The Nightmare is Over!: Finding Happiness After Graduate School

Two weeks ago, I announced my decision to leave graduate school.

If you are wondering, “What happened next?”, here are six events/moments that followed that decision:

  1. I looked in the mirror and finally came to terms with the fact that I had lost unbelievable amounts of hair due to stress. Just like grad school, I needed to part ways with the unhealthy strands that were clinging for dear life to my scalp. I put on my favorite song, “Me Versus Me” by Stacey Barthe and got to work, shaving the downtrodden bits of hair. Afterwards, I felt amazing!
  2. I trudged through my last assignments for the semester, at moments having second thoughts about my decision. How would I tell my family? Did this mean I was a failure? Was this going to become a consistent pattern in my life–starting things without finishing them? Would I lose everything as a result of a stupid mistake?
  3. I talked to my sister A LOT about my feelings. She listened to every back and forth emotion because…she’s a trooper. She encouraged me to do what I think is right but really cautioned me to consider my mental, emotional, and physical health. Did I want to always be that person that did things for money/to please others?
  4. I ordered the dailygreatness journal in hopes that I would really start to connect with myself.
  5. On Friday, I turned in my last assignment and embraced the summer. On Saturday, I began to rew0rk my resume and CV so it wasn’t solely catering to the academic community. I applied for a few jobs. That evening my journal arrived. I spent all evening working through the beginning prompts, creating a mission statement, thinking about my purpose, and what I really want out of life. I also watched a really awesome webseries “What I did Wrong in My 20s”. I’ll write a review of the show later but let’s just say–I’m getting my life!
  6. Yesterday, I received a call from one of the companies I applied to and an email from another one. Even if they don’t turn into positions, it gave me such an amazing boost of confidence that I know that I will be okay.  I also told my aunt and cousin about the amount of stress and strife that I’ve been going through and my decision to quit. I was so surprised with how supportive and ‘get the hell out of there’ they were about everything. (Maybe I shouldn’t have been but I had convinced myself that they would think I was a failure. It’s nice to know they don’t). My aunt was especially encouraging and told me to explore all that life has to bring, not to be afraid of making a rainbowmistake, and embracing the unknown while figuring out what want to do.

I’m excited and extremely optimistic about my future because I’m planning my first real career move. Currently, I have an interview this Thursday and an interesting unpaid internship lined up for this summer. Heck, I even have a professor waiting on me to be her teaching assistant next fall. Yet, I made the difficult decision to walk away and embrace my freedom. After all, I am the author of my happiness. No one else.



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