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Confessions of a grad student | The final stretches and what’s been up

(Emily Mibach)
(Emily Mibach)

I’m about to graduate from my master’s program in less than two months, and the anxiety has been all too real for me. Where do I even begin?

To start, this semester has been nothing but a blur to me. For the past few months, I checked out on school and life due to a death of a loved one. All I could  do was go to class on most days numb, then to my room to sleep it off or go to work. I was dealing with both major burnout and grief.

Now that I’m starting to get back into the swing of things, I’m starting to realize how much work I have to put in. Job searching and apartment hunting take so much time in my day that I’ve even set time in my calendar every week where I devote a moment to do so successfully.

At the same time, it feels like all the time that I’m putting in has not been the most fruitful. It seems like everyones lives are coming together much faster than mine. I’m seeing my peers already take job opportunities offered to them, or going back to school for different degreesHell, I’m even seeing friends getting married in the next year or two. It’s all making me wonder what I’m even doing with my life.

I’ve been in higher education for about six years, and all I want is a break for a year. It makes me wonder if I’m being lazy. I used to dream of jumping into a doctorate program as I was finishing up my master’s, and now it feels like all I want to do is just recuperate from six years of stress, anxiety, depression and a large dose of Impostor Syndrome.

As much as I want to see what’s out there in the world, I’m still scared of that. What if I fail? What if my plans don’t go smooth? My mom and friends have reiterated over and over that I have options, but I still have an immense fear of failure, especially because I’d truly be on my own. All my friends and family are in Southern California, and I left my hometown to start something new. Now I’m really questioning if that was even worth it.

There are so many “What if’s” popping up for me, even as I write this installment. However, the optimist in me still wants to try to make things work in the Bay Area after graduation.