First things first: this is real life bro. You knew the days of lying around, not giving a damn about anything couldn’t last forever. You’ve got to work to live and you’ve got to work to achieve anything – and there’s a lot you want to achieve. Perhaps even things you haven’t quite yet realised you want to achieve, but you will in time. So work. Suck it up, accept that life isn’t easy or carefree. Accept that you can’t be babied for the rest of your life and start acting like the adult you want to be treated as.
Next, you wanted this. Maybe this is some sort of internal I-told-you-so. You spent a good long couple of months last year whining and stressing and wishing with all your heart for a purpose, for something to do, something to work on. And now you have that. Perhaps it’s not quite what you expected it to be, perhaps it never will be, but it’s here and you might as well give it everything you’ve got. You have a purpose. You have so much to work on and so much to achieve in the next few years and yes, it’s going to be hard but you’ve got to throw yourself into it. You wanted it, you’ve got it, now appreciate it and make the absolute best of it.
Third, yes, you’ve given up a lot. Realise that. You’ve chosen to avoid the student experience – making friends and socialising and going to class and skipping class and being an overall lazy mess amongst all the studying (sort of like what you did in high school). Studying full time is almost certainly extremely challenging and demanding but it’s definitely a different lifestyle from the one you’ve chosen. As hard is it may be, realise the benefits of this. You’re not going to have to find your way into the working world when you get your degree. You’ll be a pro by then, ready to make the next move and take the next step and achieve incredible things. Realise the experience you’re gaining – not just career-wise but in life. You’re already more confident than you ever imagined yourself to be in school. You’re struggling, yes, but through a struggle comes growth, and it’s time to grow.
Fourth, accept the fact that you wasted time. Almost an entire year, to be exact. 2016 was a time to learn and grow and do all the things you’ve wanted to do for ages. With every afternoon to yourself, why didn’t you learn how to play guitar? Or actually dedicate yourself to learning a new language? Trying out more recipes, reading more books, practicing art or photography or hey, I don’t know, writing? You had so much time to do all these things that can no longer be a priority. And it sucks. And I’m mad at you, but the past is in the past and we need to move forward from this, but I sincerely hope that you use the sheer memory of wasted time as motivation to use your spare moments wisely and constructively. Do more things that make you feel happy and accomplished and less things that involve lying on the couch, looking at your phone. Please.
The fifth thing you need to admit is that there are so many people who have it worse than you. You’ve spent the past week and a half begging your mother to stop telling you that. The fact that others are worse off doesn’t make this any easier. And whilst that may be true, you probably are overexaggerating how bad things are right now. In fact, you definitely are. You have a lot on your plate, yes, but you still have time to spend with your family. You have time to watch Masterchef Australia every evening and still read some before you go to sleep. You have time to work out and to make sure you’re cooking and eating healthy food. You still have time to focus on the things that are important to you outside work and academics. And that’s great. It’s not ample time, but it’s time. Appreciate it and make the absolute most of it. Besides, I mean how much more incredible are weekends now that you actually need them?
The final thing is not something to admit, but something to realise. It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay. Grasp that, revel in it. We both know this is a lot to adjust to (especially having been thrown in the deep end), but adjust you will. You may not want to see it but you’re tough as nails and in time you can make anything work. Realise the support system you have backing you. You have a few incredible people in your life who are giving you everything they’ve got; do the same for them and for you. Give yourself absolutely everything you’ve got. This is your life we’re talking about here, not a disease you need to recover from or an enemy to escape. Embrace it all. The hard work, the stress, the failures and achievements, along with the well-deserved rest and good times with wonderful people.
Embrace it all. Please. And then you will be fine.