The term ‘emotional roller coaster’ is often a little taboo. Whilst it has always held resonance in my life – yes, I’m one of those girls that enjoys highs and lows and not much in the middle – I can understand why others see it as a little melodramatic. However, never has it epitomised a time in my life more than it has recently, as I try to come to terms with grieving the loss of my university years. On the one hand, the excitement of exam freedom and the future is overwhelming. On the other, dealing with so many goodbyes leaves me a little emotionally unstable. I know I am not alone in this.
So, how do we deal with the paradox of unbearable excitement for the future mixed with a desperation to cling to friends, memories and a lifestyle framed by education? Well, true to its rollercoaster nature, we need to deal with the ups and downs; the dips and turns. Here are a few suggestions of how to cope with bittersweet life after university.
Growing up v. Embracing our inner child:
Yes, we need to grow up. No, we do not need to dedicate all our time to constant job-hunting! Launch head-first into those nostalgic moments when you stumble upon an epic play park or toy shop, but embrace those evenings with a glass of wine that only grown-ups can appreciate. Maintaining a balance between immaturity and maturity keeps us in touch with the child we feel we truly are.
Impulsiveness v. Planning:
Yes, budgets now have to exist in the absence of that glorious student loan. No, not every penny has to go to bills. Be it spending money, deciding on food or planning out your life, the roller coaster that is making decisions for the near and distant future has never been so hairy. Be impulsive once you’ve done a bit of planning ahead – if you feel like you’ve lost the balance challenge yourself and you’ll feel human again!
New v. Old:
Yes, people are leaving you. No, you are not going to lose touch with absolutely everyone. The loyal friends that really matter will stick around so don’t feel guilty when, at times, you have more space in your life for meeting new people than keeping in touch with university mates. However, don’t let the contact dwindle too much, or it really will feel like the roller coaster is disappearing off into the horizon, leaving people behind.
The whole point of a rollercoaster is enjoying the ride. Now is the time to buckle-up and embrace every undulation life has to offer, it may send chills through your stomach but finishing university should still be exciting.