That sentence still brings tears to my eyes. It’s been almost a month since I walked across that stage and received degrees in Mathematics and Economics. Those degrees are currently sitting on the file cabinet by my desk. I haven’t framed them yet because sometimes I still need to open the covers and run my fingers over the parchment to make sure they’re real.
The whole graduation memory is a blur. For four years it felt like a moment that would never come. Now it feels like a moment that was gone too soon.
My painting professor said that graduation would be a moment of incredible happiness followed by an incredible sadness. He was quite correct. I find that I’m already missing my university life. Everything from the excitement of planning classes and buying school supplies to the stress of midterms and papers.
What I really miss the feeling of belonging…the feeling of purpose. I’ve been a professional student for almost a third of my life. Now that chapter is over. It feels like I’ve lost my identity. Now I’m just sorta here, trying to figure out what to do.
My fixed income has been slashed nearly in half which has piled on the stress. I’ve been applying for jobs every day. I made it part of my morning routine to check the job postings every day and apply to at least three that I may be qualified for. One of my greatest fears right now is that I’ll be a 31 year old single mother with five college degrees working at a fast food place to make ends meet.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
I thought when I got a car that everything would be okay. I’d be able to get a job and things would work out. Having a car did help out immensely but it also came with so much added expense to worry about.
Then I thought that once I graduated everything would be okay. I’d be able to get a job and things would work out. So far that hasn’t panned out either. Despite good degrees from a great school, I’m still falling victim to a sluggish economy that’s filled with more qualified competition. None of this is really a surprise. My term paper for my labor economics class predicted this scenario. I can hear it saying “I told you so” from the stack of discarded term papers on my desk.
In all this I’m trying hard to stay positive. I’m trying to remember what I learned in therapy. Very little of this is within my control, and it does me no good to dwell on things I can do nothing about. Most of all I’m trying to avoid downtime and all the things that trigger my free falls into depression and self destructive behaviours.
For now I’m focused on staying healthy, paying bills and applying for jobs.
Everything else is just noise.