never really felt like I fit in. There was a summer a couple years back where I just didn’t feel great either, so this was the first time in almost two years I began to feel this pressure going on in my head. I think the most frustrating thing going on in a way is that at this point in my life I am able to recognize that hey I know this feeling, but for the feeling to end takes a lot of time.
For months I have thought of different ways to word have I felt with graduation and moving to the UK, but I still do not really know how to explain it. I felt I should be on top of the friggin world when I graduated. I mean isn’t this what I worked my ass off for, the past four years of university?! And not just that, but to put the icing on the cake I was about to live my childhood dream of moving to Scotland! Well I walked across the stage to get my degree, and it was my turn to talk to the chancellor ( A Canadian celebrity for those who know Peter Mansbridge!) and he asked me how do you feel, and then the tears came. I said to him, ” I’m so scared to move on.” There it was, even thinking about it now seems like if my life was a movie that this point would be the climax part of the film! He gave me a nice little talk to about how the past four years were gearing me up for what was to come next, I really can’t remember exactly what he said because I think I stunned myself more than anything. How could I be afraid to move on? But honestly I was, and I still am. Those four years at university truly were a safe environment; I feel like I always had this dream that after my four years at uni I would be out and ready to settle into the real world and I was so excited just dreaming about the places I would go to, and the things I would see…..I have seen a lot this past year don’t get me wrong, but the security and safety I was cocooned in is something people don’t realize they have until they’ve graduated and are on there own. I don’t think I knew how good I had it in those four years, I never had to worry about bills, what next big thing I should do…all I had to worry about was making sure my papers were written, tests were prepared for and that bottle of wine was put in the fridge.
The thing that confused me was just the fact I wasn’t walking off into the unknown, I have travelled and lived abroad before…I even had a job I was going to when I got to Scotland. Its an interesting feeling to leave a place that was such a rollercoaster ride, that at most times I thought I would never finish. I really felt broken after graduating, but also quite proud of myself. I just wanted to get my mind back in place, so I remember going to see a counsellor before graduating, but I only got to see her twice and found it a bit useless. I tried to be as open as I could about what was racing in my mind, but nothing really seemed to help.
Coming to the UK has been its own adventure. I can’t believe it has almost been a year since I graduated, better yet that I’ll be going to my brothers graduation in seven weeks time from now, and my one year reunion…. yikes! I seriously cannot get over how fast the time is going by.
I’m happy to say that I feel content with just being me, and the life I’m living right now. I know I still think a lot of what the hell am I going to do? But I just proved to myself that even when I felt so broken, it is possible to get yourself back together again. And perhaps you don’t always need to depend on yourself like I thought a year ago; I opened up to people who I didn’t even know a year ago.
I believe that it is perfectly normal not be ok all the time and that if you want to talk about it or not you should do what feels right to you. There is no magic that’ll just put away those thoughts or fears in just a day; it takes a time to feel comfortable with yourself and your life.
I’m happy I was able to take some time off during this past year and not always be working. Backpacking in September and spending a month and a half in Sweden in the winter were two of best things I think I could have done. They introduced me to some great people, and gave me a chance to take a sigh of relief and think, ” hey this life isn’t so bad after all.”
Cheers for now everyone, and hope that we can all be smiling on the inside and the outside 🙂