Archives for College
Do you ever feel like you're "faking it" -- at work, at school, or at home? Like you're not qualified to be there, but by the grace of chance or luck, you are? And do you feel like one day someone's going to "out" you? Reveal you as a fraud? Point a finger at you and identify you as an impostor?
What does a panic attack and a yoga class have in common? If you're anything like me, both panic and yoga can lead you to (uncomfortably) focus on the nuances of breathing. Yes, breathing -- that thing we do, day in and day out, often without realizing it. But after my first panic attack in college, I began to realize that I was breathing -- constantly. The awareness was neverending and disturbing. I struggled with the following thoughts: What if I accidentally held my breath without realizing it? Would my body's physiology wake up and kick-start my breathing again? Is it possible to just stop breathing, randomly, and not start again? WHENEVER I BREATHE OUT, YOU'RE BREATHING IN Thoughts like this became...well, uncomfortable, to say the least. I wanted to go back to the way I'd breathed pre-panic: without awareness. I just wanted my autonomic nervous system to do its thing, to keep me alive via breathing, without making me think about it day in and day out. I just didn't want the burden of having to notice my breath any longer. And then I walk into my yoga class.
Yoga stretches can feel soooo good sometimes. Case in point: three days ago, I had a bad panic attack brought upon by low blood sugar at night. (Sometimes, I'll eat dinner early, and get so engrossed in TV or internet or writing or crafting or cleaning -- or anything, really -- that I forget to eat.) For me, low blood sugar means this: shakes, sweating, and a profound sense of dread. I get nauseous and feel like I am dying. So I ran to the kitchen, chugged a giant glass of OJ, inhaled a granola bar for good measure, and sat down on the floor. (Waiting for your blood sugar to rise is a very panic-filled waiting game.)
I used to be in love. I used to be in love with my At-A-Glance brand planner, the one that lists two days on a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper. Our affair began two years ago. I was captivated by its simplicity, its wide-open page spaces, and its daily "HOT" notations that sung out to me, siren-like: you, absent-minded gal that you are, can prioritize! You can! But now, everything has gone sour. It was a fatal attraction from the start: what had once attracted me had ultimately ended up repelling me. And now, I am letting you go, At-A-Glance. Perhaps there's someone else out there who will love you, but I'm moving on. UNEASE IN DISORGANIZATION Yeah, I have an anxiety problem. We know this by now, right? My official diagnosis is panic disorder, but that doesn't stop me from feeling generally anxious, GAD style, about a lot of things. Especially organizing my time and my space. I'm not alone on this one, right?
(Editor’s note: This is the last in a multi-part series by guest blogger Kim Dreese, a 2013 college grad writing about the joys [read: anxieties] of toting her B.A. degree from the graduation stage on into the “real world”.) If you pay attention to the news, you might have heard that the state of Oregon recently approved a plan to pay for the tuition of students who will attend community college and public universities, who will later pay back a portion of it with their future paychecks. As awesome and forward-thinking as this is for Oregon and its aspiring graduates, I was sincerely and selfishly upset when I heard this news. Couldn’t they have come up with this idea before I graduated? I’m now single-handedly responsible for paying back a massive amount of student loan debt, and kids in Oregon will get a tuition-free college education and just pay out a very small amount from their gross income over the course of twenty years after graduating if they find a job. My debt is worth more than I’ll make in years and will hike every day with interest rates going berserk. I’ll be lucky to pay it off before I turn 50.
(Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a multi-part series by guest blogger Kim Dreese, a 2013 college grad writing about the joys [read: anxieties] of toting her B.A. degree from the graduation stage on into the “real world”.) As if it isn’t already hard enough just to exist and not end up defaulting on rent and getting your electricity shut off, ladies get the extra special post-graduate problem of being expected to be a modern, independent woman. One of the unexpectedly unfortunate consequences of the feminist movement is that women are now more than ever required to be able to take care of themselves and stand on their own two feet without allowing attachments or men to hold them back. In fact, when you walk up to that stage and collect your diploma, you kiss your state of dependency on your parents goodbye. Your safety net is gone. LIKE A BLANKET THAT ALWAYS LEAVES YOUR FEET COLD You’re in the real world now, and it’s up to you to not fail. You are not encouraged or entitled to become a Real Housewife of Orange County, and you are instead expected to be one of the career-driven and personal-relationship-shirking Robin Scherbatskis of the world. I’m frequently uncomfortable and even ashamed when I’m around some of my friends who are moving across the country to get their dream jobs. “Oh, you wrote ads about nail polish today, Kim?" I picture them saying. "I saved an entire nursery from a burning inferno and then ran ten miles on the beach with David Hasselhoff.” I’ve settled in a terrifying city less than two hours from my home town. My accomplishments seem small in comparison.
(Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a multi-part series by guest blogger Kim Dreese, a 2013 college grad writing about the joys [read: anxieties] of toting her B.A. degree from the graduation stage on into the “real world”.) I, like so many others before me, am guilty of choosing my post-graduate home because of a boy. My boyfriend has two years left of pharmacy school, so I planned to move to the city his university is in so we could finally stop doing the long-distance thing when he went back in the fall. However, I didn’t expect to get a job immediately after school was over, so I’ve been living in a strange city by myself with no friends for the past two months. FROM COW PLOPS TO POTHOLES I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, where the most threatening thing you’ll face in a day are gigantic cow plops and traffic jams caused by slow-moving Amish buggies. This is the first time I have ever truly lived alone, and I just happened to get stuck with a city that has been declared safer than only 15% of cities in America. There are at least nine known members of gangs living within a three-mile radius of my apartment, and a convicted rapist lives one street over. Murders and burglary are considered commonplace events.
(Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a multi-part series by guest blogger Kim Dreese, a 2013 college grad writing about the joys [read: anxieties] of toting her B.A. degree from the graduation stage on into the “real world”.) If you’re lucky (or if you majored in something business, math, or science related), you’ll make it through the harrowing process of applying to jobs, not make a fool of yourself or your ancestors during the interview, and actually land your first real job. Against all odds, this even happened to me. Want to know how I got the job I have now? I replied to a post about an internship for a local business and more or less manipulated them into giving me a full-time job.
(Editor’s note: This is the third in a multi-part series by guest blogger Kim Dreese, a 2013 college grad writing about the joys [read: anxieties] of toting her B.A. degree from the graduation stage on into the “real world”.) Just about every single employer has the absolutely ridiculous requirement that “entry-level” applicants must have at least two years of experience in their field. Can someone please tell me how students are supposed to find time to get two years of professional experience in their field while attending college full-time and likely holding down at least one part-time job? Even most internships only last for only a semester or the summer. GOTTA GO TO WORK, GOTTA HAVE A JOB As a result of this two-year bias, many recent grads are then forced to return to the outstretched arms of crappy retail employers – the employers for whom we’ve been working ever since we were teenagers, folding shirts and harassing customers to buy multiple pairs of underwear. When I returned home after graduation and became that underwear-sorting, customer-harassing girl once again, I knew that most of my efforts to get a real job were futile.
(Editor's note: This is the second in a multi-part series by guest blogger Kim Dreese, a 2013 college grad writing about the joys [read: anxieties] of toting her B.A. degree from the graduation stage on into the "real world".) I realized the life I was setting myself up for when I decided to major in Creative Writing. I knew I should have majored in something practical, but the idea of spending an insane amount of money over the course of four years to learn about something I’m not passionate about sounded absurd. So, when I officially declared my major, my professors -- who were supposed to lift me up and send me on my way to become a successful adult -- essentially told me and my fellow creative writers that we’re expected to fail. That barely anyone makes it as a writer. That you have to have the talent, motivation, and charm just for an editor to get off their high horse and glance at you for a second. GOD, WHAT A MESS ON THE LADDER OF SUCCESS And it wasn’t just my professors.