I graduate nine days from the day I'm sitting down to write this article, which is terrifying in and of itself. I don't feel like an adult with a degree who's ready to go out into the world and get a big girl job. But I also feel an overwhelming sense of joy at having a whole year where I don't have to write any papers.
But now that I'm not writing papers anymore, what am I going to do with myself?
I've always been the type of person to keep as busy as humanly possible. I don't like to sit down and be alone with my thoughts— once I get going, I tend to spiral into an anxiety attack or a depressive episode where I binge three shows on Netflix and don't shower for a week, which, to be honest, is just gross. I try to avoid periods like that, for good reason.
Up until now, I've always done so by piling on a heavy workload. I've worked anywhere from one to four jobs at a time, on top of going to school full time— usually taking at least 16 credits, but sometimes 20 at a time. I took on an honors thesis that took up the bulk of my thought process for almost a year and a half. I write articles whenever I have a spare minute— and I help my team write theirs, as their editor.
But now that I'm graduating, I'm finding that I have a significant chunk of free time on my hands. I've dropped back down to two jobs— one of them being this— and don't have any homework for the foreseeable future. And I've been bored.
Don't get me wrong, I finally have free time to read, clean my room, do arts and crafts, write that novel I've been working on for four years... but I have so much free time that I don't know what to do with it. I find myself getting overwhelmed by the idea that I don't have anything I need to do— until, eventually, I realize I've been scrolling through social media for the past three hours and my day is over.
At the beginning of 2018, I made it a goal to slow down. Now it feels as if I'm being forced to, and I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I'm happy to have time to relax and mindlessly scroll through memes for a whole day, but I feel unfulfilled. I feel like I'm wasting my life away. I feel like I should be doing something.
But the thing is, I don't know what I like anymore. When I was in high school, before I started working, I had a ton of hobbies. Now, I'm faced with the realization that everything I used to like bores me— and I don't know how to cope with that. I've spent so much time the past four years— at least— working myself half to death that I've forgotten who I am outside of work.
And, quite frankly, that pisses me off.
So, I'm making a Post-Grad Resolution. (Is that a thing? I'm making it a thing.) My life after graduation will be full of soul-searching, arts and crafts, reading for fun, and trying to figure out what I like. I will not allow myself to hide away for a week watching Netflix and avoiding showers. I will force myself to go out, try new things— even if it's on my own— and figure out who I am before I decide to go back to school for my next degree.
If there's anything these past four years have taught me, it's that I need to put myself first. It's time I start to follow that advice.