The start of a new semester begins with the same question: will I or won’t I enjoy this course? For me, the answer has been depressingly on the downturn. The more I take courses in my major, I feel like I’m just going in circles. Each class talks about the same theories and practices, with slightly different applications. Textbook readings are duller and duller.
I consider myself someone with a thirst for knowledge who gets excited upon learning something new. I am usually the student who participates in discussions. But, I feel as if my identity as a student has been shot. It’s put me in such a low period because I usually derive so much joy from school. There’s always the healthy amount of stress that comes with paper deadlines, midterm exams, and research papers. But in the end, I always have the feeling that I’ve accomplished something.
Without my courses giving me purpose, I’m just floating through life and I have no idea how to ground myself. I spend my days drifting from class to work to lunch to my bed, watching episodes of Criminal Minds so I don’t have to face the silence.
The second semester of my junior year feels like a pivotal moment. I’m applying to summer internships that have a direct correlation to my post-graduation career, which is only a year away. Never has a year felt like such a short amount of time. So why do I feel so lost?
Last week, a guest speaker came to one of my classes and essentially stomped all over the life I had planned for myself. He talked about his role within a strategic public relations company and I just panicked. I had no idea what he was talking about the entire time, with professional jargon obscuring any rational thought.
When I returned home from the night class, I went off the rails. I just started ranting to my roommates about my frustrations and how I have no idea what my existence even is anymore. As I laughed about the situation, I choked back angry tears. I realized — I do not want to do what this speaker does. And that scared me, because I thought it was what I was working towards. Everyone tells me at least I know what I don’t want, but it begs the question, what do I want if not that?
To make matters worse, the very next day I received the worst grade I’ve received in my entire life on an article. In the midst of academic turmoil, that was a shot to the heart, especially because I take a lot of pride in my writing. As much as I wanted to hide, cry and give into the safety of my blankets and pillows-a warm cocoon of protection- I made myself feel the rejection. I always thought I was stronger than my harshest critic, but I’m just as vulnerable as I ever was.
It really felt like the walls I built around me were crumbling down. And not in a dramatic ‘I’ve emerged a beautiful butterfly’ way but a ‘there’s an encroaching storm about the destroy everything I am’ way.
So where to go from here?
In a matter of two days, a friend of mine reached out to offer a connection in a field I’ve always dreamed about but was afraid to reach for in case I missed it. I said yes. Not knowing what is to come from this small introduction, or where I am headed, one thing is for sure: I know where I don’t want to go.