Content Warning: Anxiety Disorder, Situational Anxiety, Panic/Panic Attacks, Academic Stress, Job Stress
I have accomplished a lot so far: Student of the Month in 7th grade, landing the Dean’s List, and receiving a partial scholarship in college. I should feel proud of some of my accomplishments. I was so focused on my academics and trying to be the best–a perfectionist, at the end of the day. My family made me believe that academics was one of the most important things in my life. When I graduated from high school, I wanted to slow things down to try to figure out what I wanted to be. But I was thrown into the college bidding before high school started. I felt like I was given a lot of choices. Since I liked science, I decided to go for a biology degree, but there was an exam I needed to pass before I could attend the upper biology classes. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not pass the exam. I changed my major to journalism and criminal justice before finally settling on psychology.
So, when I graduated in psychology, the pandemic hit. I felt like I was misled in terms of the possibility of having graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology. It does not open many doors unless you have experience before entering the job force within psychology. You had to keep going to get a Master’s Degree. You had to keep studying. But the truth is when it came to psychology, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue pursuing the field. I wanted to take a moment and figure things out before deciding to further my studies, which I probably mentioned before. I had to keep moving. Student loans do not wait. I felt panic, pressure, and anxiety almost every day in the last two years. I call it situational anxiety. Often, I couldn’t breathe and had to walk outside, so I wouldn’t suffocate. It’s a nerve-wracking process trying to figure out your future.
Often, I go on a walk to work or breathe in oxygen for at least 5 minutes. I listen to music, talk to my mom, and read books, but most of the time, taking a walk always calms me down. Currently, I am waiting for a response from a nursing school program and working part-time. I am also looking for a plan B.
Life doesn’t wait. It’s fast-paced. But it’s okay to slow down and figure out what type of career you would like to pursue. One step at a time. It’s okay to try different things until you figure out what is best for you. Travel the world. Run your life at your own pace. Stop and smell the roses. Don’t be like me and wait until after four years of college to figure out where you stand in life. If I could go back in time and give my 18-year-old high school self this advice, I would. But no matter the situation, always make sure to take care of yourself physically and mentally.