My own post-grad period was filled with self-doubt which bordered on intense self-hatred, with confronting situations I thought I had already overcome, and with a desire for a seemingly-impossible better life.
If I have one piece of advice for those who are about to become graduates, it’s that you need to give yourself time. This can apply to any number of things: from finding a job, to getting into grad school, to figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life.
You’re so young, and I know how ridiculous this must sound. I felt it was ridiculous too, but there is no rush to figure any of these questions out. I know it seems that way because you’ve either got people you want to make proud — looking at you, diaspora students — or you want to save the world as soon as possible.
I want you to waste daylight. I want you to know that it is okay to spend time existing plainly, without a purpose. I want you to know that someday you will miss the times when you had nothing better to do than sit around and watch Netflix or listen to music.
One day, you’ll be on a packed train, finishing up your morning commute, and silently cursing yourself for not reading your book in a more comfortable setting. You’ll miss waking up to the rain falling at 11:00 am. These moments that seem like curses of an uncertain period are actually moments you can spend starting to heal.
You worked so hard in university, regardless of the cGPA you graduated with. Things will happen eventually; do not try to rush into doing things that may not be the best for you. Never try to bury your emotions — talk or write about them. Know that you are not alone in your fear of the future. The best years of your life are yet to be finished, and there is nothing more important for your well-being than taking care of yourself.
Your time will come. And whenever it does, I know that you will make the best of it. Figuring yourself out is a learning curve; there is no use in wishing that things would be perfect immediately. I’ve learned that the best thing about the unknown is that, in a way, it will stay with you forever. Even when we think we have things figured out, things can change overnight. The best thing for you is, and will always be, to live your life without trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel. It’ll come to you eventually. Just trust yourself, and live your truth in the meantime.
So, for all the 2019 grads, take the time to go for a stroll around Toronto, especially if you’re planning on moving away. You’ll miss it.