I graduated from college on December 12, a day that I will remember for as long as my memory holds out. It was a day of mixed emotions and anxiety, a day of excitement and grief, and a moment of victory and loss. I felt as though all of the energy was being drained from me as I walked across the stage and while I am happy to finally have the degree I have worked hard for in the last four and a half years, it pains me to know that at least for now, my days as a student have come to an end.

School is all I have known since I was a young child, and while I have aspirations for my now wide open future, there was comfort in having that schedule of classes and that academic work to complete everyday. I enjoyed learning from my professors and walking around on campus between and after classes. Now I continue my learning on my own and I am left to figure out what I am going to do. I hope to go back to school and maybe teach one day, but that is further ahead.

I have been dealing with symptoms of my illness, brought about by a change in my medication along with the stress of graduation and the start of a new life. This last week has been terrible and I really have been at my wits end trying to hold on to life. This morning I woke up a bit clearer headed and that is why it has taken me several days to write this blog post. I haven’t done very much writing or reading at all this week.

So what am I going to do now? When I can get these symptoms under control with help from family, friends, doctors and my counselor, I am going to seek employment and continue to work on my novel. I have dozens of books to read so I have started to try and make a dent in that pile, and I have several journals to fill up. I still want to lose weight and maybe have my surgery to remove my breast tissue, since weight loss will not reduce it. That is the main drawback of my antipsychotic medication – the side effect of breast growth.

It would be so cool to work with social media or some kind of group like Buzz Feed of Huffington Post and write for them and research different topics and present them online, but I am not sure how I well I would do. It was be really interesting though, especially if I could work partly from home as well. Social media has been an interest of mine and I will actually be starting a second and maybe third blog, one completely devoted to mental health awareness which is something I should have done a while back. I also am going to open up a couple more Twitter accounts as well. I am praying for the energy to maintain them as best as I can.

I had a couple of friends over the day I graduated and I was thankful they could be there with me. I missed the ones who couldn’t make it. That is one thing I have been having a difficult time with; my friends and I are in such different places right now and it is not necessarily a happy thing. I am really hoping things get better and we each find a good place to be. I also hope to see everyone again sometime soon, but I am unsure if things will work out that way.

Something about graduation that was amazing was seeing the Master’s students and the professors in their impressive regalia, testaments to their vast knowledge and hard work in scholarly study. I was so awed by them all and was thinking about how one day I hope to wear those robes as well. That was very cool to behold.

Life brings so many changes. I look at my fellow graduates and so many of them were bright and joyful while I felt trapped in darkness. That darkness still holds me but I am not giving up. Things in life turn, sometimes tumultuously, but I like to believe that they level out eventually and that one day I will be where I am supposed to be. Right now is just a harsh transition. But at least I made it through college and now I can say, “I have a Bachelor’s.” One day I will have so many other experiences. My biggest fear is getting stuck doing the same thing the rest of my life, so I do not plan on doing that. I will always find something new to do. Maybe giving piano lessons, or selling art, or YouTube, or working with productions or whatever else I can do. Who knows?