Last night I came inches away from quitting.
It wouldn’t be the dramatic “I Quit.”
Not with my arms thrown up in frustration. Not a Mr G style exit.
For those unfamiliar with Mr G, let me change your life.
My quit was less hilarity and more uncontrollable tears.
I just finished my two degrees.
One in journalism and one in communications and media.
I’ve stopped attending university three times a week. No more battling others for overpriced parking or waiting in lengthy coffee lines. In a little under four months, I’ll get to wear the robe and hat while my family clap me across a stage.
The degrees took four years. Over that time I completed internships, with many shit kicker jobs between the work experience, In my last year, I interned at a newsroom for a fortnight landing myself a casual position.
I have many friends, family and fellow students ask how I did it. That it must feel rewarding to work in such a prestigious place. It does. I can’t say that I’ve wasted four years to come out with nothing.
Yet here I was inches away from giving up.
It’s the closest I’ve ever come.
The entire situation was brought on by doubt.
In not only myself and my abilities but also the world around me. My mind frame began to attack my ambition.
What if you fail?
Have you picked the wrong degree?
What if the right full-time job never turns up?
Have you wasted your time?
They’re the kind of questions I asked myself while the room sat dark and still. I was alone with my thoughts pushing any possibility of quality sleep away from myself. (Thank you universe for concealer. Bye dark circles). Despite the magic, no brand of concealer can cover up the doubt.
When I get this way my brain starts trying to solve the problem there and then. My problem was that I couldn’t see any visible evidence of my hard work. It is there. I just fail to see it.
My dream is working in the media. Whether that be writing for a news publication, marketing or producing TV news. However, in these circumstances, I fail to see past what I don’t have.
My solution during my meltdown mode was to quit. To completely quit. Why? Because I convinced myself that I’d never make it.
That’s when Google showed up. Yep, cue the shrieks of horror.
I considered what else I could do? I pushed myself further away from my dream.
I googled this:
Huh? A teacher?
I just completed four years at university. I did my time in Azkaban.
Teaching would require another three years at university plus a further two for a masters. I looked up the university options, payment options. Heck, I’d even planned out my classroom. Yeah… I’d be that bitch that makes you sit in girl-boy order.
I’d practiced the lingo in my head:
“Are you passing notes in my class?”
“You’ll see me after class, Sandra!”
Before I could write a mind detention slip for Sandra, I woke up my partner. I told him how I felt and what I was thinking.
His advice was to not give up so quickly. Something will come up. You know, the usual. The necessary.
I shut the laptop and got some sleep. The worry had won the battle, but not the war. It had retreated enough to let me understand what these feelings meant.
This morning I woke up feeling similar, but not as panicked. I texted a friend telling her what I had experienced. She has completed a similar degree wanting to enter the same industry as me. The pressure is shared between the two of us.
Her advice was to not give up. Yet she ensured I knew that if teaching was what I truly 100% wanted to do then she’d be supportive.
She brought some realistic ideas to the forefront. The cost of another degree, the length of time it would take to complete as well as the state of employment in that industry.
I realised that this was something I wasn’t facing alone. I’m not the first person to question my abilities and I won’t be the last.
I guess the point of it all is the reminder to be gentle with yourself. Your harshest critic is always going to be yourself. Simon Cowell might deliver the cold “It’s a no from me” with a minor sting. Self-rejection is more painful.
Taking a breather and relying on those around me was the biggest factor in my cool down. I turned to my partner and a friend for advice who reassured me.
I took a second to consider my accomplishments. Big and small. It helped me to restore some pride. It helped me realise that this isn’t a race. One day at a time.
In meltdown mode, it’s hard to stop. I know that. I think it’s important to ride that wave. It’s okay to be doubtful. Let yourself feel that way. The important part is to not act on it drastically. In other words, don’t apply for a teaching course before even graduating from the two pending degrees.
Life is a roller coaster. There’s no telling which way it will turn next. You just need to remind yourself that there is no wrong answer. The only answer is the one which makes the most sense to you.