When One Chapter Ends: Handling the Anxiety

This past week I finished graduate school. I presented my thesis and had the recognition ceremony. When I first went to graduate school, I had a tough time. I ended a treacherous relationship and moved to a new state with a roommate I didn’t know well. It was a strange time. I was lost and alone. The first semester was drowned in me being depressed and anxious. I often sat in the lunch room alone by choice. I didn’t see anyone on weekends. I didn’t connect with anyone. I felt out of place. Even though it was hard, I ended up learning a lot about myself and others. This time even helped me discover my area of interest. I appreciated my hard times.

The second year of graduate school I was living in Connecticut doing an internship. I had to go back this week because it was graduation week. Everyone in my class had to present and go to other’s presentations. It was weird being back. The view. The people. The buildings. The restaurants. They all reminded me of how out of place I felt there. It was so easy for my mind to go back to that time. I went back to questioning myself and shutting myself up instead of speaking. I went back to being surrounded by negativity and letting that seep into my body. I tried had to not let it into me, but by Thursday it consumed me. I presented Thursday morning and passed wonderfully. That night though, at a restaurant, I cried. I haven’t cried in public in a very long time. I was letting the negativity win. I was letting it take control. Someone reminded me that I didn’t need to let them decide my emotions. After that, I was able to handle myself better. I surrounded myself with people who were positive and nonjudgmental.

After the ceremony Friday, I left everyone behind. I no longer had a desire to say goodbye to anyone. To be sad that I was leaving and probably will not see most of them again. The people I care about there, I will, of course, keep in touch, but the pressure of living up to others dissipates a bit. Leaving without the sense of guilt felt like a satisfying closure.

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It was the end of a chapter. My graduate school part of my life is over. I’m proud of myself. I worked hard. I did a lot for myself. I grew and learned. I love where my life is now. I do wish I had some more things figured out. Knowing I’ll have a job soon would help with that. Knowing where I will live soon. So the sense of closure that I had when I left graduate school lessened a bit. I’m trying to live in the now. Enjoy my life when I have a chance to. I’m okay with not having full closure right now. I’m still on my journey. Just because a chapter has ended, I will continue to learn and grow from it. That’s okay.

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