Updated: Aug 6
Like many others, I went into my senior year of college with a clear path as to where I thought I’d be post-graduation. However, the world had other ideas. I am one of the many graduates who had the “pleasure” of graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finishing my degree online sounded like a great idea; getting to sit around and finish school work in the comfort of my own home?! However, I quickly realized this was not how I wanted to finish college. I was paying thousands of dollars, yet teaching myself material that I could have Googled for free. The expectations I had envisioned for my immediate future ceased to exist.
On top of all of this, I am one of the 40 million adults in America who has anxiety. My anxiety is spiked during times of unexpected and uncontrollable stress. This [COVID] situation sent me into a roller coaster of emotions. I started to turn inward and avoid all of my priorities. My school work became the last of my worries and any thought of the future would send me into an immediate panic attack. I have always prided myself as someone who has control of their emotions and knows when they are triggered. But, I had to step back and realize I was well over my head and drowning in my own anxiety -- I had to ask for help.
"Looking back...I wish I would have been brave enough to make that call to my therapist."
The thought of having to return to therapy made me feel as if I had somehow failed. I didn’t want to admit that I had no idea how to handle this unexpected change alone. I thought being a 23-year-old adult now, I have to do this on my own. Once I took that step back and expressed my uncertainties, I found my feelings were being felt in similar ways by everyone. I started by talking to my closest friends and my significant other. Initially opening up about my anxiety surrounding my future seemed to make it worse and I wanted to retreat back into myself. It wasn’t until my best friend sat me down and explained that we were in this together and my future may seem clouded to me, but she could see the brightness at the end of my anxiety tunnel.
"...though I’m considered an “adult” it’s okay to ask for help."
I began to accept that the future was coming faster than I expected and in ways I could never have imagined. Rediscovering my support system helped me come to terms with the uncertainty of my future, helping me feel more in control of my reactions to unexpected changes. Looking back at the situation I wish I would have been brave enough to make that call to my therapist. He could have helped me through my struggles with more grace and compassion for myself and added an unbiased support system. I discovered that we are all going through uncertain times right now, and even though we all react to these changes differently, no one likes it.
Most importantly I learned that even though I’m considered an “adult” it’s okay to ask for help. For those who are feeling the way I did, I want to promise you that there is light at the end of the dark tunnel, and best in life is yet to come!
Hi my name is Kenzie, I am a new college graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Sociology with emphasis in Youth Studies and a World Religion's minor. During college I served as a Sexual Aggression Peer Advocate operating a 24/7 sexual aggression crisis hotline. My personal journey with anxiety has been lifelong and I have devoted my career to helping those who experience it too. I am now working as a Youth Treatment Specialist in Michigan. Something fun to know about me is that I became a black belt in TaeKwonDo when I was 13!