My First Month of Full-Time Work After Graduating College

If you haven’t already, go check out my article about “My Job Hunt Experience + How To Do It Better Than Me.”

For a short recap if you’re too lazy to read the article (I understand, it’s long and honestly why do you care about my job hunt experience), I applied to over 100 jobs before securing one. Now, I work as a full-time nanny.

I worked first as an on-call nanny here in the city. I worked anywhere from 25-35 hours per week. I often found myself in a different home and working a different schedule each day. This routine (or lack thereof) had its perks. Some jobs didn’t start until 11:30am, which is a blessing for this night owl. It also allowed me the luxury of slowly transitioning into full-time work while also attending graduate classes full-time, too.

There were also some cons to working this schedule, too. It got tough going to a new home each day, partly because I thrive on consistency and also because this put me at significantly greater risk for contracting COVID-19 in any of these homes. I also wasn’t making enough money to pay my bills on the hours and the pay of an on-call nanny in my position. I dwindled my savings further than I already had in the previous month of unemployment.

I was thrilled when I was assigned a full-time position with a single family. Not only was I going to be working a 40 hour week, but I would be in the same home each day. My risk of COVID decreased. I would begin to establish a relationship with the kids I would be nannying and the family I would be working with. Even better, this schedule works perfectly with my graduate class schedule, and the location is a reasonable commute.

Working with children isn’t always fun and games (literally). On my tougher days, I remind myself of how grateful I am to have the work that I do, especially when I recount the low points I faced during my job hunt and unemployment.

That isn’t to say that I don’t feel low now, too. I feel low A LOT. Let’s talk about it.

Anxiety

I have never been a stranger to anxiety. Of course, my anxiety increases when I am facing a stressful event or have upcoming deadlines. Full-time work kind of feels like I always have an upcoming deadline. In other words, I get anxious each night knowing that I have a nine hour day of work ahead of me, topped with three hours of class and another hour of schoolwork.

I often feel the greatest dread on the car ride to work. I find myself indulging in my characteristic OCD behaviors as a mechanism to cope with my impending doom.

Again, my job is so great. I truly cannot express that enough. It isn’t my job that causes me to face such uneasiness. It is the responsibility of simply living as an adult.

Sunday Scaries

On a very related note, my Sunday Scaries are more real now than ever before. Of course as a college student I felt overwhelmed on a Sunday evening as I prepared for the week ahead of me, which was always filled with classes, schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and my part-time jobs.

In other words, I would’ve bet a month ago that I knew what Sunday Scaries were. I would lose that bet. My Sundays now consist of spending a few hours meal prepping my lunches and a few dinners to eat that week, since I don’t have time during the week to cook. It involves doing any housework that I fell behind on during the week. I spend many hours on the weekends doing my schoolwork, which I prefer to do Saturday and Sunday rather than after work and class on weekdays.

After the work is done and I can sit on the couch to enjoy a couple hours to myself, I frequently face those same feelings of anxiety and dread when I remember the immense responsibility that is to come in the next five days.

Some weeks are easier than others. Some are worse.

Panic Attacks

This past Sunday was the latter. I had just finished meal prepping for about two hours and had intentions to begin my schoolwork. I have a few projects, presentations, and final papers due within the coming few weeks, so I had a ton of work to attend to. Yet, I found myself self-sabotaging as I began to feel nauseous, lightheaded, and felt that familiar pounding of my heart. My vision blurred and I found it difficult to focus my eyesight on anything. My chest constricted, my limbs went cold and became sweaty, and I thought I might vomit.

And that, my friends, are the stereotypical onset symptoms of a panic attack. Luckily (or unfortunately, you decide), I have felt these feelings with enough frequency that I knew what was coming, and how to prevent it.

I distracted myself from my anxious thoughts to relieve the symptoms. It took about thirty minutes before I felt okay again.

I knew that my panic was triggered by my stress about starting my schoolwork, which is a large task to be completed and seems overwhelming. Until I actually start the work. Without fail, I feel less stressed about my work when I actually just sit down and do the work. The dread is the biggest obstacle to overcome.

Income

I won’t lie, the best part about full-time work is the paycheck. I have never received a paycheck as large as my most recent paycheck, which was my first check of two weeks full-time. I thought I was rolling in dough.

Until I remember my rent, utilities, internet bill, car payments, groceries, work expenses, gas, student debt…

Being an adult with a full-time job means an increase in the size of your check and an increase in bills.

Exhaustion

I seriously go to bed earlier than I have in the last decade of my life.

I am also tired all the time, despite going to bed early.

Sometimes I want to take a nap at work, although I definitely cannot do that. Sometimes I want to take a nap in class, which I have possibly considered once or twice.

Coffee

Again, like the Sunday Scaries, I thought I knew real coffee drinking during my college years. In college, I sometimes drank three coffees a day during stressful work weeks.

Now, I drink at least three coffees a day, every day.

I don’t want to talk about full-time work as if it is the worst thing to happen to me. Yes, I am incredibly stressed, anxious, and exhausted. But a huge part of that is that I am simultaneously enrolled in full-time graduate classes. I also have a large emotional and social strain since my family, friends, and boyfriend live across the state, or further, and I have yet to meet anybody in my new city. Lastly, I am also predisposed to face greater psychological distress than some others, by nature.

And that’s okay! It is all about learning, adapting, and overcoming. Adjusting is never easy for anybody. Right now, I do my best to focus on the positives and remind myself of the things I am grateful for. And ultimately, I wouldn’t change my situation for anything, because I am proud of where I am in this part of my life.

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