Written by QCMHA Partnership Director Alex LeBoeuf
As a fourth-year student whose university experience has been radically changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m not surprised that I’m experiencing some serious nostalgia and a little bit of sadness for ‘what could have been’. At the same time, I am so incredibly grateful for the past four years of my life, which is making it even harder to think about life after graduation. While I may not have all the answers regarding how to deal with these emotions, I thought it would be beneficial to share my feelings at this turning point for many.
In addition to the feelings of nostalgia over my university experience, living with my best friends, and being part of a great school community, I also lost a loved one over the winter break. The changes that came along with this loss meant that I no longer have my childhood room at home, and ultimately now feel the need to move out shortly after graduation. I didn’t realize the impact this had on me until understanding that this change wasn’t only the loss of a family member but also a major feeling of growing up. Although I’ve lived in a student house the past 3-4 years, this felt different. I think certain milestones that come with adulthood can really make you realize how much you’re growing up and how impactful these changes can be.
With this uncertainty came other emotional obstacles, such as what I like to call the ‘post-grad scaries’. I’m lucky to have a great job lined up after graduation; however, I think the events going on in my life shook things up for me emotionally and really made me question what I’m doing with my life. I can imagine that I’m not the only student experiencing second-thoughts about their post-grad choices. And I think what really puts so much pressure on students is the expectation that whatever you do right after school is a decision affecting the trajectory of the rest of your life. But in reality, you can shift your aspirations, goals, and so-called ‘life path’ whenever you choose to. All in all, finishing university can be really scary – but it can also be a new avenue to meet people and expand your horizons. If anything, I hope my reflection on nostalgia and the post-grad scaries can help you feel a little less alone.