I’m on track to graduate with a Bachelor’s in English at the end of this year and while I am relieved that it will finally be done, it’s brought up a lot of anxiety about what’s next. The fear of the unknown is something we all struggle with.
The main concern I share with many Americans is that I’ll have to start paying off the massive student loan debt I’ve accumulated while earning my college degree. I’m concerned about how much the payment will be and how much I’ll have to sacrifice to keep up with it, but others reassure me it isn’t too burdensome to manage.
Shannon Insler has a post on Student Loan Hero going over survey results finding that students show physical symptoms, isolate and lose sleep over student loan debt. The main takeaway for me is that it’s better to face the debt directly. The stress doesn’t disappear because you choose not to acknowledge the debt you’re amassing if anything it festers.
Monica Leftwich has an interesting anecdotal piece on what happened when she stopped caring about her student loans for a year on HuffPost. She brings up a great point about how we approach student debt differently than credit card debt, car payments, or home payments. It was changing her attitude towards her debt that gave her freedom from it. She was able to work on her student life and continue living a fulfilling life. Her spirited post has given me some hope that I will be able to pay down student loans without eating solely instant ramen for the next two decades.
Aside from financial stress, there’s some professional anxiety. I’m lucky to have a position with good benefits and phenomenal coworkers I don’t mind being surrounded by five days a week, but I cannot see myself here for the rest of my working years. I’m not fulfilled in my current position and there’s not a position within the company I can move into that would change that. Still, there’s no immediate need to leave and I worry about becoming complacent.
I went back to school to become a creative writer and plan to continue writing creatively after college. I’ve started submitting some of my work for literary magazines and I’m excited to start receiving my first rejection letters. A benefit of keeping my current position is that when I graduate I will have plenty of time after work to nourish my creative side…. still there’s this gnawing fear of not knowing exactly what’s next.
Jeff McClung has a great post on No Sidebar discussing how he dealt with the fear of the unknown when adopting a baby girl whose father hadn’t signed away his rights. He has some great insight on the topic and my main takeaway was, “When you are afraid of the unknown, focus on the good that could be, not on the bad that might be.” I’m going to do my best to remember this quote whenever my brain decides to circle around the fear of the great unknown.