June 5, 2017.
I had just spent two weeks at home after graduating with my MBA in five years. I had eaten enough ice cream to feed me for at least half of that time, and I was ready to get back to Buffalo and my girlfriend. My friends were as happy as ever, my family was healthy, and life seemed like it was just beginning.
What I didn’t know was that it was.
I’ve never been a fan of Mondays in general, but this one was different. I had to force myself to eat breakfast and get ready for the 40-hour week ahead of me as I accepted that I’d never step foot in a classroom again. My first thought was that I just hadn’t felt good from something I ate the night before.
Then my world came crashing down.
Twenty-two years of pressure broke down my walls. Twenty-two years of having a plan; of telling myself that I can always do better; of high expectations from my parents but even higher expectations from myself.
I had four internships, a club presidency, and part-time jobs throughout my collegiate career. I thought the working world was just supposed to accept me as one of their own. I thought I’d land a job at one of my dream companies, but the more I looked, the more I realized just how unqualified I am.
With each day that passed, I’d go through the rounds of checking job boards, becoming more depressed with each job posting that told me I wasn’t what they were looking for. I reached out to people I had spent the past five years building relationships with to no avail.
I’m not a college student anymore. It wasn’t until recently that something I was told in college truly hit me.
“Take advantage of your time as a student. Once you walk across the stage, nobody is going to feel the need to help you.”
I sat in my cubicle, tears rolling down my face, hoping nobody would stop by my desk to ask me a question. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t.
For the next two weeks, I played the same game each and every day until I couldn’t anymore. I couldn’t hide the new me from my friends or my family any longer.
I needed help. I still do.
No matter how much anybody tells me that everything is going to work out or be okay, I can’t bring myself to listen.
I have a great support system. I have more money in the bank than most recent graduates. And, if all else fails, I’ll always have a place to call home.
But inside, I have nothing.
My stomach is empty but feels as full as ever as I force down a single frozen waffle in the morning. I lie awake at night and wonder why I was put here. I try to think of all the people that have it worse than me but still maintain great attitudes, and yet, as selfish as it is, I still feel sorry for myself.
I don’t love the things I used to the same way anymore. It takes all of the energy I have to crawl out of work and go to bed in the morning. Almost nightly, I lie to my parents and tell them everything is okay, but it’s not.
Not on the inside.