It’s hard to stay positive when you feel like your whole life is falling apart.
Sounds a bit dramatic, I know, but recently I’ve felt like I’ve been having nothing short of a premature quarter-life crisis.
It’s that time of the year when students are starting to seriously consider their futures as graduate job deadlines loom over their heads. Journalism is still pretty new to me and I haven’t really thought about my career options since I aspired to be a veterinary surgeon in pre-school. Upon careful consideration I soon realised that this was probably not the best course of employment for someone who can’t stomach the sight of blood and faints when confronted with a needle.
I’m questioning the direction of my career, my relationship and my overall purpose in life. Gap year? I need a gap lifetime for the amount of soul-searching it’s going to take me to get out of this predicament.
I feel like I’m falling behind. Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, unfortunately, and everyone progresses through at their own pace. I shouldn’t compare myself but it’s very difficult not to do so when my Facebook newsfeed is full of engagement announcements, baby gender reveals, house warming parties and new job celebrations.
2020 marks five years since I walked out of the gates of MGGS for the last time. What have I achieved in five years?! Two universities, four part-time jobs, five homes, nine tattoos, ten hair colours and countless breakdowns later I still haven’t graduated from uni. I’m single, knees-deep in my overdraft and unemployed as of July. At the age of 22, my mum was living away from home with a one year old (me); fully self-sufficient and getting on with her life.
Am I a business woman? An entrepreneur? Do I want kids? Marriage? Cats?
Let’s be real, of course I want cats.
Unfortunately there aren’t any easy ways out of this crisis; my light at the end of the tunnel is currently being obscured by deadlines, job applications and coffee grounds. However there are a few things that I’ve been doing to help keep the crippling fear of becoming a real adult under control.
Not letting my degree define me
We go through university to wear a funny shaped hat and receive a piece of paper saying that we’ve been through hell and back.
Personally I hated my undergraduate degree of Digital Arts but I’ve always felt like my job should at least utilise what I’ve learnt. I feel a little stuck going down this path, I’m not particularly passionate about web design or animation and I despise coding. I can’t say that I’m too brilliant at it either.
At school I loved graphic design but now I couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting in front of Illustrator for hours on end. It’s also pretty hurtful having people constantly slate your creativity and telling you that you’ll never make it as a designer (thank you, York St John).
I’ve come to realise that my creative degree doesn’t have to mean that I go into a creative profession. With the added benefit of (hopefully) passing my NCTJ this year, I’ve somehow managed to expand my job prospects considerably. I love writing and logical thinking; problem solving is my forte and nothing makes me happier than being confronted with an Excel spreadsheet. Worst case scenario, Digital Arts is a safety net to fall back on in the future. It’s a skill I can easily go back to and work on and, who knows, maybe I’ll rediscover my passion for creativity later on in life.
I could launch a new course of learning, there are so many resources available online, or I could take a night class to learn a new skill. I could work on a hobby, although I don’t think knitting will get me too far in life, or reacquaint myself with the library and transport myself to another world.
Digital Arts won’t stop me from achieving something more, I haven’t got myself stuck just yet.
I may have fallen out of love with graphic design but I still enjoy creating some small pieces from time to time. I call this one: "Planty McPlant". Yes, seriously.
Having projects on the side
My student life has been pretty tedious recently. I go to uni and I work, with sleep sometimes incorporated in between, which is just as boring as it sounds. I’m constantly tired and grumpy but up until recently I had nothing to keep myself going. I felt unfulfilled and frustrated. I had no energy to go to the gym, which I once loved, and scrolling endlessly through Twitter looking at cat videos seemed like a bit of a waste of time.
Starting up my personal blog gave me my own space to channel my frustrations and unhappiness. It’s my own place to write about anything and no one can stop me. Some of the posts have been a little dark, but the feedback I’ve received from my them has been astounding. It’s not a physically demanding pastime and it’s something I can add to whenever I get the chance. It really does give me that little bit of extra motivation to get up in the morning.
Although my distaste for Illustrator is still valid, I do enjoy building upon my undergraduate portfolio from time to time. Looking up new tutorials on YouTube is helping me to expand my knowledge of the software and I genuinely believe that the new skills I have learnt recently will help me later on in my career
The combination of university and work makes time fly by, I can’t believe that we are already 16 days into the new year. Blogging and playing around with Adobe programs gives me a chance to grow outside of my education and I’ve found that it’s something that I really enjoy doing.
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Telling myself that this is normal
It’s hard to believe, but I’m not going to be stuck in limbo for the rest of my days. So many people go through this stage and, if I’m being honest, it’s a completely necessary part of life.
As children we are told what to do with our lives. From when to eat, brush our teeth or go to bed, we are constantly told what to do and we get rewarded for it when we do it correctly.
Where are my stickers now?!
Even through secondary school there was more of a rigid structure to my life. University threw that completely upside-down and I had to think for myself for once. Scary, I know.
I still find it difficult trying to figure out what I want from life. Hell, I still find it difficult finding a good bed time for myself. The anxiety of being fully in control of our own future is completely natural and it’s all a part of the growing process. We may feel like we are suffering from our uncertainties but this is how we get to find out who we are.
If I wanted to jump on a flight to the USA tomorrow and start a new life in Disney with Mickey Mouse no one would stop me. My bank account might, and so might my job, but the world is my oyster. I can do whatever I want to.
Nothing is permanent; life won’t be like this forever.
BRB just going to go and live a happy life in Disney. Can't stop me.