The transition out of undergrad has been very hard. This is going to be a long, feelings-heavy post.
I’m at home right now because I told my immediate supervisor I needed to take a personal day today. A friend of mine from my volunteer job passed away from cancer on Sunday. I hadn’t seen him in a few months, but he made a huge impact on my life a couple of years ago, and it hurts knowing I didn’t see him one more time before he passed. I also tripped and fell while at the office yesterday and hurt my leg pretty bad, I’m black and blue from the shin down. Nothing is broken, but I’m swollen and aching. Yesterday, my commute took three hours because there was a gas spill on the highway. Once I arrived, one of the doctors got angry with me over something completely arbitrary and said that all of the merchandising and reorganizing I did last week looked bad. I ugly cried in my office and told my supervisor that I needed this day to collect myself.
I graduated from college roughly a month and a half ago, and I think I’m running a bunch of tapes in my head about how I “should” be and feel about it. I should feel happier, I should be headlong into my post-grad job search, I should be focusing on getting grad school application materials together, I should be trying to lose the 25 lbs I gained while in school, I should be doing my GRE prep. While I’m also currently working 50 hours a week to barely be able to pay my bills. Should, should, should.
ESPECIALLY should be doing all of this because I’m turning 30 at the end of this week, and the asshole voice in the back of my mind that is hellbent on me feeling bad about myself is saying that I’m running out of time, and someone younger and smarter and prettier and thinner and more developed and less beaten down is going to swoop in and take the spots I want... unless I browbeat myself into getting it right now. Which, in turn, has the opposite of the desired effect- I feel more discouraged and less like I’m capable of any of it.
I’m not doing or feeling any of that stuff I mentioned above. To be honest, getting out of bed and going to my current job has taken just about all the energy I have. My closest friends are all still in school, and we see each other about once a month. I’m closer to an extrovert than I admit to myself a lot of the time, so my energy is probably a lot lower because I don’t have as much social contact. I have a hard time not isolating myself when I’m in a bad place or struggling with depression, because it’s that old thing of not wanting to burden anyone or feeling like a sad sack when I’m out and about, and wishing that I could be at home with my pet (even though deep down so much alone time makes me feel worse).
I get along pretty well with my immediate coworkers, but my job, as a whole, is draining and toxic. I work for a small doctor’s office doing sales and insurance stuff. It’s the same kind of work I was doing at age 20, and basically for similar pay from that time period too. What makes it toxic is that the practice is owned by two other doctors who rarely come to our building, but their names are on the outside and their dad’s money funds it. They tell us to run self-sufficiently (myself, my immediate supervisor, our receptionist, and the doctor they hired full time to practice out of our location), yet try to micromanage us from a distance through things they hear through the grapevine and gossip that’s spread about us by the staff of the other office, where they (the doctors who own the place) work full time. They’re all at once passive aggressive, chaotic, condescending, and completely avoidant of confrontation and frank conversations about what’s working and not working. To be honest, I don’t even know what started this Jets vs. Sharks thing between us and the other location, and I don’t really care. There’s not a single thing I could even point to that might explain it other than immaturity and boredom. It’s been maintained and enabled by lack of communication and poor boundaries, because the “office manager” they’ve installed does nothing to intervene or handle staff issues or communication between us. If anything, she stirs it up more and gets invested in the drama. It’s the type of thing I’d love to ignore completely, but my indifference gets twisted around into “I’m not a team player” or whatever else, and the doctors eat it up.
I’ve done some stuff to push me in a better direction. I auditioned for a women’s chorus in my city and made it. We rehearse once a week, so I hope I can make some connections there. I’m just now realizing how lonely I’ve become since school wrapped up. I think a lot of how I’m feeling has to do with the fact that I felt so in my element while I was in university. I loved what I was doing and got tons of encouraging feedback from my mentor professors about what I saw as my direction...I want to work in mental health or social services, and several of my teachers remarked that I had a huge amount of promise as a clinician, social worker, or counselor. One of them encouraged me to go after my PhD. I want to tap into that momentum again. Like, I know that’s who I really am, underneath the depression and self-doubt, or whatever my current bosses say. I’m just overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I know there’s stuff like meetup.com, networking groups so I can meet people and make personal and professional connections. I feel like I have to focus on baby steps to get going.
I see my therapist tomorrow for the first time since school wrapped, thank god, and plan on getting back on a bi-weekly schedule with her. I had my medication adjusted back in december, so hopefully I’m hitting that eight week mark where I will get full efficacy soon. I have noticed a difference, because I’m still up and going to work essentially every day instead of calling in repeatedly.
TL,DR: I’m overwhelmed, confused and unhappy post-college graduation, and I’m anxious for things to get better, but I don’t know where to start, and I’m trying to crawl out of a depressive episode on top of it.
I’ve had some people tell me that these feelings are really common post-graduation. Was this the case for any GTers?