… What Now? The Post-Degree Blues

accomplishment ceremony education graduation
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Originally published September 14th, 2017

Afternoon, all! I hope you’re all having a pleasant week, despite the utterly horrific weather. I had that watershed moment this week where the heating came on in my house. THE HEATING. It’s official: autumn is here, and has apparently decided that we should all drown in torrential downpours.

But enough about the weather. This week, I’ve been suffering from that well-documented phenomenon: the post-degree blues. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still utterly ecstatic to be free of studying forever! I won’t miss slogging through thousand-word assignments, trawling the library for books that turn out to be irrelevant, and trying to motivate myself to write essays about topics I couldn’t give a crap about. But after you finish a project as big as a Master’s thesis, there’s a bit of a void left in your life. You feel like you should still be studying: doing anything else is just weird.

On the day I submitted my thesis, I felt so lost and purposeless that I cleaned my ENTIRE HOUSE. This was at a time when I should have been treating myself, or at least relaxing, having spent the previous six weeks researching and writing constantly. But no. My brain was still in ‘work’ mode, and there was nothing I could bloody well do about it.

I doesn’t stop there, though. Maybe it’s just because I have an anxiety-ridden brain, but for me, finishing university seems to have been the trigger for a minor existential crisis. What am I going to do now? What if nobody ever wants to hire me again?! What if I waste my life away, and die alone at the age of 89 surrounded by cats? What if the cats eat my corpse?!?!?! Okay, maybe that got a bit extreme. But still.

While finishing study is liberating, it’s also terrifying. You have the freedom to do pretty much whatever you want, but selecting your particular path isn’t always that easy. In fact, having ALL OF THE OPTIONS can be pretty overwhelming. It’s definitely been stressing me out over the last week, but I think I might have finally worked out what it is I want to do with my life. I’m going to be a freelance mental health writer and blogger, no matter what it takes. Next comes actually putting that plan into action- easier said than done! Although I do actually have a professional website/blog now: if anyone wants to confirm to me that it’s not shit, that would be much appreciated!

The thing is, while I have lots of exciting plans for my future career, and know the basic first steps I need to take to enact them, I’m pretty bloody scared. I’m scared that people will laugh at me or pity me because they think being a mental health writer is a stupid idea and that I’ll never achieve my goals. I’m worried that I won’t actually achieve them, because I’m a shit writer. I’m terrified of failure, and even more terrified that I’ll be successful and won’t be able to deal with the workload. I’m scared that my website is awful, that everyone is judging me, and that I’m the lamest, most pathetic human in the world right now. I know that this is probably just my anxiety talking (it’s been a little bitch this week for sure), but the obsessive worry is still there, and unfortunately, my brain doesn’t have an off switch. Like, the other day, I convinced myself that my cat was dead because she went out of my sight in the garden for about half an hour. That does not mean the cat is dead. That means the cat is being a cat. But try telling my brain that! Even the smallest things feel like disasters at the moment- my writing career included.

I’m still working on trying to get out of the trap of the post-degree blues (or ‘extreme panic’, in my case). Tonight, I’m going to have a Treat Yo Self evening: I need a bubble bath, my book, and a whole lot of biscuits. I’m going to try and challenge my panicked/worrisome thoughts, although it’s proving hard so far. I’ll keep trying, though! I’ve got to get rid of this idea in my head that I’m awful/ talent-less/ that nobody likes me. I’m going to take all of my career plans fairly slowly, so that I don’t get overwhelmed. There’s no rush: I’m only 22, even if I act like a grandma sometimes (I can’t help it, Midsomer Murders is just SO GOOD)! I’ll keep taking baby steps until I achieve my goals. And finally, I’ll keep on talking about how I’m feeling, because that honestly helps so much. If you’re ever feeling down or worried or even just a bit meh, sharing your troubles with someone close to you (or even with a bunch of strangers on the Internet) can really help, and make you feel a bit less alone. I certainly feel better for writing this (but also a bit sad, because I didn’t realise just how iffy I’ve been feeling until I put it all down in words. But hey, onwards and upwards now!).

So yeah. That’s what’s going on in my life – and brain – this week. Times be a’changing, and that’s pretty scary, but also exciting! If only my anxiety could realise that, eh? I’ll get there. I hope you, dear reader, are doing okay. And if you’re not- you’re not alone. We’ll all get through our troubles. WE’VE GOT THIS!

2 thoughts on “… What Now? The Post-Degree Blues

  1. I enter my last year of university next year and am so scared of what life will be like after it! I’m so excited to not be stressed but also so scared of the unknown! Just got to go where life takes us. x

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