I came home for the weekend, usually a rarity, but for now, a necessity. For some reason, junior year has evoked some intense anxiety from within. I am not sure why, or where it comes from, or even when it hits, but when it comes it scares me. Most of the anxiety comes when I am uncomfortable, unprepared, or stressed, mostly a combination of everything. Many times, I feel my throat tighten, my eyes hold back tears, and my mouth close, holding back the scream that I want to let out, hoping that by screaming it will solve something, give me answers. I think my anxiety comes from not knowing answers, not having a set thing for what is going to happen, given whatever situation it is in.
Being a junior requires a lot of pressure, from all sorts of areas. Many of us come to realize who our true friends are, or aren’t, many of us can start going to the bars, discovering a whole new world of meeting boys, and friends, but mainly boys. I understated it’s a time in our lives when we really do change a lot. I am not sure if it is because of some of my crazy life experiences, but mentally, I feel ahead of the game, I feel that I kind of am figuring things out, but in an okay way. I am not dead set on anything, but I am in the perfect position to be welcomed to anything new. A good GPA, a good resume, gaining experience. But there is SO MUCH PRESSURE to have a definition (nevermind that for every other circumstance), but a definition of what we are going to be, what our goal is that we are working for. And at this point, I just don’t know. AT ALL.
My mom said to me tonight, “gee Kim, you are kinda screwed after college, your major doesn’t set you up for anything like you cant even be a temp accountant or marketing, I mean, you know about neuroscience but it doesn’t set you up for anything”. As discouraging as that is, it is true! I really am screwed. I think that when I think of life in the big picture like that, it freaks me out. It makes me worry, over analyze like… what WILL I be doing a year from now when I am graduated?
The past few months I have to make some pretty big decisions; if I should do research for the summer or go abroad; if I should waste time studying for med school; If i should nanny on the boat to make money or have unpaid internships. All of these decisions are scary because if I chose the wrong one it could impact my future so much! Looking back, nothing impacts your future unless you let it. Unless you make the decision to make that change. What I have learned is that through patience, through waiting, and through thoughtful decision making, everything of those decisions (As to what I will be doing this summer) have fallen into place. And despite my anxiety over the situation, my endless hours of planning, it did work out. I now am doing a bit abroad, nannying AND have two internships. See, it all worked out?
My current dilemma has to do with a teacher not emailing me back; first about a paper, then about my honors project. I have decided NOT to do my honors project with the professor whom I have worked for forever, and now am kind of stranded. I need to have someone by May and it is rare to find anyone now. It is scary, I could be stranded and for a couple days I was FREAKED out. But then I remembered how everything for the summer worked out, as soon as I relaxed and as soon as I made a thoughtful decision, looking at the big picture, it all fit. So yes, I wasted a week worrying about why this professor hasn’t emailed me back, too scared to talk to him in person, yet I have waited, and now come this week, I can easily approach him with an open mind about the situation.
I guess what this comes down to is that my moms comment didn’t bother me, but it also showed me that I can’t think like that. If I thought like that then I would never get anywhere in the now, because I would be too busy worrying about the future. Yes I am screwed being a neuroscience major, but if I focus my abilities on what I am interested in, in this moment, just as my summer plans regarding internships/research/nannying fell in to place, I presume that my honors project will also, and same thing with after college.
I can’t even make a decision about what I am going to cook for dinner, or who I am going to go out with on any given night. That is probably so because I do not give myself enough time to come to a full decisions. If I were to give myself enough time to carefully think everything through (such as making a pro/con list with Jill and Gwynn the other night about if we should rent a movie or go see one), then perhaps I wouldn’t gather up so much anxiety.
It’s not justifiable enough to say to myself, “it will work out, don’t worry! everything happens for a reason”. Okay, yes I believe this, to the heart. BUT when I get anxiety, this won’t stop my throat from tightening up. I need to take three deep breaths, relax, and focus my abilities on what in that moment I am trying to decide. It is only that that matters. It is only that which will make a difference.
Being a junior is a weird time, we aren’t old enough to apply to jobs or grad school, but we are older than the naive freshman and sophomores. Most of us are in the 700 level classes that are super interesting and intriguing, inspiring us to do more with our lives than sit and watch 6 episodes of nip/tuck every day. But we don’t know what that next step is. My advice, dont freak, dont let yourself get to the point of anxiety. This is the time in our lives to experiment, try all sorts of new things and see what we like and don’t like. There’s no other time when we can make mistakes or sign up for the wrong job, and have it be okay. For us to do something and not like it. Just be honest with what you want right now and what is making you happy.