The Calm Before the Storm
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It's September. You've got Fresher's Week to look forward to. Maybe you've moved into a new house. Graduation is months away! But it's good to get started early, so you'll start thinking about what you want to do in a few weeks. No harm in having a bit of down time first though.
The Seeds of Anxiety
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Fresher's week is over and you're well back into the Uni routine. You should probably start thinking about life after graduation, really. You saw something about graduate jobs on Facebook the other day and quickly scrolled past it out of anxiety. There's still ages until Uni ends though, you've got ages. You'll start looking into things after you've got this piece of coursework out the way. Definitely.
The First Stage of Graduation Grief: Denial
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All humans have a built-in coping mechanism for dealing with stress, and you're no exception. You'll start denying that there's even any issue. Graduation is months away! You'll fall into something, how hard can it be? None of your mates have applied for stuff either! (Although you haven't asked them)
Just bottle up your crippling existential dread and push it out of your mind. There's plenty of time.
I'm Dreaming of an Anxiety-Ridden Christmas
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Ok, this is getting ridiculous. You said you'd start thinking about next year soon back in Fresher's Week, and all of a sudden the Coke advert is on TV and you haven't made any progress.
But hey, look on the bright side. You've got a couple of weeks of free time to sit down, concentrate, and have a serious think about your future. New year, new you and all that.
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What's wrong with you? It's September all over again you idiot! You had the whole of Christmas to look into postgrad stuff and you spent the time eating chocolate and sleeping.
The sense of possibility and ambition you had on New Year's day is now long gone. And there's the inevitable January exams to look forward to, so you're too busy to start looking now. You're starting to wish you drank more on New Year to punish your body for playing host to such a lazy person.
Dipping Your Toes In The Water
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Ok. This nonsense has gone on for 6 months. Time to actually sit down and do this thing. That's easier said than done though.
Even thinking about this time next year fills you with dread, so after every application and email, you shut your laptop and run away like you're 14 and you've just texted a crush.
But at least this is a start, right? Better late than never, even if it's half a year late.
The Waiting Game
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How odd. You've actually done what you've been meaning to do for months, and you don't feel any different. Ah, that's because of the fear of rejection!
The years of your biggest issue being a set of coursework results are over. Waiting for your grad applications coming back actually means something, and it's hard to feel relaxed about knocking something off your to-do list when you've got them hanging over your head.
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Well done. Someone must have made a mistake somewhere and you've been given the offer of gainful employment that you get paid money for. Like a real person.
Congratulations! Get ready to start blowing your first paycheck before you've even got it, and dropping the fact that you've got a job into every conversation you have for the next few months.
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The upward trajectory of Step 6 just didn't really happen to you. That makes things a bit more difficult. But it's not the end of the world.
Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Uni, at least you've actually finished. If anything, you're going to be more successful than him.
But still, you're not over the hill yet. The next few months may suck, but with a bit of work you'll find something you love. Possibly.