Bullish Life: Terrified of Life After College? Read This.

Jennifer Dziura writes life coaching advice weekly here on TheGloss, and career coaching advice Fridays on TheGrindstone.

Dear Jen,

Please help me. I am very nearly twenty-one years old, and very nearly at the end of my undergraduate degree. Within the next month, I will have completed my exams and all but cast fate to the wind; within two months I will know the results and forever be on my merry way. The outcome is not the issue – I’m aiming for a First Class Honours, but it could also be a fail depending on the mitigation of my extenuating circumstances (my mother has been battling a brain tumour for the last year). I know I will make something of myself whatever happens, partly due to the personal strength and knowledge I have gained through reading your articles, both on The Gloss and The Grindstone.

The problem is that I am absolutely terrified to a level that I have not experienced before, and I am a pretty anxious person at the best of times. Nothing in my life is stable at the moment, I do not know if I will pass or fail, I do not know if I will have a job, I do not know where I will be living, I do not know anything. I only really became aware of my life while at university, having been somewhat oblivious to it before: I existed, but nothing more. Now I am faced with the shocking realization that I only have a certain amount of time on this earth and it is going to happen whether I am ready or not. I have never been scared of death, but it seems to have dawned on me now that I am not immortal and that my life will continue, I will grow up and grow old until I stop. While you’re at school or university, you’re still someone’s baby. Then suddenly you graduate and they make you an adult, and you can’t pretend that life isn’t happening around you anymore. It’s not that I’m not mature, or competent, I manage my finances, my studies and my health just fine, I am just terrified.

I am not certain what I’m asking you for, other than any advice that you might be able to give.

Kindest regards,
Jeanne D’Arc

Obviously, I’ve renamed the writer after a young and ballsy (although delusional!) teenage French warrior. Let’s start with this:

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Share This Post:
    • Jeanne D’arc

      Thank you Jen, big bullish plans in the works once this degree is out of the way!

    • Sam

      I am so, so glad that you wrote this article. I graduated three days ago and am moving from LA all the way to NY and am TERRIFIED. I actually feel better now, so thank you.

    • Jenn

      Thank you so much for this. I graduate in two days and was in tears this morning. I won’t say I won’t be crying again an hour from now or walking across the stage in two days but I feel significantly less sick to my stomach now.

    • Eagle Eye

      I’m sending this to my sister who just graduated last week!

    • Lindsey

      Jen, I was thinking of you at work (fast food restaurant… dumb summer job) and something occurred to me. You say your phone is set so everything goes to voicemail, and e-mail is the best way to get to you. What do you do in case of emergency? Like, if something happened to a loved one? Do you have a personal cell phone?

      Just curious!

    • matbo

      Ironically this article made me terrified!

      Because I am actually not terrified I guess…like maybe I lack ambition and maybe the path I am taking is not where I am good…but the thing I’m good at is just so…adult. I want to be young and CRAYCRAY and say things like “CRAYCRAY” and pretend they actually work…oh dear.