With high expectations comes great disappointments.
I promised never to move back to Cornwall after graduating University. I never doubted leaving without a 2:1 and I was hopeful to be one grand out of my overdraft.
Life unfortunately doesn’t workout how we’d like it to.
After repeating my first year; falling mentally ill in my second, and finally feeling my targets were achievable by the third, just like that my uni experience came to an end.
FInally I was putting on the long gown, fighting the stupid tassels out of my face and having the most miserable day of my life.
And although I had imagined this day to be one of the happiest of my lives, I felt nothing but disappointment. It was all just one big panic attack!
I walked blindly up on stage- thinking about nothing but getting to the other side.
I had the privilege of shaking Jeremy Irons hand- and ran away before he had a chance to congratulate me.
And then I clung onto my 9K piece of paper, with only one question on my mind.
Has anyone ever said, “Don’t go to university unless you’re 100% sure?” My College lecturer did. Time and time again.
Everybody goes to University for their own reasons.
Most people go because they are focused on their careers.
My reason was based on the fact it seemed to be the thing you did, when you didn’t know what else to do after college. It didn’t matter much what course I was choosing, as long as I was accepted. I was desperate to escape Cornwall and Uni was my safest bet.
I thought going to Uni would help me decide what kind of career I wanted;
it didn’t. I’m still as clueless as I was in College.
Applying for jobs is a nightmare when my hearts only half in it, and every role on offer requires a minimum of one years work experience…
Funnily enough I don’t have that because I’ve just spent the last four years in Uni getting a degree!!
Tip: If you’re reading this and thinking about going to Uni I strongly advise doing a work placement in your second year. It will benefit you so much!
Two months after Graduating I was financially being forced to move back home, stripped from my social life and back to my old, full-time, hospitality job.
The spotlight was on me. Everyone at work asking what my plans were, what I was going to do with my degree; if I was staying on after the summer season had finished.
I DIDN’T KNOW!
“Waste of money if you ask me” – alright Bruce I didn’t ask, but thanks for pitching in and being so concerned about MY life.
The comments were constant.
So constant that I started questioning myself in my sleep.
I had gone to Uni to never have to go back to Cornwall, but now here I was.
It didn’t take long for me to feel like a stranger in my own skin; forcing smiles and faking my happiness to friends.
The same unrecognisable girl I’d fought off two-years ago, was back, staring blankly in the mirror’s reflection, looking deeply for some kind of meaning to her life.
When I finally opened up to my mum about how I was feeling, she pushed me to see the Doctor…. Again!
Compared to the last visit, this time I was emotionless- dead inside and questioning the point of my existence. Figuring out how much it’d matter if I wasn’t here, but failing to acknowledge that those thoughts were kinda f**kd up!
Unlike the other doctor who’d treated me, and wanted to understand my feelings, this doctor wanted to know about my life:
Was I seeing my friends? No. My only two friends I’d stayed in touch with at home both had full-time jobs and boyfriends to juggle.
Was I single? Yes.
Was I exercising? No.
What was I doing for fun? …Sleeping?
Hearing myself aloud told me what I already knew.
My life was boring and pointless.
I was in a deadlock grip of depression, but I was negligent to fighting out of it this time.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see my friends. I couldn’t. They were busy, or lived five hours away. It’s not that I hadn’t thought about exercising. I didn’t have the energy to do it. And it’s not that I enjoyed sleeping all day everyday. I had found nothing to motivate me from getting up from under the duvet accept for work.
The Doctor took a deep breath.
“It’s understandable why you feel this way. You’ve gone through a drastic change in your life. You felt like you had a fulfilling role back in Bath, and now you’re home you have no purpose. You just need to find it again. I’ll put you back onto sertraline and we’ll see how you get on in two weeks.”
I left the Doctors suddenly feeling ready to make a change. Hearing something you already know deep down from a stranger is the kick you sometimes need.
Suddenly, I was pumped with positivity, and the placebo effect of starting back onto antidepressants.
“It’s time to grow up now Beth,” I’d said to myself walking back home.
“It’s time to start seeing your life in the bigger picture. Remember why you’ve come home. Remember it’s not forever.”
I became my own agony aunt, adamant to do better and to focus all my attention on fixing myself, instead of the things I couldn’t.
– And yes I do speak to myself but I’m not crazy ok!
“When you get in you’re quitting your job because it makes you feel like shit. You’re gonna look for another one, do a workout, and make a nice meal for yourself.
-I didn’t do a work out when I got home.
Going to the doctors had been a big step for me. The energy I’d had from the walk home got lost under the sheets I slidded back into.
I compromised by applying for other jobs in bed; making a lovely dinner in the evening, and promising myself that I was going to workout the following day.
Suddenly I learnt not to be so hard on myself- to not push myself into doing too much too soon. A footballer that’s been out of the season with a broken leg can’t just expect to play a match, the day after his cast has been removed.
Recovery is a long process, both physical and emotional; we need to remember that!!
Whilst I disagree with taking antidepressants, it has helped with my mood and pushed me into keeping active; out of bed, and away from social media.
Slowly I began to realise half the issue wasn’t just the self-critical sense of failure, but the constant comparison of myself to other graduates. My feed for the last month had been clogged of everyone posting pictures of themselves- showing off their first degree and 2:1’s.
I was happy for all of them, but I was upset with myself. I hadn’t achieved what I’d wanted and I didn’t feel proud enough to publicise it.
Additionally, lying in bed day all day watching friends and other graduates getting jobs; preparing to start their masters, packing up to travel, or living their best lives back at home made me feel like I was being left behind.
I began reaching out to my Uni friends, and I started to feel less alone.
As it turns out my friends weren’t as content as their social media’s had suggested- I shouldn’t have been so surprised.
They were as lost in their new lives, and as anxious of their futures, as I was.
Speaking and comparing the stress of our new transitions made me more adamanent to get the F**k out of my hibernation hole.
Go at your own pace.
At this age everybody has different goals and aspirations.
Some people knew what they wanted before they went to Uni- I didn’t.
Some people may be super keen to settle into a job; live in the working capitol or save to get a mortgage- I don’t- not yet at least.
I’m only twenty-two- It’s okay not to know just because other do.
We need to stop putting pressure on ourselves to figuring it out- If we settle into something we’re not 100% set on, we might never get out of it until we’re fifty; looking back with regret.
I’m now focusing my time on developing myself; learning to drive and saving to travel- something I’ve always wanted to do!
Since I’ve got nothing holding me back, this is as good as anytime.
If I’m going to be working for the rest of my life why start now?
Instead of fearing I won’t achieve I need to begin trying; living my life, and let it all gradually fix into place.
What will be, will be, as long as I’m trying and remaining positive.
“With patience one can achieve what force never will.”
-Clyde Lee Dennis.
Side note: After re-evaluating my scrolling was making me so depressed I unfollowed half the people off of social media; kept only close friends, funny pages or quotes that help me stay self-motivated!
It’s made such a difference!!