As a third year uni student, the newness and excitement of venturing into the unknown to start my career is wearing off and I am now left with the bigger question – what’s next? The Question that I’m not only asked by my parents, lecturers and friends but the question that circulates my mind with only a vague suggestion of ever being answered. What is next?
The good news is, I’m not alone. A study conducted by the University of Queensland found that 80 percent of university students experience mental health issues at some point throughout their degree, majority of these being in third year; a phenomenon called by many as ‘third year blues’.
I started my third year of uni after having spent seven weeks backpacking through Europe. The concept of coming home to an ‘ordinary’ life, a regular routine, after seven weeks abroad was challenging. Life seemed mundane and going back to uni seemed tedious. My restlessness, I felt, was merely a result of comparing everything I had experienced and to what I was coming back to. When the restlessness continued, I became concerned.
I quickly realised fighting the feeling wasn’t the solution. We experience emotions much like we experience physical pain; to alert us to an issue or problem. By avoiding the problem I wasn’t fixing anything, but more importantly, I wasn’t learning anything either.
Our greatest problem solver in life is the people around us. Generally, if you can’t come up with a solution yourself, someone else can. We are all different and we see things differently. Having another opinion can never hurt and in a lot of cases it can give you a new perspective on things. It was through talking to others that I not only discovered the idea of third year blues but I realised what was causing mine.
I am afraid of growing up. I started uni straight from high school and have been on a high-speed train to graduation ever since. And so begs the age-old question ‘how do I know what I want?’
The answer; I don’t. But how am I ever meant to find out if I don’t give things a go. If I never try, I’ll never fail. But if I never try, I guess I’ll never find what is right for me. Being an adult is sometimes scary, and searching for the right path in life is even scarier. But the possibilities of what could be are endless and incredible. And that’s what I must hold onto.
So maybe I have third year blues. And maybe next year I’ll have fourth year blues. And maybe one day I’ll have blues about my job, or family or life in general. And I’m okay with that, life isn’t all that bad and you can’t have a rainbow without a little blue.
You’re never alone in the world. Perhaps it’s cliché but with 7.5 billion people walking the earth, I guess it’s kind of hard to ever be truly alone. There is always another path to take, another place to go, another possibility. And there is always someone out there experiencing something similar to yourself. While as people we are all unique, as humans we are inherently the same. We all feel pain but likewise we all feel joy. We only have to reach out to others to know they are there and willing to help. And at the end of the day, that’s really beautiful.
Here is a link to the counselling and wellbeing service at Griffith university, if you are ever in need of someone to talk to.