Something's a Little Fishy

Well, it really has been a long time. How are we all doing? Of course, I realise that I will not be getting any answers, but I hope we are all doing well.

I would like to say that I have been away doing incredible things. Perhaps, a spot of travelling or embarking on the next chapter after university. Neither of those are true. In reality, it feels like I have fallen from grace.

I realise I have unusually high standards so, perhaps, my definition of ‘fallen from grace’ is greatly skewed. Regardless, I find myself in a vastly different position than I had expected to be in.

I graduated from university almost a year ago. Time has flown by incredibly fast, yet it has felt like the longest year of my life. Social media has made it a commonplace belief that we all go on to lead accomplished, successful lives. We are made accustomed to the notion that this path is easy and simple.

However, we don’t talk about the harsh realities, the messiness of just being thrust into the big bad world. You have to learn to fend for yourself. The world is your oyster, but oysters difficult to pry it open.

It inculcates the notion that the opportunities are boundless if one simply tries hard to uncover the gem within. The world, with its endless choices, is ours to take – if we have the courage to grab it with both hands.

I take the rather pessimistic approach. In principle, it is great advice. Why shouldn’t we be able to achieve our ambitions? There is nothing that could possibly stand in the way. It seems a rather rose-tinted approach.

As I mentioned earlier, I graduated last summer. I’m yet to formally graduate, but as Student Finance continues to remind me, I am no longer in education and ready to pay back my mountain of debt. I have achieved much more than I thought I was capable of.

You are looking at a graduate with a first-class degree. I often hide that fact from those that ask me about my degree. I told very few people when I found out. My parents spread the word and it caught like wildfire. It should have been something I boasted about, but I could never bring myself to actually do it.

The world really was my oyster. But with each passing month, I found myself losing a little sight of myself. It is quite heart-breaking to admit that. You are never really warned of this part of the experience.

Funnily enough, I remember writing something identical only a couple of months following the end of my degree last summer. At the time, my final results were not even confirmed yet and I was already panic-stricken about my next move. It doesn’t help that you always find yourself bombarded with a slew of question about precisely this next move from those around you.

The fact of the matter was that I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I didn’t know what I would be good at. That terrified me – it still does if I think about it too hard. For the better part of three years at university, I planned every second. I planned every assignment to death.

I knew what I had wanted. I really was not going to let anything stand in the way of that, not even myself. I was not going to let the doubt, anxiety and low self-esteem ruin this big chance for me. It nearly did on several occasions, but I pulled through. I had finally found a place where I could truly shine.

I poured so much into my degree that I don’t think I left enough for what comes after. I know I have the potential, but the doubt speaks louder now. It is not so easy to ignore and pull through. Naively, I thought I would have no problem in this next chapter. I was aware that it would not be plain sailing, but I thought that it would not be long until I found something I was good at again.

But I am without direction. I don’t know what I want. Perhaps, I do but I just don’t know how to get it. I have tried to figure it out and I do what I can to inch that bit closer to the final goal. But it is a slow and arduous process, and I think I have hit a snag.

I think the saddest part of all of this is that I have been so unkind to myself in the process. My anxiety has reached new and unprecedented levels. It has found outlet in many physical symptoms, many of which have been distressing to deal with. It has meant a lot of heartache, obsessing, crying – you name it, I have done it.

I don’t think I realised the importance of a stimulant until I did not have one anymore. There cannot be room for residual worry when you are contending with multiple essays and assignments simultaneously. I have not been myself for a while and I honestly don’t know how to get back to the person I was before I decided to wreak havoc on myself.

I have been trying though. There is no absence of effort or trying. I am trying to better myself, my health. it just seems that, along the way, I lost a little sense of purpose. That is the hardest to rediscover.

We all know that the world was upended and plunged into chaos a few years ago. We are still trying to regain that sense of normality again. It has felt harder for me to return to my ‘normal’. I am caught between two difficult stages of transition. It means stability is thrown out the window and change is inevitable.

I remember, when I was at school, I used to have yearly transitional meetings. These would be to discuss how the current academic year had passed and what could be improved for the following year. I had these meetings to ease the transition between each academic year, to make it easier to cope with the changing demand of the new school year.

I used to hate those meetings, but they were a comfort. It was comforting to know that I would be guided through a difficult period. I have not always done too well with change and transition. I have coped with them as well as I could, but the idea has never been stomached well.

What has the last few years brought with it if not drastic change? Not just for me, but for everyone. There is no gentle handholding now though. You are mostly left to your own devices. The adjustment has been a struggle to say the least. But I must keep on swimming. I have got to getting cracking on the tough oyster.

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